Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Nipplegate Finally Ends

Janet Jackson at the Essence Music Festival, New Orleans, July 2, 2010.
Janet Jackson at the Essence Music Festival, New Orleans, July 2, 2010. Photo by Skip Bolen/WireImage/Getty Images
WRITTEN BY
William Goodman

Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during her halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 will live forever in pop infamy, but Nipplegate is officially over as far as the U.S. legal system is concerned. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled Wednesday that CBS does not have to pay $550,000 for her indecent exposure, Reuters reports. Now that would've been one very expensive strip tease.

Following the incident, which was caused when Justin Timberlake accidentally (ahem) ripped off part of Jackson's bustier to expose her right breast to some 90 million viewers, CBS was fined $27,500 by each of the 20 stations it owns. Since '04, the case has bounced back and forth between the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, as the Federal Communications Commissions attempted to get CBS to pay up. However, the three-judge panel for Philly's 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the FCC "arbitrarily and capriciously" departed from prior policy by seeking such a large fine against the New York-based network.

In a statement, the FCC said that it's disappointed by the decision, but plans to use "all the authority at its disposal" to guarantee that broadcasters serve the public interest when they use the public airwaves.

While Jackson's silver ring-adorned nipple will never leave our collective consciousness, here are four other memorable Super Bowl halftime performances.

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