Larry Flynt vs. Jerry Falwell

In this particular case having to do with fair use, Pornographic Magazine king pin tried to sue the Reverend Jerry Falwell after he had made photo copies of one page of an issue of Hustler Magazine (the magazine which Mr. Flynt owned). Said page made disparaging remarks about Rev. Falwell, which is why the copies were made in the first place so that the Reverend could start a fun raising effort that was against Hustler magazine. The article that was contained in Hustler Magazine was ¬†parody of Campari liquor advertisements. The advertisement poked fun at the the so called “first time” sexual experience that Rev. Falwell had. After the parody advertisement staring Rev. Falwell had been published, 260,000 copies of the parody, with eight profanities blacked out and signed by Rev. Falwell. The parody’s also included a letter from Rev. Falwell asking for donations so that he could sue Hustler Magazine in order to “defend his mother’s memory” in court. Falwell also made it point to go on television and display this work in order to gain further support. After these events had happened, Hustler Magazine filed a law suit against the moral majority and Jerry Falwell for copyright infringement on August 4, 1984. The court decided that the copying of the single page of Hustler Magazine was within fair use. This is because by the time the copies of the page that poked fun at Mr. Falwell had been distributed to his followers after the issue had been taken off the market, and therefore would affect the sales of the magazine and would not affect the back sales of the work.


In my opinion, there are two sides to this story. Yes, I do entirely agree that Jerry Falwell was within his right to make copies of page which disparaged him and then send it to his followers taking into the account the points which the court made. Also, the article was probably not “heart of the work” as Hustler Magazine is known for being a pornographic magazine. ¬†However I do not necessarily agree with the Rev. Falwell’s intentions. The main reason why he did this was so that he could sue Larry Flynt for making fun of him. However, by the 1st amendment, Mr. Flynt was entirely in his right to do so and it even said at the bottom of the parody advertisement “AD PARODY–NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.” Most of the people who read that issue I cannot imagine being followers of the Rev. Falwell. At the end of the day, though, freedom of speech and fair use are two entirely different issues.


“Hustler Magazine v. Moral Majority.” N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.


“Hustler Magazine v. Moral Majority.” Leagle. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.

“Summaries of Fair Use Cases.” Stanford University. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.


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