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11.19.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
CBS asks FCC to wipe out $550,000 for Super Bowl half time exposure

CBS has asked the Federal Communications Commission to rescind its Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) imposing a $550,000 fine on the network for broadcasting indecency at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show involving performers Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

In a 78-page filing Nov. 5, the network’s lawyers argued that the commission was wrong in issuing the NAL because, among other reasons, no one at the network, or its sister company MTV which produced the halftime entertainment, knew that Timberlake would reveal Jackson’s breast.

The network argued that the performers concocted the costume reveal and that their last-minute scheme was never communicated to any network personnel. CBS’ filing also pointed out that Jackson’s breast was exposed only 9/16 of a second, an important fact, according to the network, because the "fleeting exposure" was not repeated, a condition which must be met to remain within the bounds of the Communications Act.

The 9/16 of a second exposure defeated a built-in five-second delay used during the production, according to the filing.

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov/eb/broadcast/Pleadings/Viacom.pdf.

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