A $550,000 fine against CBS television, which was imposed after the broadcaster screened Janet Jackson's “wardrobe malfunction”, has been dropped by a US appeal court.
Three judges said the Federal Communications Commission watchdog had "acted arbitrarily and capriciously" in issuing the fine.
Jackson's breast was momentarily broadcast during her performance alongside Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl in 2004.
90 million people saw the incident, which happened after Timberlake the line "gonna have you naked by the end of this song", and 542,000 people to complained to CBS.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the FCC had deviated from its usual practice of fining indecent broadcast programming only when it was so "pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience."
The Judges ruled that the watchdog “cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure."
In a statement, CBS called the verdict an “important win, adding: “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.”
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