Targeted Fine Could Be Appeal Fodder

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The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists -- the union representing some 80,000 entertainers, journalists and others working in the entertainment and news media -- breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Federal Communications Commission chose not to fine either Janet Jackson or Justin Timberlake for the Super Bowl reveal.

The FCC didn't even warn them, which is all it could have done to performers for a first offense anyway (it fined CBS' owned stations $550,000).

But AFTRA's National Director of News and Broadcast, Tom Carpenter, said that by fining the owned stations, but not the other CBS affiliates that carried the broadcast, the FCC seemed to be going after the producer of the programming through the affiliates. "If the airing is a violation, it seems that it is inconsistent to only target the license holders owned by the producer of the show."

Carpenter suggested that if CBS appeals, as it has vowed to do, that could provide it with some legal fodder.

AFTRA continues to lobby against efforts to include performers in indecency fines, as well as to fight against the moves by more media companies to change their standard performance contracts to make performers liable for the fines the stations incur.

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