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Thursday, June 21,2012

Supreme Court Tosses Out FCC Fines For Nudity, Cursing

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The Supreme Court on Thursday threw out fines and other penalties against TV broadcasters that violated the FCC's policy on curse words and nudity, but declined to rule on whether the policy itself violates free speech.

As the Associated Press explains, the FCC amended their indecency policy in 2004, leaving broadcasters liable for a single expletive, or for brief nudity shown on television, including live broadcasts. But in unanimous opinion penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the high court ruled that the commission didn‘t adequately explain the policy, making it impossible for broadcasters to know ahead of time that "a %uFB02eeting expletive or a brief shot of nudity could be actionably indecent." The FCC should have given fair notice of the policy changes, the court concluded, basing the decision on constitutional due process.


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