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The US Federal Communications Commission has encouraged children to watch naked women on YouTube.

On Friday, nearly four years after 52 American TV stations broadcast images of a woman's naked buttocks between the hours of 9pm and 10pm, the FCC suddenly decided it was time to slap these stations with a $1.43m fine. The end result is that well over one million randy YouTubers have now viewed the woman's naked buttocks in little more than 48 hours.

"Fuck the FCC and other regulating assholes," one young YouTuber recently commented. "PS. that's hot."

Back in February of 2003, the ABC network delivered an episode of NYPD Blue in which a woman disrobes for a shower just before the bathroom door is opened by her prepubescent stepson. Though television viewers saw far less than the stepson, who takes his sweet time closing the door, the FCC issued a belated "notice of apparent liability" against the 52 ABC affiliates, suggesting each should be fined $27,500.

After obtaining a tape of episode, the commission made a careful study of the nude scene, spending two lengthy paragraphs deconstructing each and every shot:

As confirmed by a tape of the program provided by ABC, during the scene in question, a woman wearing a robe is shown entering a bathroom, closing the door, and then briefly looking at herself in a mirror hanging above a sink The camera then shows her crossing the room, turning on the shower, and returning to the mirror. With her back to the camera, she removes her robe, thereby revealing the side of one of her breasts and a full view of her back. The camera shot includes a full view of her buttocks and her upper legs as she leans across the sink to hang up her robe. The camera then tracks her, in profile, as she walks from the mirror back toward the shower. Only a small portion of the side of one of her breasts is visible. Her pubic area is not visible, but her buttocks are visible from the side.

The scene shifts to a shot of a young boy lying in bed, kicking back his bed covers, getting up, and then walking toward the bathroom. The camera cuts back to the woman, who is now shown standing naked in front of the shower, her back to the camera. The frame consists initially of a full shot of her naked from the back, from the top of her head to her waist; the camera then pans down to a shot of her buttocks, lingers for a moment, and then pans up her back. The camera then shifts back to a shot of the boy opening the bathroom door. As he opens the door, the woman, who is now standing in front of the mirror with her back to the door, gasps, quickly turns to face the boy, and freezes momentarily. The camera initially focuses on the woman’s face but then cuts to a shot taken from behind and through her legs, which serve to frame the boy’s face as he looks at her with a somewhat startled expression. The camera then jumps to a front view of the woman’s upper torso; a full view of her breasts is obscured, however, by a silhouette of the boy’s head and ears. After the boy backs out of the bathroom and shuts the door, the camera shows the woman facing the door, with one arm and hand covering her breasts and the other hand covering her pubic area.

The commission contends that such semi-nudity is "within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs – specifically an adult woman’s buttocks." Meanwhile, ABC contends that buttocks are not sexual organs. But the feds say this is ridiculous, arguing that it "runs counter to both case law and common sense."

We would argue that it makes much more sense than laying down a $1.43m fine for semi-nudity in the age of YouTube. ®

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