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Real-world examples of Loophole Abuse. See also the sub-pages for legal and sports-related examples.


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    Bets & Contests 
  • The IOCCC (International Obfuscated C Code Contest) has a separate yearly award for "worst abuse of the rules", which is awarded precisely for invoking this trope. Obviously, this means the rules will be amended for the next year. For instance, one year's winner is the world's shortest self-reproducing program, which turned out to be a zero-length program that indeed generates a zero-length output. Therefore, contest entries must now be a minimum of one byte in length.note 
  • In another technical example, author Mike Goldman offered a "Compression Challenge" which was to create a program capable of compressing a data file with no redundancy (which is impossible to compress), as a counter to people challenging statements from his compression FAQ. The statement was that the challenger would pay $100 to be provided with a data file and should submit back a compressed data file and a decompressor program which could reconstruct the original file; successfully doing so would win a prize of $5000. A programmer named Patrick Craig then asked if it would be acceptable for there to be several compressed data files, and was told yes, enabling his creative loophole abuse: he entered the contest, received a 3Mb file which could not be compressed, and identified the most common byte in it. His program then split the file into chunks, ending the current chunk each time that byte was encountered, then starting a new one after skipping that byte. This meant that each chunk removed 1 byte from the total storage space taken, which saved just enough space for the chunks plus the tiny program needed to reconstitute the data (by concatenating the chunks together again, inserting the byte between them) to come in under 3mb, satisfying the challenge. His submission caused a significant argument on the compression group including arguments as to whether this was truly "compression" or whether the data stored by the OS in the file system to track multiple files should be included in the 3mb count. Craig eventually waived the $5000 prize and Goldman refunded his entry fee.
  • In 1984, Michael Larson was a contestant on Press Your Luck. He won an astonishing $110,237, at the time a record, and the episode where he competed was so long that it had to be split into two parts to air. It turned out he had recorded previous episodes and memorized the patterns the game board used, which, despite appearances, were NOT random. He found a pattern that would give him cash and an additional spin every time. CBS eventually admitted that he wasn't actually breaking any rules so they couldn't do anything - except change the board patterns for future shows.
  • The Real Hustle shows why you should never accept a bar bet, especially if it involves money. Don't accept a "I'll bet you that you can't do X action" unless you already know the loophole abuse to be able to do it, and never, ever accept a "Wanna bet that I can't do X action?" bet because your opponent already has a loophole ready to be abused to succeed.
    • An old hustle which involved betting that some random guy can't do everything you can. Touch your nose. He touches his nose. Lick your glass. He licks his glass. Take some drink. He takes some drink. Spit the drink back out...
    • Another proposition bet is betting that you can drink 3 full beers before your mark can drink three shots. The only rule: you can't touch each others' glasses. As long as you can drink one glass before your opponent can drink their three shots, you can then put your empty glass over one of their shots, they can't remove it, and you can drink the other two beers at your leisure. Some people loophole back by asking someone else to move the glass.
  • There's an old joke that goes "Should you ever accept a bet from a man who says he can bite his own eye? No, because he'll take out his dentures and do so, thus making you lose the bet. Should you ever accept a bet from a man who says he can bite his other eye? No, because then he'll pop out his glass eye and bite it, making you lose another bet."
  • The American Music Awards abused a loophole of their own in 2009 — the nominations are based on radio airplay and album sales, and the winners by an online fan vote. Thus, Michael Jackson and his album Number Ones got five nominations and ultimately four wins. The abuse? Number Ones was a Greatest Hits Album released in 2003 (there was only one new song on the album), and the only reason Jackson got all that airplay and sales was because he had just died. But there was apparently no rule preventing old material from getting nominations. Complaints that nominating Jackson wasn't fair to artists who had brought out successful new material during the eligibility period and that the AMA's were piggybacking on his death for press and ratings were shouted down by fans saying that the AMA rules were rules and this just proved Jackson's superiority.
    • It happened again in the 2016 nominations, where the then-recently-deceased Prince's Purple Rain soundtrack, released in 1984, was one of the three nominees for Best Soundtrack (the other two being The Force Awakens and Suicide Squad (2016), both films that were released during the eligibility period). Unlike the Jackson case, the backlash wasn't as severe, at least when the nomination was announced.
  • No rule says a woman can't be prom king.
  • The Burma-Shave company danced very close to this in one of their more famous moments. They ran a jingle that said anybody who could send in 900 empty Burma-Shave jars, they would send him to Mars. They believed that it was simply impossible, but they didn't count on a supermarket owner getting a town to return their empty jars for him. Burma-Shave racked their brains, trying to find a way to get themselves out of this and still save face. They mercifully found a small town in Germany named "Moers", which was pronounced like "Mars". The grocer was happy he got a free European vacation, Burma-Shave got a ton of good publicity, and everybody went home happy.
    • A similar situation arose with Pepsi in 1996 with its "Pepsi Points" promotion. The commercial portrayed a high school kid flying a Harrier jump jet to school with the caption "HARRIER JET—7,000,000 Points". Enter John Leonard, who purchased 7,000,000 Pepsi Points under the rules of the promotion and attempted to claim his Harrier. The case was ultimately settled in federal court in Pepsi's favor, because the "offer" was obviously a joke (this required the judge to explain in some detail why it was a joke in his ruling). No doubt the Pentagon would have blocked the transfer of a flight-capable, state-of-the-art military aircraft to a private citizen in any case, especially since acquiring 7,000,000 Pepsi Points would have cost significantly less than the $30 million unit cost for a Harrier. It also made clear that advertisers had to add 'prize not actually available' legal language to the commercials from that point on to ward off claims of this type.
