Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Supreme Court hearing case on legacy broadcast indecency rules with FCC

The Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding whether the FCC can regulate “indecency” among legacy television broadcasters but not on Cable, Satellite, or Internet channels.  Call it the "Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson-wardrobe malfunction" case if you like (which was all over the web during the second half of the 2004 Super Bowl). 

The FCC explains its position here, saying that it believes the law applie only to signals carried through “radio communications”, which do not cover cable and satellite. It also says that voluntary paid subscription services may need less regulation, and that it does not enforce any regulations between 10 PM and 6 AM local time. 

It will be interesting to compare the Supreme Court's reaction to this case to its 1997 ruling on the Communications Decency Act, which turned out extremely well for the Internet. 

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