The 1.4M+ the FCC is billing broadcasters for a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue" has been roundly criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, which considers it an "…egregious example of the government trying to decide what grown adults can and cannot watch." ACLU’s Policy Council James Tucker said, "This is just another government attempt to trump our own good judgment and determine what we’re mature enough to see. NYPD Blue aired well past the bedtime of most children – at 10:00pm in most markets. Only those affiliates that aired the program between the hours of 6:00-10:00pm would be subject to the fine, which just goes to show the fickle nature of the FCC’s rules. By their logic, airing a shot of a bare behind at 10:30pm is fine, but the same shot at 9:30pm is worth millions in fines and penalties. It’s also worth noting that ABC included a warning before NYPD Blue indicating that the program was intended for mature audiences only. Such warnings allow audiences to decide for themselves whether they want to see the content, or permit their children to see the content. Instead, the government is stepping in to chill free speech and the free expression of ideas by ‘parenting the parents.’"
RBR/TVBR observation: It’s nice to see somebody else say this stuff. Meanwhile, we saw somewhere that the FCC hullabaloo set off a massive nationwide Youtube search for the offending footage. So by shining its spotlight on the segment, representing no more than a parasite on a microbe of the totality of broadcast material in the four years since it originally aired, the FCC has helped bring the episode out of obscurity and into newfound celebrity, no doubt destroying the moral fiber of all who go on this indecent FCC-inspired scavenger hunt.