The small penis rule is an informal strategy for limiting defamation liability for authors of fiction. The rule recommends that when an author utilizes a fictional character to defame a real-life person, he should also give the character a small penis – the logic being that in order to sue, a plaintiff would have to admit that he is the fictional character, therefore admitting that he has a small penis, and thus dissuading such litigation. In this first-ever Article to address the issue, evidence is provided for why this is an unwise strategy because it would likely cause an increase in defamation liability. Additionally, this Article covers alternatives available to authors of fiction, a real-life example from Michael Crichton, and the peculiarly gendered nature of the small penis rule.
Conklin, Michael, The Big Problem with the Small Penis Rule: Why It Does Not Limit Defamation Liability (December 2020).