    • While this case was ongoing, the Department of Defense had a couple of their own loopholes they intended to use in the very unlikely event the judge actually ordered Pepsi to go through with their implied promise and provide the winner with a Harrier jet. One was, as mentioned, to simply tell Pepsi to pound sand, as the Department of Defense had nothing to do with the promotion and had never entered into an agreement to give them a jet for the winner. Another was to make Pepsi pay for a jet... and then pull out the engines, avionics, weapons systems, fuel tanks, etc., basically turning the plane into an empty shell - hey, the promotion didn't say anything about having to provide a working Harrier jet.
  • There was the rather infamous case involving a contest for Hooters employees - they were told (never written down) that whoever sold the most beer would win a Toyota. Cue the winner being taken to the parking lot blindfolded, only to see a toy Yoda sitting on the ground, with the manager claiming it was an April Fools' joke. The resulting lawsuit was settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum.
  • An engineering event in a science contest required students to build a device that could catch an egg so that it didn't break. Efficiency was calculated as the drop height divided by the thickness of the device. One school decided to drop the egg from a height of 1cm (which an egg shell can withstand on its own), and used a thin sheet of carbon paper as their "device". Since the thickness of the carbon paper is on the scale of microns, they ended up getting around 10,000 efficiency, effectively screwing over the rest of the competition.
  • A high school version of the above event: using only the items provided to you, make a device that can insulate an egg from a fall of any height. Among other things, each team had a pair of scissors (for cutting tape with), but the winning team actually taped the open scissors to the bottom of a styrofoam cup to work as a weight and a shock absorber.
  • The true story of two co-workers who bet $250 on the outcome of a sporting event. The wager allowed for the loser to use a portion of the proceed to purchase lunch for the rest of the office, but not the whole $250. Without having the portion of the wager that could be spent on lunch defined, the loser of the wager spent $247 on lunch and gave the winner the remaining $3.
  • There's a rather simple card trick where the dealer performing the trick looks at the 4th card from the top of the deck before starting the trick. Through some deceptive card movement, they then arrange for that to always be the "randomly chosen" card of the person they're tricking. The dealer then encourages the other person to mix their card back into the deck and shuffle it however they like and for as long as they like. The dealer says that he will go through the deck and guess the correct card and begins turning them over one by one, placing the cards face up on the table. While doing this, the dealer will turn over the chosen card and appear to ignore it, continuing to other cards. Then the dealer will then randomly stop while holding a card in his hand, and declare that the next card he turns over will be the card chosen at the start of the trick, and asks if anyone would like to bet about him being able to do this correctly. When someone jumps at the chance since the chosen card is lying in a pile of discarded cards, the dealer promptly reaches into the discard pile and turns the chosen card over.
    • Or (and this is much easier) the magician will somehow glimpse at the bottom card (known as a key card) then control the cards such that the key card juxtaposes the selection so that the magician will know what the selection was, with the disadvantage of the other person being unable to shuffle the cards freely (unless the magician could control then cop out/in the pair).
  • If you count an insurance policy as a bet, this story works. The very first life insurance policy ever issued was issued to William Gybbon in London in 1583 and was for a period of one year. When Gybbon died on the 364th day of the contract, the insurance company tried to loophole out of paying the policy out (equivalent to over $100,000 today). Their loophole was that they sold the policy based on 28 days per month (a lunar year) versus 365 days (a solar calendar year). They lost in court.
  • Many, many contests get around rules against gambling by assorted tricks:
    • Presenting contests that involve no randomness by the organiser, but have no deterministic solution (eg, "the winner will be the lowest number that only one person picks")
    • Where a prize draw is required to have a "skill component", asking a question that's ludicrously easy because there's no statement of how difficult the skill has to be (eg, "What are the pet monsters appearing in the cartoon series 'Pokemon' called?")
    • Using random selection of who gets through to a phone line as a prerequisite to enter the contest, because how the call volume is managed isn't the same as the contest.
  • In 2008, the Spanish public broadcasting company RTVE decided to fight declining interest in the Eurovision Song Contest by announcing another televised contest in which the audience would decide the Eurovision contestant. David Fernández, a comedian from a rival company, created the character "Rodolfo Chikilicuatre" and a song ("Baila el Chiki-chiki") that were deliberately ridiculous, entering the contest as a joke. Naturally RTVE was not thrilled, but there was nothing in the rules preventing him from contesting. As you might be expecting to read, Fernández won the contest and went to Eurovision to defend his song, where he finished 16th and his edition was the most watched program in Spain since Eurovision 2002. Nevertheless, Fernández "retired" the Chikilicuatre character right after and RTVE added rules to prevent this from happening again.
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    Broadcasting 
  • Freeform
    • When ABC bought the Fox Family Channel in 2001, the company had planned to revamp the channel as "XYZ", making it a sort of a clone of an FX-esque Rerun Farm in the style of ABC (this was long before FX — which as of 2019 is now a sister network — struck gold with The Shield and when using cable networks to "repurpose" reruns was in vogue). Allegedly, various forms of contractual language imposed by former owner and fundamentalist broadcaster Pat Robertson (which among other things, also requires daily airings of his program The 700 Club and an annual CBN telethon each January) stated that carriage deals for the network would become void if the word "Family" were removed from its name, meaning that Disney would be stuck having to renegotiate with every system to get back on, which for any basic cable network would be a disastrous proposition. However, this turned out to be an urban legend, confirmed by network staff when the Freeform name-change was announced.
