Home News Appeals court clears CBS of Superbowl charges

Appeals court clears CBS of Superbowl charges

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Courtesy of Reuters:

A U.S. appeals court on Monday overturned a decision to fine CBS Corp television stations $550,000 for airing a brief breast flash by pop singer Janet Jackson during the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission “arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its prior policy” that exempted fleeting broadcast material from actionable indecency violations.

Jackson’s right breast was exposed to almost 90 million TV viewers for a fraction of a second during the live 2004 Super Bowl football halftime show in what fellow pop singer Justin Timberlake later called a “wardrobe malfunction.”

Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson’s bustier exposing Jackson’s breast during the show. Despite the brevity, lawmakers and regulators were outraged and vowed a crackdown on broadcast indecency.

U.S. television and radio broadcasters are barred from airing obscene material and are limited from broadcasting indecent materials between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are likely to be watching. The restrictions do not apply to cable or satellite services.

CBS apologized and paid the fine, $27,500 for each of the 20 stations it owns, but said it was not clued in ahead of time about the stunt and appealed the decision to the court, based in Philadelphia.

The appeals court said CBS could not be held responsible for the incident.

“Moreover, the FCC cannot impose liability on CBS for the acts of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, independent contractors hired for the limited purposes of the Halftime Show..,” wrote Chief Judge Anthony Scirica for the three-judge panel that heard the case.

There was no immediate comment on the ruling by the FCC.

(Reporting by Peter Kaplan and Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Dave Zimmerman)

Comments

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7 COMMENTS

  1. your headline is wrong. the FCC did not clear CBS of the super bowl charge. it was the appeals court that ruled in favor of CBS. the FCC is likely to appeal that ruling.

  2. they can try to appeal, but it will get thrown out too. and they might not, because it would be a further waste of taxpayers’ dollars (it’s already been 4 years). they’re basically saying that the FCC overreacted when they fined CBS. if they try to appeal, they will get the same response.

  3. In response to the stupid one,(Ping), who posted that Janet is a has been. If she is a has-been, why are you visiting her site? You must think she’s still something. Furthermore, Her last 3 albums were not flops. Damita Jo and 20 YO both went platinum. Discipline was her 6th #1 album and it is Gold! Go visit her wikipedia before trying to diss someone Ping or whatever your mother named you!

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