After eight years and millions of dollars in legal fees, CBS emerged victorious in its fight with the Federal Communications Commission over pop star Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl.
On Friday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the FCC's request to reinstate a $550,000 indecency fine against CBS for the halftime performance featuring Jackson and singer Justin Timberlake, who at the end of the song "Rock Your Body" tore a piece of Jackson's top, briefly exposing her breast to an audience of about 90 million.
But if there are any future wardrobe malfunctions, the broadcaster could be on the hook.
Although the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the FCC's indecency fine against the network was invalid, CBS got off on a technicality. Specifically, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the FCC's fine represented an undisclosed change in the enforcement of its policy with regard to "fleeting images" and hence could not be enforced.
The FCC has since updated its rules, and now such incidents of "fleeting nudity" or "fleeting expletives" can be subject to fines from the regulatory agency.