Ever wondered exactly what counts as indecency on television? So do the networks, who’ve been operating without a set of clear definitions since 2004, when the Federal Communications Commission updated the rules and caused considerable confusion about what was and wasn’t acceptable for broadcast. So much confusion, in fact, that the Supreme Court may have to step in and set some ground rules.
Rumor has it that the Supreme Court will soon take on two Second Circuit Appeal Court cases that would bring more clarity to the subject — including one that declared the “fleeting expletive rule” (which is officially indecent) unconstitutional. If it happens, it’ll be the culmination of nearly seven years’ worth of litigation.
The strange thing is, broadcasters and the FCC may be on differing sides of the lawsuit, but both are said to agree on one thing: They want this matter to be resolved as quickly as possible, so they can move on.
Why the hurry? According to one lawyer representing stations involved in litigation with the FCC, “Right now, if you are a broadcaster that has an indecency complaint filed, you can’t get anything done.”
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