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CBS appeals FCC Super Bowl indecency fine

[JURIST] CBS [media website] has appealed a Federal Communications Commission [official website] decision to fine it $550,000 [JURIST report] for an incident in the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast when performer Janet Jackson experienced what was later euphemistically labeled a "wardrobe malfunction" [Wikipedia backgrounder] that briefly exposed one of her breasts. CBS argued Friday in a filing with the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] that the ruling was "unconstitutional, contrary to the Communications Act and FCC rules and generally arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law." The media corporation has nonetheless been required to pay the fine pending the appeal's outcome.

Prompted in part by this episode, other incidents and pressure from mostly-conservative groups for stricter broadcast standards, President Bush last month signed into law [JURIST report] the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2006 [S. 193 summary], increasing by tenfold the maximum fine for indecency, from $32,500 to $325,000 per station for each violation. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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