High Court Throws Out FCC Ruling On 'Wardrobe Malfunction,' Dual Ownership

JusticeOne day after the court's major health-care decision, CBS won a broadcast victory. The Supreme Court refused to review a court ruling concerning Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl.

On Friday, the Supreme Court refused to consider a lower-court decision, which threw out the Federal Communications Commission's $550,000 fine for CBS over Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the network’s live coverage of the big NFL TV game.

This rejects an appeal made by the Obama administration.

The high court also refused to change a lower court ruling, throwing out an FCC ruling that would have allowed companies to own both newspapers and broadcast stations in the same market.

CBS has already paid the fine concerning the Jackson snafu, and now the FCC needs to refund the money.

Earlier in June -- in another affront to the FCC -- the Supreme Court ruled that the commission's indecency penalties against Fox and ABC should not have been made. On the issue of "fleeting" indecencies/expletives, the Supreme Court says the rules were vague and not timely.

This involved Fox TV network broadcasts when -- in separate instances -- Cher and Nicole Richie uttered expletives during awards shows in 2002 and 2003. The ABC issue involved a "brief nudity" scene in one 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue." Then the FCC fined dozens of ABC TV network affiliates a total of more than $1 million for airing the episode.



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