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Court Declines Timeline in Janet Jackson Fine

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to adopt the FCC's timetable for hearing CBS's challenge to the $550,000 fine of CBS stations over Janet Jackson's (and Justin Timberlake's) revealing Super Bowl halftime stunt.

The FCC last week asked the court to expedite the case, asking it to set Sept. 11 as the date for the first briefs to be filed. Then the FCC would have 30 days to respond with its own briefs, and CBS another two weeks to respond to those. That would have gotten the oral argument started as soon as early November.

But, according to a court paper obtained by B&C, the Third Circuit has instead set Sept. 27 for the first brief, followed by the 44 days of repsonse and counter. That will mean oral arguments likely won't start until late November or December.

In another broadcaster court challenge to its indecency findings, the FCC has asked another federal appeals court to delay that case while it takes another look at four profanity rulings at issue, citing what the FCC said was its own procedural error that denied stations an appeal of the decisions, which carried no penalty.

By contrast, the commission had asked for a fast track for the Jackson/Timberlake incident.