    • Even though ABC could have re-branded the network, they still managed to stretch the definition of "Family" way beyond what Robertson intended; after getting by with reruns of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, 7th Heaven, and Gilmore Girls, along with reality shows that were rightfully rejected by every other network, a smart marketer realized that if you made the network's slogan "A new kind of family" and emphasized it as much as the network name, you could easily wiggle around what Pat thought of as a "family" and expand the definition. Thus the network was finally able to program for more than two kids and two parents, and now programming like Pretty Little Liars can easily lead into The 700 Club, which Pat Robertson can't do anything about.
    • Meanwhile, Freeform still has so many notices, warnings and roadblocks before The 700 Club reminding you that Disney doesn't endorse his views at all that it is treated as the Old Shame of the network. It isn't even mentioned at all on the network's website. These content warnings came about as a result of Pat's increasingly frequent cases of making bizarre statements; with the one sparking the beginning of those disclaimers being a not-so-subtle suggestion that the CIA "take out" (read: assassinate) Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Before that, the screen display read that the 700 Club was a presentation of CBN.
    • When a Canadian version of ABC Family was launched in Canada in 2012, it instead took on the name ABC Spark (but still used branding elements of ABC Family, and now Freeform). However, this was more to prevent conflicts and confusion with Family Channel—a premium cable-licensed but de facto basic cable channel that historically carried programming licensed from ABC Family's U.S. sister network Disney Channel since it launched in 1988. It, otherwise is of no relation to ABC Family or ABC Spark; but in 2015, the owner of ABC Spark ended up acquiring the Canadian rights to Disney Channel programming, and actually made a real Disney Channel.
  • ABS-CBN stopped its broadcast operations for the second time (The first time was during the Martial Law) on May 5, 2020 by the order of the NTC due to a controversy surrounding the renewal of the network's franchise. Ain't no law stating that they can't broadcast their programming elsewhere or in any way outside TV signals despite losing their broadcast frequency, and their internet presence allows them to keep broadcasting their programming via their YouTube channels in real time like any programming schedule would. Same goes with allowing their shows to be aired on these channels: A2Z (Which was a collaboration of both the former and with ZOE TV 11), rival channel TV5, and their own pay TV channel, Kapamilya Channel.
  • All who auditioned for the role of Jackie Burkhart in That '70s Show were required to be at least 18 years old; Mila Kunis was 14 at the time, so she told the casting directors she’d be 18 on her birthday, but didn't say which one. Though they eventually figured it out, the producers still thought she was the best fit for the role.
  • When Gene Roddenberry conceptualized Star Trek, he envisioned the Federation of Planets as a perfect utopia, and Starfleet as the ultimate paragons of virtue who would never use underhanded tactics to prevail, leading to, among other things, the Federation ban on cloaked ships. Star Trek: The Next Generation, in particular, was envisioned by Roddenberry to take place in such an idyllic future that he instituted the "Roddenberry Mandate", which stated that there would be no interpersonal conflict between the protagonists or between members of Starfleet. Writers found ways to circumvent the Mandate: in one particular case, the Season 1 episode "Conspiracy", the writers were able to implement a story about internal corruption in Starfleet by having said corruption caused by parasitic mind-controlling insects (which would later become the basis for the Borg); and in the season 5 episode "Power Play", three crew members, including Data, became possessed by entities before holding the crew hostage (and it would not be the last time Data would be externally forced into conflict against his friends). After Roddenberry passed away, the series writers were free to explore the greyer aspects of Starfleet and the Federation's previously unimpeachable morality, with the sequel series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine introducing the Federation's first cloaked battleship and a cell of Federation-approved black-ops agents.
  • When TV execs want to cancel a show but ratings are high, they can move it to a time slot where hardly anyone can watch it, so ratings go down. Once the ratings drop they have a reason to cancel it.
  • The Federal Communications Commission's entire television ownership rules have arguably egregious loopholes. Before 2000, the FCC only permitted broadcast stations to own two stations in the same television market if they were non-commercial educational stations. Then the FCC allowed duopolies between two full-power commercial stations (commercial station duopolies were only allowed previously between a full-power and low-power station), but disallowing duopolies in markets with fewer than eight stations and only allowing station groups to own one of the four highest-rated stations and one station whose viewership placed it below the top four.
    • If the lower-rated station's overall viewership increased over time to where it wound up in the top four rated stations, the duopoly would be broken up once both stations were put up for sale. However, that rule has a loophole as the rule allegedly was going to limit two stations affiliated with the Big Four networks to be co-owned, but in actuality wound up only protecting stations based on viewership, meaning that if the four highest-rated stations in a single television market consisted of an NBC, CBS, Univision and ABC affiliate and the Fox station was the 5th-rated station, there is nothing to stop the Fox affiliate's owner from buying the NBC affiliate and vice versa.
      • Jacksonville, Florida is a textbook example as each of the Big Four affiliates are involved in a duopoly (NBC affiliate WTLV and ABC affiliate WJXX) or virtual duopoly (Fox affiliate WFOX and CBS affiliate WJAX, though the latter has gone back and forth from being a legal duopoly to a virtual duopoly). Until Nexstar Broadcasting Group's sale of the latter to Graham Media Group (a deal done concerning its attempt to acquire Media General) was completed in January 2017, the market's two independently owned commercial stations were Graham-owned ex-CBS affiliate turned independent WJXT and Nexstar CW affiliate WCWJ; as such, now that Graham owns WCWJ, Jacksonville is one of the few markets in which all of the major commercial stations are part of some type of duopolynote .
