In today’s news from the slippery slope, the Michigan Court of Appeals is to decide whether public indecent exposure laws can be used to prosecute nudity on cable TV, which is typically exempt from indecency regulation. The case involves a man who was prosecuted after his appearance on a cable access show. His schtick: Performing an erzatz stand-up comedy routine with his penis.
The Kent County DA won its indecent exposure case. The penis appealed, and its appeal was handled by the ACLU.
The Appeals Court ruling could have a far-reaching impact on cable regulation, and could weigh on Senator Ted Stevens’ and Congressman Joe Barton’s promise to extend FCC regulation to cable broadcasters. Outgoing FCC Chair Michael Powell has pooh-poohed the idea, noting that a 2000 Supreme Court decision (U.S. vs. Playboy Entertainment Group) upheld cable’s right to air nudity and other material not-safe-for-children.
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