A federal appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission cannot fine ABC and selected affiliates $1.2 million for airing a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue that showed actress Charlotte Ross' nude buttocks, citing the FCC's unconstitutionally vague rules, The Associated Press reports.
"According to the FCC, 'nudity itself is not per se indecent,'" the judges wrote. "The FCC, therefore, decides in which contexts nudity is permissible and in which contexts it is not pursuant to an indecency policy that a panel of this court has determined is unconstitutionally vague."
The FCC implemented tougher guidelines after Cher, Nicole Richie and Bono uttered expletives that were not bleeped during live award shows on Fox and NBC between 2002 and 2003. FCC lawyer Austin Schlick said that the organization has not yet decided whether to appeal, while Tim Winter, president of The Parents Television Council, denounced the court's ruling.