    • An attempt to do this in Miami with Washington Post-owned WPLG purchasing NBC's owned WTVJ by arguing that WTVJ's ratings were 6th in the market (by folding in the much higher ratings of the city's Univision and Telemundo stations in a market with a heavy Cuban-American and Spanish-speaking population) failed because of petition drives and a rare case of the FCC refusing to even consider the deal because of the poorly constructed argument using stations that wouldn't (or in Telemundo's case, couldn't because NBC owned them) compete with English-language stations.
    • Another loophole is the "failing/failed station" waiver that allows a company to buy a station that it claims is in economically nonviable shape. In hindsight, use of the waiver should violate the duopoly rules, since they have been largely used in cities where there aren't enough stations to allow a duopoly normally. It is debatable whether these waivers might get a pass because of the purpose in which they are used. An example is in Green Bay, Wisconsin (which has only seven active full-power stations, plus an eighth that is licensed to a nearby city within the market but actually used another loophole to move to Milwaukee, place smaller translator stations in the city of license, and now broadcasts the Weather Nation network and can't be received in Green Bay at all), where LIN Media used a failing station waiver to buy CW affiliate WCWF in 2010, creating a duopoly with LIN-owned Fox station WLUK-TV under an argument that the WCWF's city of license of Suring (a Northwoods village northwest of Green Bay which was licensed there by a religious organization in the 80's in order to spread their message in God-friendly country, but doesn't really work as a place to put a CW affiliate) didn't provide enough advertising or local income, cleverly omitting that beyond some occasional community calendar drops of Suring, the station is basically a Green Bay operation in everything but name and the digital age put the tower south of Green Bay rather than the analog Suring location; Journal Broadcast Group also used a waiver to buy Appleton-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate WACY-TV in the same city to create a duopoly with NBC affiliate WGBA, but in that case, argued that the station's condition back in 1994 (when the FCC had not deregulated the industry yet) meant that without WGBA's help, it would be a non-viable station airing low-quality and non-local programming or have long been dormant (the only "local" programming here being high school sports and a horror movie host snarking a movie on Saturday nights; the economic argument of WCWF wasn't used as Appleton is equal in stature to Green Bay). It worked.
  • Shared services, local marketing and joint sales agreements are also significant loopholes in regards to the duopoly rules, since they largely occur in markets where there are too few stations to allow a legal duopoly without a failed/failing station waiver. Even though SSAs, JSAs and LMAs have separate definitions, they all typically involve the consolidation of most or all operations of one station into another. What makes these agreements controversial not only are the fact that the permission of these agreements not only contradict the FCC's own duopoly rules (though the agency does not regulate or bar them), but they also result in most of the junior partner station's personnel being laid off and often lead to one station's news department being shut down (rather than relocating it to the studios of the senior partner station), leading to one station's news staff and filed reports appearing on another station or even in some markets (like Scranton, Pennsylvania and Evansville, Indiana), simulcasts of newscasts on both of the involved stations. Cable and satellite operators also balk at these agreements due to the issue of one station owner negotiating retransmission compensation (where stations and cable networks ask for providers to pay them to carry their programming) for a station that it manages but (allegedly) doesn't own.
    • Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Broadcasting are the worst offenders when it comes to shared services agreements as both companies operate no fewer than ten virtual duopolies within their station groups (most of Sinclair's SSAs involve Cunningham Broadcasting, which family members of deceased company founder David Sinclair Smith own stock in; all SSAs operated by Nexstar involve Mission Broadcasting, which Smith's widow serves as president). Sinclair was circumventing the rules even before the Turn of the Millennium when duopolies became legal with Cunningham's precursor Glencairn Ltd., which at one point earned them a hefty FCC fine. An even worse case of abuse with these rules is the fact that in markets where a duopoly is legally allowed, a company that already owns a duopoly can enter into an SSA/LMA/JSA with one or two more stations creating virtual triopolies and virtual quadropolies (which overstep the bounds of the amount of stations a single company can own); conversely in places where a duopoly isn't allowed, one station owner can assume control of two or three other stations that are owned by different companies.
      • Until it sold its television stations to Gray Television in 2016, Schurz Communications was the only station group that maintained separate news departments and staffs with their SSAs, avoiding such controversy: Schurz operated virtual duopolies between NBC and ABC stations in Augusta, Georgia (WAGT and Media General-operated WJBF) and Springfield, Missouri (KYTV and Parkin Media-owned KSPR), but both are operated to some extent as if they were owned-and-operated by separate companies as those virtual duopolies maintain separate news departments and their newscasts compete against one another in several timeslots. The KYTV-KSPR arrangement continues to exist under Gray, but that company's existing CBS affiliate in Augusta, WRDW, now manages WAGT's news programming after terminating the SSA with WJBF.
    • In 2014, now-former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler began to patch many of these loopholes; joint sales agreements were essentially banned (selling 15% or more of advertising on another station under a JSA came to be considered as ownership unless a waiver is obtained; a two-year grace period was given to allow existing arrangements to be wound down or come in compliance, which was fought by several station groups in a court injunction), and coordinated carriage negotiations between two of the top four stations in a market were also banned.
