Monday, July 21, 2008

Janet Jackson's nipple: Now half a million bucks cheaper

The Janet Jackson Superbowl nip-slip wasn't indecent enough to justify the FCC fine, a US court has ruled. The federal appeals court tossed the $550,000 fine the FCC levied against CBS on the grounds that it was acting out of character:

The court found that the FCC deviated from its nearly 30-year practice of fining indecent broadcast programming only when it was so "pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience."

"Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing," the court said. "But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure."

The overall effect was somewhat spoiled when CBS executives present in the court dropped their trousers for a bare-arsed celebration.