Court Drops FCC Fine For Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Wardrobe Malfunction

Janet JacksonThe wardrobe malfunction seen 'round the world wasn't so indecent after all. Federal judges threw out the $550,000 fine against CBS Corp. on Monday for the incident during the 2004 Super Bowl during which Justin Timberlake famously ripped off part of Janet Jackson's top and momentarily exposed her breast on live TV.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia found that the Federal Communications Commission acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" in fining the network more than a half-million dollars for the "fleeting image of nudity."

According to the report, the judges found that by fining the network, the FCC broke with a decades-old policy that said, "Brief and isolated incidents, including impromptu expletives, did not violate rules designed to keep children from seeing indecent material broadcast between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m." The panel also ruled that CBS was not liable for the fine because Jackson and Timberlake were independent contractors, not network employees.

The incident led to a near-zero-tolerance policy from the FCC on the use of some expletives, even in unscripted scenarios as well as Congress raising indecency fines from $32,500 per incident per station to $325,000.