      • This witch hunt (even though it only involved one of the three types of sharing agreements) created a rift in several major transactions occurring with Sinclair, along with mid-market broadcaster Gray Television, who suddenly went all out in their respective acquisitions of Allbritton and Hoak to avoid any use of sharing agreements. In the event of conflicts requiring such an agreement, they decided to, instead, buy the station's assets (e.g. programming, equipment) but move the programming to a digital subchannel of an existing station they legally own. The stations were, in turn, sold to minority-owned broadcasters; Sinclair sold theirs to Howard Stirk Holdings, which is a "friend" in several other markets), and came back to life as independently-run stations with varying numbers of digital subchannel networks.
      • In Birmingham, Alabama and Charleston, South Carolina with former Allbritton properties, Sinclair decided to turn in the licenses for the full-power ABC stations in each market (WCFT/WJSU and WCIV) that they acquirednote , while taking everything but the tower and 'master control,' keeping those stations on the air and selling them off to broadcasters who had absolutely no intention to run a respectable or competitive station in the market (one of them, a discredited political commentator with lots of business with Sinclair, who is already part of these agreements in other Sinclair markets), some of whom may just be planning to turn in the license anyway for a quick buck in the FCC's 2016 incentive auction (which, the conspiratorially minded may wonder, may have been the FCC's plan all along). Meanwhile, existing Sinclair stations in both markets, both affiliated with MyNetworkTV (as well as a repeater of the company's Birmingham CW affiliate, WTTO), will now carry the signals and programming which aired on those stations as a subchannel, meaning that in Birmingham, ABC will air on the absurd Channel 68, while in Charleston, ABC moves from Channel 4 down to Channel 36.
      • Gray later pulled a variation of the concept; low-power stations are not subject to the FCC's ownership caps. In Laredo (where Gray already had an NBC station with ABC on a sub-channel), they bought the non-license assets of their CBS station KVTV, as well as a low-power station that its owner had just so happened to also own (renamed KYLX). Gray filed with the FCC to move KYLX to a new signal using the same facilities/channel as KVTV. Of course, this would cause "interference" with KVTV, so it was to be shut down at the same time. Then, Gray pulled the tablecloth: they filed for immediate "special temporary authority" for the low-power station to begin broadcasting on the new signal effective immediately. Or in other words, they turned the KVTV transmitter down to a lower power, declared it to henceforth be KYLX, and threw KVTV's license into the FCC paper shredder.
      • Gray was seemingly preparing to do the same thing in Augusta (where it runs CBS station WRDW) with WAGT (NBC) through its purchase of Schurz; the company requested an exemption to the duopoly rule so it could own WAGT during the spectrum auction, but planned to shut it down upon closure of the purchase so they wouldn't be necessarily be running two of the top four stations in the market at the same time (It's the thought that counts, right?). The STA was primed and almost ready, but the FCC threw a wrench in Gray's ruse and stated that it could continue to operate WAGT (well, continue as in had to) through the end of the spectrum auction. Said low-power station continued to serve as a bottom-feeder running programming from the equally bottom-feeder Yootoo America for the time being, until the speculated signal switch occurred on May 31, 2017 after WAGT was cashed in for a nearly-$41 million payout.
    • Another loophole wasn't originally intended as a loophole; FCC rules state that a single company cannot have a portfolio of stations constituting more than 39% of U.S. households served. Stations on the UHF band are "discounted" by half for the calculation, since UHF bands were considered to be technologically inferior for television broadcasting than VHF. However, since the transition to digital television, almost all television stations are now physically on the UHF band, since it's considered to be superior for digital broadcasting. Tom Wheeler removed this loophole in late-2016, only for the Trump administration's new FCC commissioner to promptly reinstate it. A few weeks later, Sinclair promptly announced its intent to acquire Tribune Media, subsequently resulting in lawsuits claiming that the new government was doing this only to prompt more consolidation.
    • Part of the problem with policing these sorts of agreements is that in this day and age station operations tend to be heavily automated; a station that doesn't produce news or anything else of its own programming can essentially be run by a computer that plays syndicated programming, network programming, and infomercials in an endless loop, and only needs to employ one person to run and maintain the computer - possibly, one person running the computer for multiple stations that doesn't need to be in any of their markets. While a lot of the purposes of LMAs, JSAs and SSAs seem like they should be reasonable under certain circumstances, it takes very little for a company to effectively take full control of a station; acquiring programming, negotiating retransmission consent, merging news operations, and taking a cut of the money may all individually, let alone collectively, amount to having full control of the station.
  • Lots of radio stations in Mexican cities near the U.S. border (colloquially known as "border blasters"), such as — most famously — Tijuana (near San Diego), broadcast programming targeting the neighboring U.S. market instead, to get around FCC regulations (including, most notably, power for AM stations, and advertising regulations) since they fall outside US jurisdiction. They are often operated from U.S.-based studios in partnership with a local broadcasters. Although mainly airing English programming, they still have to comply with Mexican law, including airing the Mexican national anthem twice per-day (which may be accompanied by the U.S. anthem as well), 48 minutes of government PSAs per-day (including political advertising during elections), and La Hora Nacional on Sunday nights. The only major restriction the U.S. has enforced was a restriction on linking studios to foreign transmitters via telephones. Even Mexican officials have argued that the mandatory time on such stations could be utilized better, such as airing commercials to promote Mexican tourism.
