London, July 22 : A US appeal court has axed the 275,700-pound fine imposed on US television broadcaster CBS by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for screening Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during 2004's 'Super Bowl'.
Three judges presiding over the hearing ruled that the watchdog "acted arbitrarily and capriciously" in levying the fine.
The incident took place while Janet was performing alongside Justin Timberlake, and about 90 million TV viewers were said to have seen it.
CBS was flooded with complaints as soon as the footage was screened, and the fine imposed on the network in September 2004 was the largest ever handed to a US television broadcaster.
The court observed that the FCC had traditionally fined broadcasters for indecent material only when it amounted to "shock treatment" for viewers, and that the footage in the present case was too brief to merit such a penalty.
"The FCC cannot impose liability on CBS for the acts of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, independent contractors hired for the limited purposes of the half-time show," the BBC quoted the chief judge on the panel, Anthony Scirica, as writing.
No statement on the ruling has yet been issued by CBS or the FCC.