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Appeals Court Overturns FCC’s ‘NYPD Blue’ Fine

Commission previously slapped ABC with a $1.4 million fine for airing a nude scene

The federal appeals court apparently doesn't have any problem with a little "Blue" content on racy cop dramas. 

On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York sided with ABC and "NYPD Blue" and against the Federal Communications Commission, by throwing out a nearly eight year old indecency fine.

The episode in question featured actress Charlotte Ross' in a nude scene and aired in February 2003 (See right, but not below). The FCC had slapped ABC and  certain affiliates with a $1.4 million fine.  

In overturning the citation, the court said the FCC's "indecency policy" violated First Amendment rights and was constitutionally vague. 

That policy was struck down last summer after the FCC attempted to levy fines against Fox for obscenities that were uttered during the network's broadcast of the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Awards. 

However, there were distinctions between the Fox and ABC appeals. The initial case had centered on Fox's inability to censor swear words during a live broadcast, whereas the nude scene on "NYPD Blue" was always intended to air. 

"Although this case involved scripted nudity, the case turns on an application of the same content-based indecency test that Fox found 'impermissibly vague,' " the ruling said.

Following Tuesday's announcement, the Parents Television Council slammed the court's decision. 

“Once again the Second Circuit has proclaimed that it knows better than the Supreme Court, the Congress, the FCC, and the overwhelming majority of the American people. Regardless of one’s political viewpoint – left, center or right – this may well be the most egregious example of ‘legislating from the bench’ that our Federal Court system has ever witnessed,” said PTC President Tim Winter.