High court weighs constitutionality of broadcast regulation

Haley Behre | Content Regulation | Feature | January 10, 2012
January 10, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed arguments Tuesday in a case that challenges the federal government's policy of regulating broadcast indecency, but has the potential to drastically change how the media industry is regulated.

At issue in FCC v. Fox is the Federal Communications Commission's indecency policy, which broadcast television networks claim provides no guidance as to what material is indecent -- making it unclear what is subject to fines and what is not.

Reporters Committee argues that FCC's indecency enforcement threatens news reporting

Press Release | November 11, 2011
November 11, 2011

Enforcement of Federal Communications Commission policy regulating indecent programming on the public airwaves severely restrains the ability of broadcast journalists to report on matters of public interest and concern, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press arguedin a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Amicus brief in Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations and Federal Communications Commission v. ABC Inc.

November 11, 2011

Urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the lower court ruling that the FCC's indecency policy is unconstitutionally vague and its subjective enforcement restricts broadcasters' news reporting.

Federal law bars libel suit against New York bloggers

Aaron Mackey | Libel | Feature | June 15, 2011
June 15, 2011

A federal law protects website publishers who add material to defamatory posts and attempt to elicit greater discussion on the topic, New York’s highest court ruled earlier this week.

In a 4-3 decision on Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a defamation suit brought by the owner of a New York City apartment rental and sales company against competitors who also operate a blog that chronicles the city’s real estate industry.

Court strikes down indecency fine for "NYPD Blue" nudity

Peter Haldis | Content Regulation | Feature | January 4, 2011
January 4, 2011

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.) vacated Tuesday a $1.2 million indecency fine the Federal Communications Commission levied against ABC for nudity in a 2003 episode of “NYPD Blue.”

The decision comes in light of the court’s ruling in Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FCC last July that the FCC’s indecency policy is “unconstitutionally vague."

CBS fights FCC fine for 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction

Curry Andrews | Content Regulation | Quicklink | February 24, 2010
February 24, 2010

CBS returned to a Philadelphia appeals court on Tuesday to fight $550,000 in penalties for a 2004 Super Bowl broadcast that showed performer Janet Jackson's breast for nearly a half second, The New York Times reported.

Constitutionality of indecency regulation questioned

Nadia Tamez-Robledo | Content Regulation | Quicklink | January 15, 2010
January 15, 2010

The FCC and Fox argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.) this week over the constitutionality of the FCC’s enforcement of its indecency policies, Broadcasting and Cable reported.

The magazine quoted some observers saying that the judges were skeptical of the commission's position, and that “all three judges were clearly ready to find that the FCC's policies are unconstitutional.”

Networks challenge indecency regulations in appeals

Ansley Schrimpf | Content Regulation | Feature | September 18, 2009
September 18, 2009

The Federal Communication Commmission's battle over fines for controversial moments during awards shows and the Superbowl continues, as briefs were filed this week in two separate cases about what constitutes a "fleeting expletive" -- unscripted spontaneous profanity in a live broadcast -- under the agency's indecency regulations.

CBS 'wardrobe malfunction' case remanded

Kathleen Cullinan | Content Regulation | Feature | May 4, 2009
May 4, 2009

A federal appeals court must reconsider its ruling vacating a $550,000 FCC fine against CBS over Janet Jackson's televised 2004 "wardrobe malfunction," the Supreme Court ordered Monday.

Supreme Court upholds fleeting expletive ban

Samantha Fredrickson | Content Regulation | Feature | April 28, 2009
April 28, 2009

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a government policy of sanctioning television networks for one-time utterances of fleeting expletives on live prime-time television.