Appeals Court Rejects FCC Decency Rules

Broadcasters can't be punished for airing "fleeting expletives"
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2007 7:32 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Networks that accidentally air profanity got a major break from a US appeals court yesterday when the court  shot down an FCC regulation that punishes them for airing even "fleeting expletives." The court said some of the FCC's indecency rules were "divorced from reality" and sent them back to the agency for clarification.

The case at hand involved a 2006 FCC ruling that Fox network violated decency standards when Cher and Nicole Ritchie swore during the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music awards show. No fine was levied in that case, but two years ago the FCC upped the penalties for each violation from $32,500 to $325,000. Another pending case involves Janet Jackson's clothing malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl.