CONTRIBUTING ARTICLE: NEW YORK TIMES CO. V. SULLIVAN: NO JOKING MATTER - 50 YEARS OF PROTECTING HUMOR, SATIRE AND JOKERS

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Abstract

LEXISNEXIS SUMMARY: From colonial-era editorial cartoons to satirical online news websites to the Washington "Gridiron Club Dinner," comedy, satire, and political humor have occupied a hallowed place in the American political system since before the country's birth. ... Seizing on the effect of the case in his landmark opinion, Justice Brennan equated Sullivan's claim (and collection of damages) to a modern example of seditious libel, which was virtually antithetical to the First Amendment. ... Falwell & the First Amendment Breathing Space for Humor The Supreme Court addressed the parody issue head on in Hustler Magazine v. ... Quoting Sullivan, the court wrote: "Equating intent to ridicule with actual malice would curtail the "uninhibited, robust and wide-open' public debate that the actual malice standard was intended to foster, particularly if that debate was expressed in the form of satire or parody." ... Relying on Sullivan and the actual malice standard, the Frank court acknowledged that humor and comedy are entitled to protection from defamation, though it refused to institute a "blanket protection" for comedy. ... As long as it is recognizable to the average reader as a joke, it must be protected or the rather common parody issues of newspapers and magazines must cease to exist. ... In mapping comedy's legal landscape, it is important to not only address how courts have afforded a range of legal protections for comedy, satire, and jokes (especially under New York Times Co. v. Sullivan).
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFirst Amendment Law Review - UNC
StatePublished - Feb 2014

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