Wednesday, January 05, 2011
"Nudity itself is not per se indecent."
That was the Second Circuit, discussing Connie McDowell's scene in an NYPD epidosde. From the AP:
The Federal Communications Commission cannot fine broadcasters for showing a woman's nude buttocks on a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue," a federal court ruled Tuesday, citing its earlier decision to strike down FCC rules regarding fleeting expletives uttered on live broadcasts as unconstitutionally vague.
The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan decided Tuesday to nullify a $27,500 penalty that the FCC imposed on ABC and 45 of its affiliate stations after the image was broadcast on the police drama for less than seven seconds in February 2003. The combined fine was greater than $1.2 million.
The appeals court said its finding was consistent with its decision last year that TV stations can no longer be fined for fleeting, unscripted profanities uttered during live broadcasts.
The FCC had created its fleeting-expletive policy after a January 2003 NBC broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards in which U2 lead singer Bono uttered the phrase "f------ brilliant." The FCC said that word in any context "inherently has a sexual connotation" and can lead to enforcement.
Fox Television Stations, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and other networks challenged the policy in 2006 after the FCC cited the use of profanity during awards programs that were aired in 2002 and 2003. The FCC has appealed that ruling.
In its Tuesday ruling, a three-judge 2nd Circuit panel wrote that there was "no significant distinction" between its decision in the expletives case and its findings in the "NYPD Blue" case.
The FCC is way over-zealous and over-protective, so the Second Circuit was right to slap the the agency down. Still, broadcasters are afraid of airing anything close to the line, and something more needs to be done than a circuit court opinion... In better news, Howard Stern now has an app!