FCC’s New Fleeting Expletives Policy Stifles Creators

A group of artists called the Center for Creative Voices in Media has filed an amicus brief in the case now before the Supreme Court challenging the FCC’s new policy of harshly prosecuting fleeting expletives. Opposing them are interest groups that seek to keep the obsolete Red Lion doctrine in full force. As I’ve reported before, the process for submitting complaints to the FCC is serious flawed, and too easily manipulated by large interest groups. The Second Circuit has overturned the FCC’s new practice, but now the Supreme Court will have the final say.

The artists point out that the FCC’s policy leaves them unable “to determine accurately what type of expression constitutes indecent speech” and punishes them for the actions of others, stifling expression. Since FCC actions are largely unpredictable, it’s difficult to tell what content creators will be punished for. Ars cites one example from CCVM’s report on FCC censorship:

The FCC has yet to sensibly explain why in 2005 it found that the repeated use of the word “fuck” in the movie Saving Private Ryan was not indecent, yet decided that its use in Martin Scorsese’s documentary The Blues was a problem.

No wonder the Second Circuit found the FCC’s policy arbitrary and capricious.