The controversy over Janet Jackson's infamous nipple slip at Super Bowl XXXVIII hasn't disappeared years after the fact.
On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia threw out the Federal Communications Commission's $550,000 fine against CBS for Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 game's halftime show, according to The New York Times.
The court ruled in CBS Corporation v. FCC, No. 06-3575 that while the FCC can police fleeting images like Jackson's, which was onscreen for nine-sixteenths of one second, the commission acted arbitrarily after failing to announce it had changed its policy before deciding to punish CBS.
"The FCC failed to acknowledge that its order in this case reflected a policy change and improperly imposed a penalty on CBS for violating a previously unannounced policy," the appeals court said in a 2-1 decision.
The FCC issued a statement in response to the decision but did not say whether it would appeal it.
"We are pleased that the court did not question the FCC's statutory responsibility to regulate indecent broadcasting," the commission said. "While we are disappointed by the Court of Appeals' decision, we note that the court overturned the FCC's 2006 forfeiture order on narrow procedural grounds. In the meantime, the FCC will continue to use all of the authority at its disposal to ensure that the nation’s broadcasters fulfill the public interest responsibilities that accompany their use of the public airwaves."