The US Supreme Court has prohibited the FCC from imposing fines and sanctions for fleeting expletives and nudity on television in a ruling today, declaring that the agency's standards have been vaguely applied. The court avoided making a First Amendment ruling on the FCC's ability to regulate indecency at all, instead opting to strike down the FCC's fines according to administrative impropriety: the court argues that the FCC did not give the Fox or ABC networks fair notice about its rules, depriving them of due process under the Fifth Amendment.

While the FCC could sidestep the ruling's effects by creating a new set of rules, the court's decision shows that it has begun to back away from policies that were implemented prior to the ubiquity of media over the internet. Broadcast networks work under a set of indecency rules no internet outlet is required to consider because they use scarce public spectrum, and prior to today's ruling, they faced severe penalties for airing curse words or nudity that violated the FCC's policy.