    • A few television stations have also acted as a border blaster: XETV in San Diego at one point exploited nearly all of the broadcast television loopholes. While it started as an independent station, when XETV was the exclusive ABC affiliate during the 1960's it was allowed to broadcast at much higher power than American network stations, which led to a lawsuit by the NBC affiliate which had been relegated to a UHF channel (and thus could only be seen with great difficulty in mountainous San Diego County). XETV was also exempt from FCC-imposed limits on advertising time, and thus broadcast the first hour-long 'infomercials' in the 1970's. Even with all of this though, they basically obeyed most of the FCC's regulations voluntarily, even the three-hour Edutainment Show requirements. However, after losing The CW to a new subchannel of CBS station KFMB-TV, XETV threw in the towel; it shut down its news department on March 31, 2017, and dropped The CW in favor of Televisa's Canal 5 network on June 1, 2017.note 
  • At one point in the nearly two-decade licensing battle between the FCC and RKO (in which RKO General was charged with anti-competitive practices related to parent company General Tire essentially basing dealings with vendors on whether they advertised on RKO stations); RKO General (facing the potential of having their broadcasting license revoked completely) took advantage of a new law passed by Congress in early 1983 (which, however, they lobbied for) that guaranteed an automatic license renewal for any commercial VHF station that moved to a state without one (which would have only meant New Jersey or Delaware). The gambit led to their flagship station WOR-TV (now WWOR) moving to Seacacus, New Jersey. The gambit only delayed the inevitable; as following the sale of WOR-TV in 1987, RKO General's broadcasting license would be permanently revoked.
    • In the digital age, this same loophole was used by two stations in Jackson, Wyoming and Eli, Nevada which had no hope of expansion in those desolate markets to move into the Philadelphia and New York markets, respectively (though VHF has proven to be an uneasy transmission medium in the digital age; however the real prize is must-carry on cable and satellite, which both stations took well advantage of). Both upon sign-on became the most powerful affiliates in the Me-TV network.
  • If the creators of a TV show wants to use one of the forbidden words, there are several loopholes to get around the FCC rules about them: either bleep them, use creative means (Curse Cut Short, Narrative Profanity Filter, Foreign Cuss Word, Pardon My Klingon, Parenthetical Swearing) to imply them or simply Mouthing the Profanity. Yes, it doesn't count if the naughty words aren't sounded out but merely mouthed.
  • The rules requiring U.S. television stations to air educational programming for children have been looped around by broadcasters for decades. In 1990, the FCC implemented the Children's Television Act to address concerns over the lack of educational programming for children on television, and how advertisers are marketing to the demographic. It gave full-power television stations an obligation to compile reports on their broadcasting of programs that "furthers the positive development of children 16 years of age and under in any respect, including the child's intellectual/cognitive or social/emotional needs". The flimsy definition was ripe for abuse, however, as many stations attempted to justify non-edutainment programs, such as Leave It to Beaver and The Jetsons, as educational under the social/emotional needs" card.
    • In 1996, the FCC patched these loopholes by adopting a stricter definition of educational programming, now explicitly requiring that they be specifically designed to meet the educational and informational needs of children 16 and younger. It also requires all full-power TV stations to air three hours per-week of such programs, which must be regularly-scheduled and air between 7:00 a.m. and 10 p.m. At first broadcasters scheduled them during the hours when their target demographic was at school.note  It soon became the standard for such programs to be aired on weekends, a practice that slowly but surely (especially as cable and streaming became more prominent) ended the tradition of Saturday morning cartoons. Some broadcasters still got caught trying to pass off non-educational programming as E/I, with Spanish-language network Univision being fined $24 million in 2007 after attempting to declare youth telenovelas as educational programming.
  • The CTA also contains restrictions on advertising during programs aimed at children, including the prohibition of any ads for a product or service related to the show that it airs during ("host-selling"), as it will turn the entire show into a commercial, thus violating a limit on the amount of commercials that can be broadcast during such a program. The FCC claims no jurisdiction over cable channels when it comes to these sorts of content rules. That meant that the practical effect of the Children's Television Act was to basically slowly kill kids' shows on broadcast television, while the practical effect of restrictions on content in shows for adults is to cripple broadcasters' ability to show the sort of edgy programming cable has become known for. E/I programs have largely moved to the graveyard slot of weekends. National sports broadcasts shuffle things further, especially on the west coast.
    • However, the restrictions on advertising during children's programming only apply if the program is primarily aimed towards viewers aged 12 and younger. By The New '10s, networks began to realize that if they declare their E/I programming to be aimed towards viewers 13 to 16 years old, they can air more advertising per-hour during them, and are no longer subject to the "host-selling" ban. The resulting wave of live-action, documentary and reality-style E/I programs that flooded the major networks to replace traditional kids shows was a result of this demographic shift; since they can attract a more generalized audience than preschool-oriented programs, they are more attractive to "conventional" advertisers (as opposed to toy and fast food concerns). Litton Entertainment, who produces these programs en masse for almost every major network, has embraced this extensively; every other "educational" program they produce is a thinly-veiled advertisement for corporate "underwriters" such as EA Sports, Norwegian Cruise Line, and SeaWorld.
    • Even without FCC intervention, the Moral Guardians seem to look at broadcast with a more critical eye, though how much of that is because they have more hope of getting the FCC to do something about their complaints isn't clear. That didn't stop them from complaining about Zevo3, a Nickelodeon cartoon made to promote Sketchers shoes.
    • A very sneaky aversion of the "program-length commercial" rule happened when Nickelodeon dropped Rugrats temporarily as a promotional stunt for The Rugrats Movie: during the final airing before the hiatus, an ad for a toy based on The Rugrats Movie played during one of the ad breaks.
