According to Councilman Bill de Blasio, the billboard industry is "synonymous with New York," and sure, billboards are always cause for a bit of fun and controversy in this city, whether depicting orgies or co-opting Woody Allen. But there have been some real game-changers lately—revenge billboards, billboards co-opting the President, and even an FBI's Most Wanted billboard. But with such rampant innovations spurring greater and greater feats of billboarding, it was inevitable those titans of advertising might find themselves falling toward the rough waters of appeals courts.
Today, a federal appeals court ruled that NYC did not violate the First Amendment by limiting the number of billboards along roadways and parks. Last year, a group of companies that market hundreds of billboards, including Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. and Metro Fuel LLC, brought a lawsuit against the city for infringing on commercial speech rights by stiffening rules against placements for big billboards and lighted signs. Since 1940, the city has banned commercial billboards that don't advertise on-premises businesses near major roads, although it has irregularly enforced these rules.
There have already been major crackdowns on illegal billboards in the city for the past year, so it looks like NYC is committed to "reducing visual clutter." Which as fine, as long as they don't touch our precious naked Peta ads.