Court of Appeals throws out ABC indecency fine (and here’s the offending video)

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a $1.4 million indecency fine against certain ABC affils. The FCC complain centered on the Feb. 25, 2003 “NYPD Blue” episode, which included a shot of star Charlotte Ross’ rear end.

Watch the clip above (with helpful info from the Spin the Bottle folks). The ABC stations (all in the Central and Mountain time zones) were fined in 2008 because “NYPD Blue” aired at 9 p.m. in those time zones. (Under FCC rules, safe harbor for content that may be deemed explicit starts at 10 p.m.)

The ruling is based in part on a previous one, handed down by that court in July, that found the FCC’s 2004 ruling on a Fox fleeting obscenities case to be “unconstitutionally vague and chilling.”

The Parents TV Council, which spearheaded the indecency campaign against the “NYPD Blue” segment, was not pleased with Tuesday’s ruling: ““In this instance, ABC intentionally chose to air a scripted visual depiction of a fully-naked woman before 10:00 pm. There was absolutely nothing fleeting or accidental about it. The inclusion of the lengthy and ogling scene was intended to pander and titillate. This was a clear breach of the decency law. And now, nearly eight years after the episode aired, ABC is told it doesn’t have to abide by the law,” the org said.

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