'Wardrobe Malfunction' Busts Into Court

CBS challenges FCC fine for Jackson Super Bowl mishap
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Sep 12, 2007 6:06 AM CDT
Justin Timberlake poses backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Hotel and Casino on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Almost 4 years after Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl halftime show, a federal appeals court is being asked to decide whether the incident was indecent or a fluke. The FCC fined CBS $550,000; the network argues the penalty is out of line. It's also having a "deeply censorious effect" on American broadcasting, said a CBS attorney.

The network says the temporary exposure of Jackson's right breast was "unscripted, unauthorized and unintended" and contends the fine amounts to an attack on free speech, because it allows no "breathing space" for the speaker. The FCC counters that CBS was "willful" in its broadcast because it was a "highly sexualized performance" to begin with.