  • Sweden has strict advertising laws; among other things, banning advertising directly to children, and for a while, only allowing commercial breaks between programs, and not during them. However, this only really affected the lone commercial OTA network at the time, TV4; most pay TV channels actually broadcast out of neighboring countries with looser laws, such as Denmark, Norway, and the United Kingdom with feeds meant to serve the entire Nordic region by using a different audio track for each country — a loophole in its own right.
    • TV4 attempted to loop around the "you can only air ads between programs" rule by splintering shows to air an interstitial "Inför" program for another TV4 show in the middle of it, and airing commercials between these two "programs". The government saw through TV4's ruse, ruling that these Inför shows were not real programs. Until the advertising laws were finally loosened in 2002, TV4 would use alternative interstitials, including a profile of the current name day, and a celebrity book club.
    • A similar form of loophole is used by NPO, the public broadcaster in the Netherlands (or well, collective of public broadcasters, because every program is presented by a specific broadcaster catering to a specific niche or demographic group. Even advertising and continuity is considered to be the exclusive realm of a member named Ster). Advertising is prohibited in the middle of a program, so when it airs longer events such as football, it technically considers the first half, half-time show, and second half to be separate programs.
  • When regional TV stations in Australia decided to stop making local news programs to save money, the public outcry led to the government requiring that all commercial stations air a half-hour of local news each weekday. Southern Cross Ten gladly obliged, by airing mostly useless, five-minute news segments throughout the day. After they switched to Nine, they later sub-contracted Nine to produce hour-long broadcasts for its stations instead.
  • ITV had to designate one of its affiliates to assume liability for programs made by third-party production companies in case they get fined by Ofcom for violating rules (ITV, obviously, has to take responsibility for in-house productions, paying fines on behalf of all of the licensees it owns. Which is most of them). So which one did they pick? Channel Television, a small, then-independent franchise which serves the Channel Islands. Ofcom fines are calculated based on a percentage (up to 5%) of the broadcaster's advertising revenue; as Channel is the smallest ITV region, it's not hard to see why ITV did this. After Ofcom imposed stricter rules on policy compliance, this practice quickly ended. ITV has since acquired Channel as well.
  • Winnipeg radio station CFEQ, "FREQ 107", was established as a Christian station aimed towards a young audience. However, they attempted to pivot itself from a "pure" Christian contemporary format towards an alternative rock format that could attract more mainstream listeners and advertisers. This meant they needed to work around the CRTC license explicitly requiring that 95% of its weekly programming be "non-classic religious music". They proceeded to be Ambiguously Christian, digging up as much Not Christian Rock they could find to see if anyone would notice, branded themselves as "Winnipeg's New Rock Alternative", and held a promotional campaign involving billboards reading "What the F---" (which eventually filled in the FREQ letters). However, their loophole abuse backfired in both directions: they were having trouble getting mainstream advertisers because of the stigma of still technically being a Christian station, and they were not getting Christian advertisers because they were being too "liberal" for a Christian station. Based on this, they asked the CRTC to let them reduce their quota of explicitly religious music, but was denied. After being acquired by Golden West (making it a sister station to another Christian station in Winnipeg, CHVN), the station dropped their Not Christian Rock format and returned to their previous format as "Ignite 107". They later switched to a classical music format instead.

    Education 
  • Test Answers:
    • Physics professors love to ask "what force causes this interaction." They probably expect an answer like "friction" or "centrifugal force" but 9/10 of the time it is technically accurate to answer electromagnetism. There are actually only 4 forces in the known universe, two working on such small scales as to be negligible to the macromolecular world; thus every interaction in the world that you witness is either caused by gravity or the electromagnetism. The other 'forces' taught in physics are specific examples of electromagnetism (and/or gravity) behaving in a specific manner. It can be fun to answer electromagnetism to these questions and then prove your cause when the teacher tries to not give credit.
      • For even more fun, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force are all manifestations of the same interaction under all Grand Unified Theories, and this part of GUT, at least, is generally accepted to be correct. So you can answer 'the electronuclear force', and be correct about every possible interaction except gravity. (All of the versions of GUT are, however, still only competing theories, so if the teacher challenges your answer, it would be rather difficult to prove. And if you have managed to prove some version of GUT, you probably have better things to do with it than prank teachers. Such as collecting your Nobel Prize.)
    • In a philosophy final exam, the only question on the test was "Why?". While students scribbled furiously to answer the question, one student finished in seconds, handed in his paper, got a perfect score, and walked out. His answer? "Why not?"
      • Another variant has the philosophy teacher place a chair in the middle of the room and challenge the students to prove it doesn't exist. One student is said to have written "what chair?"
    • "Q: Define courage." "A: This." Though, abuse or not, it's a good definition.
    • The final (extra credit) question for the High School Biology exam was, "Can you define assimilation?" One student answered, "Yes" and got full credit.
    • Mathematics:
      • Anyone that has circled 'X' when teachers told you to find it. Mathematicians will surely applaud such an answer... This was actually done by an anonymous Brazilian student. It turned into an meme, but there's no way of knowing if this is from an actual test or just done as a joke.
      • A variation, though there is no recorded case of someone actually doing it, joke or not: You can technically answer all your homework or test questions by something like "2 x 2 =/= 1001". After all, "solve" simply means "make this equation valid".
      • In one course, the students were advised that for their exam, their cheat sheet could be only one side of a page. One student glued his page's ends together, creating a Möbius strip - a strip with only one side - and covering it with notes. Surely, if any class will let you get away with that, it's math.
