The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia threw out the $550,000 fine imposed by the FCC when Janet Jackson exposed her breast during the half time of the Super Bowl in 2004...the infamous "wardrobe malfunction." The three judges on the court ruled that the FCC "acted arbitrarily and capricously" in issueing the huge fine for the event. The Court said the fine from the FCC was a sudden departure from a 30 year policy of fining stations only when they deemed their programming was so "pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience. In it's brief the Court noted, "Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing..But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure." They added that fining CBS for the fleeting moment "constituted the announcement of a policy change — that fleeting images would no longer be excluded from the scope of actionable indecency."
CBS issued a statement following the ruling, saying that they hoped the decision "will lead the FCC to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades."
"This is an important win for the entire broadcasting industry because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material, despite best efforts," the network said.
Complete ruling from the court is at http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/063575p.pdf
Here is the unedited video of the event