FCC Drops "Wardrobe Malfunction" Fine From 2004 Superbowl
Posted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 09:37 AM PDT

Janet Jackson JJACKSON092906_14_X17.jpg LOS ANGELES, California (X17online) - A federal appeals court threw out the $550,000 indecency fine against CBS Corporation for Janet Jackson accidentally exposing her breast during the the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

The three judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC "acted arbitrarily and capriciously" in issuing the fine for the brief image of nudity. The court issued the following statement:

"The Commission's determination that CBS' broadcast of a nine-sixteenths of one second glimpse of a bare female breast was actionably indecent evidenced the agency's departure from its prior policy. Its orders constituted the announcement of a policy change — that fleeting images would no longer be excluded from the scope of actionable indecency."

The FCC argued that Jackson's nudity (though it lasted a fraction of a second), was graphic and explicit and CBS should have been forewarned. In defense of the FCC fine, CBS said that "fleeting, isolated or unintended" images should not automatically be considered indecent.