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CBS Still Fighting Fine For Janet Jackson's 'Wardrobe Malfunction'

A federal appeals court says it plans to re-examine Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction' (link) during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show,

The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which had thrown out the FCC's $550,000 fine against CBS, will reconsider whether a fine over the breast-baring performance is permissible after the US Supreme Court ruled that the FCC can even threaten fines for fleeting profanity.

CBS maintains it shouldn't be held responsible for the half-second flash. However, the FCC argues that CBS had prior warning that its halftime performers were going to add some 'shock value' to the act.

And that they did, after Justin Timberlake ripped off Janet Jackson's bustier and exposed her breast.

"There were considerable alarm bells about deviating from the script," FCC lawyer Jacob Lewis told the 3rd Circuit panel. "CBS had a duty to investigate."

As for the argument that nudity for a fleeting moment is different from profanity, Lewis said he didn't see the distinction.

"They have no argument that the image was not indecent," he said. "While fleeting, it was patently offensive."

The three-judge panel is the same one that heard CBS' original appeal of the FCC fine in 2008.

February 24, 2010 |

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