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what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts

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Sam Lesante Jr.
what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 3, 2012 at 7:45:59 pm

what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts?

Is it different for cable vs. broadcasting?

TIA

Sam


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Mark Suszko
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 3, 2012 at 8:15:18 pm

You can't, generally, except on premium cable channels like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc. Exceptions are quite rare.


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Shane Ross
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 3, 2012 at 10:57:46 pm

The only time I saw it on non-pay cable (HBO, SHOWTIME) was on FX, on THE SHIELD. And the breasts were bare, but the nipples were blurred.

Sorry, you can't on anything but Pay Cable...and even then, it has to be after a certain time of day.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Tim Wilson
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 4, 2012 at 5:22:24 pm

The FCC's authority is limited to over-the-air broadcasting. HBO, Comedy Central, all those guys -- they make no impact on spectrum, so, generally, the FCC has no jurisdiction over cable. If you want to dig into this, the FCC actually has a very good website, with all of their rules posted and explained in lay terms....if still stated a little stiffly. You're looking for Section 76.

The rules and regulations set forth in this part provide for the certification of cable television systems and for their operation in conformity with standards for carriage of television broadcast signals, program exclusivity, cablecasting, access channels, and related matters. The rules and regulations in this part also describe broadcast carriage requirements for cable operators and satellite carriers.


The exceptions are where cable meets over the air, especially for things like signal leakage.

There a couple of other weird ones. The FCC hears complaints about Equal Opportunity employment violations, and the percentage of commercials in children's programming. The former makes no sense to me -- what does that have to do with either signal OR program content? Shouldn't those complaints be heard by a labor board of some kind? The latter surely wouldn't hold up to review -- the Court has held consistently since 1977 (the famous HBO vs. FCC case) that the FCC has no jurisdiction over cable content. But I have a feeling that kids-oriented networks are in no hurry to challenge the rules on this one.

There's also a concept known as the FCC's "reasonably ancillary jurisdiction," admirably covered here, but mostly in relation to the "siphoning" rules that the FCC tried to exert over cable on behalf of broadcasters, but was shot down. In other words, yet another statement of the FCC's limits on control over cable, and actually, a pretty fun read if you're inclined.

So for now, yeah, no bosom-ation on broadcast, end of story. (The exception is wardrobe malfunctions. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 that FCC has no enforcement power over acts or words that the broadcaster couldn't have reasonable foreseen.) The tendencies of premium providers to restrict adult content to certain hours is just that - a tendency, nothing legal. And with DirecTV, you can get most of that stuff on the west coast before dinner time anyway.

Or on the internet.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but I really enjoy this stuff....

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW



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Sam Lesante Jr.
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 5, 2012 at 8:31:22 pm

Ok.. thanks for all the input. So i'm guessing it's ok to show a before and after of breast augmentation as long as nipples are blurred? It would air on a local cable channel and possibly a broadcast station like WFMZ in Allentown


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Tim Wilson
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 6, 2012 at 4:21:43 am

[Sam Lesante Jr.] " It would air on a local cable channel and possibly a broadcast station like WFMZ in Allentown"

You'd really need to check with those outlets. A local cable channel could well be fine. I saw a regular community access cable station with an entirely naked talk show, because it fit that community. (I'm not going to name the community, but its initials are NY NY.) Since the FCC has no jurisdiction over the cable channel, you'd have trust them to know their community's standards....which probably aren't the same as the standards in the unnamed town whose initials are NY.

As an example, I did a couple of shows for a local cable station in Key West, Florida, and they got very nervous around footage of people in bathing suits. Clothing (or lack of clothing) that's okay on the beach isn't the same as what's okay for dinner time viewing.

Along those lines, for the local broadcast station, even blurs might be too explicit. The law is the law, but these guys have to live with the sensibilities of their viewers and advertisers. WFMZ or other local broadcasters know what's okay and what's not, and won't be shy about telling you.


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Mark Suszko
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 6, 2012 at 4:33:09 am

Context is important: they did an episode of "E.R." that showcased trauma treatment on a woman's chest and thorax, and her breasts were exposed very briefly, but not in any kind of prurient way. There was some buzz about it for a week, but nothing too bad, because of the context and the fact the patient wasn't exactly a swimsuit model. News programs have done specials on breast cancer detection before (often, predictably during sweeps), and they can "get away with" showing something like this because it's medical and in the context of a public health service. Even so, they take steps like using blurs and/or pasties, or less-revealing angles, and keeping the scenes short as possible. They still get lots of angry letters from the villagers with torches crowd, there's always going to be some of those who over-react. You need to storyboard this scene out in exact detail, and discuss it with your Standards and Practices counsel.


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Nick Griffin
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 7, 2012 at 8:56:33 pm

First, sure does make me proud to live in a country puritanical enough that this is even an issue. Jeez to blur or not and how much of a blur? Kind of embarrassing that this discussion is even necessary.

Second, Sam if your showing augmentation there are any number of ways to do so tastefully without a full-on nude shot (with nipple blur or not). No need to get medical in your imagery. Creating a beauty shot with a low cut dress is one approach. A silhouette is another. The key in this is to make it glamorous and appealing to the female viewer and not leaning toward the salacious which, while appealing to men and boys, would be a substantial turn-off to women, your target audience. IMHO.


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Clay Myers-Bowman
Re: what are fcc guidelines for showing bare breasts
on Oct 16, 2012 at 9:46:07 pm

How does this apply to artwork? Paintings and sculptures that depict nudes?

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