      • One word problem gave the situation that they were putting up a tile pattern with two different lengths (one a perfect square, one a rectangle) and given their formula, how many tiles would they need to order. Naturally, one kid rounded up to the nearest five, got it marked wrong, and after talking with the teacher, got the points back. The reason? The question wasn't asking how many of each tile were on the pattern, just asking how many you would need - because in reality, you would know that you either got tiles in prepackaged amounts or would intentionally go a little over what you need in the event you need to replace them, a tile falls and breaks, or you underestimated how many you need for the job.
      • Another variant happens with the classic "Perimeter/Area" problem wherein a student is asked how many feet/meters of fencing they need, and they put down more than needed to keep in reserve for future repairs. Some teachers subvert this by either asking specifically how many units of fencing are needed for that particular area or asking them not to include any spares to keep in reserve. (Or, even asking them how many they would keep in reserve and then asking how much it would cost overall)
      • One also happened with the "money rule". The "Money Rule" in rounding is that you don't round down, you always round up. One smart-aleck added onto the rule saying "If it's money you have, then you round down, but if it's money you owe you round up." The teacher gave them points for creativity and reality.
    • Note: Trying these tricks in real life will more likely get you a failing grade from an unamused teacher.
  • A similar idea was that cheating was allowed in Soviet schools. What wasn't allowed was getting caught doing it. If you were clever enough to cheat without your professors catching you, you deserved the credit you got (this was harder than it sounds, because the professors were more on the lookout for cheaters and had seen every trick in the book—and had probably used most of them during their own time as students).
  • At one point, the election rules for the Cambridge Union stated that candidates were allowed to put up one poster in the Union lobby but it had to be a certain size and it had to be "monochrome." One law student complied by putting up a poster of the statutory size...on fluorescent yellow paper. (He got away with it, as a poster that has one color is technically "monochrome." They changed the rules for subsequent elections.)
  • When Vivian Stanshall of The Bonzo Dog Band was at school, he repeatedly got in trouble for breaking the rule about wearing a tie. He was expelled after turning up in a tie but no shirt.
  • Lord Byron, famed English poet, was forced to send his dog home during college, as Trinity forbade keeping one. Byron's response was to scour the rules and find that there was no specific prohibition against keeping a bear. Obviously, he got one. When asked what he would do with it, he responded that it could sit for a fellowship.
    • More specifically, the rule was against domesticated pets. The bear was wild.
    • Later on in the 20th century, when fellows were allowed to get married and have families, there was an attempt to invite the wives of fellows for a coffee morning to allow them to get to know one another so they wouldn't be lonely. However, few wives could come as babies were apparently banned from the college. The Fellow organizing the drinks then said that babies and children could be deemed to be cats for the coffee morning.
  • One year in the mid-seventies, the University of Regina's Anarchist Party ran a frozen turkey as their candidate for president of the student council. And won. (Student government for that year consisted of weekly general meetings open to all students and motions decided by majority vote, over which the turkey presided.) At the end of the year, the Anarchists cooked and ate their president. Possibly U of R's charter was amended to prevent this recurring.
  • Broadcaster Keith Olbermann "barely graduated" from Cornell after realizing that he needed to take 28 credits in his last semester. The university authorities assumed there was a rule against this - there wasn't, but he was the first person mad enough to try it (for the uninitiated, that's about 9 or 10 classes).
    (about waiting to hear if he graduated) Did you know you can sweat from your eyelids?
  • A British schoolboy was annoyed when he found out that boys weren't allowed to wear shorts in hot weather, so he looked up the uniform rules, and found there was no rule against boys wearing skirts.
    • Likewise, Swedish train drivers were forbidden from wearing shorts to work, in trains without air-conditioning in the summer. So they wore skirts instead, which was approved.
  • After 9/11, France made some laws against headscarves in schools, to enforce their strict separation of state and religion. Muslim women note  are supposed to cover their hair all the time. One very pious Muslim girl was told to get rid of her headscarf, or get kicked out. So she shaved her head so she would have no hair to cover up in the first place.
  • Math textbooks. Some of them have the answers in the back so that people can check their answers and see if they got it right. To prevent people from just copying the answers down, they only include answers for every other problem. Conveniently, to prevent cheating, guess which problems are always the ones on the test and assigned for homework?
    • Though some classes, particularly in the higher grades, assign the ones that have the answers in the back so they can check them. That being said, most books only have the answers, not the work, and many teachers require work to be shown and will often assume you just copied the answer if that's all you have. Some schools and teachers go as far as to even omit assigned work as part of the grading procedure, leaving your grades completely dependent on test scores. (Of course, that means a Brilliant, but Lazy person doesn't really have any reason to do any of the assigned work if they can score well enough on the test...)
    • And for the people making the textbooks, there isn't any rule stating how long the edition has to be relevant or a minimum of how much stuff should be changed for each edition. Thus it's common for a new edition of a textbook to change one diagram or one source, while they pocket all the money from students who can't resell the books to the university. (This is why in every college town you see third party stores.)
  • The "Circle Game" can be traced back to 1929. Where the people try to trick you into looking at your fingers making a circle below your waist, and if you see it, then they get to hit you. Originally, this was done in colleges to get past their anti-hazing rules.
  • A list of rules in a college was once prefaced with the statement: This list of prohibited actions is not exclusive, students should not assume that if something is not on this list it is permitted.
  • There's a story about a Cambridge student who noticed that because an old rule had never been repealed, the university was obligated to provide him "cakes and ale" to sit an exam. They actually obliged (he was given a hamburger and a soft drink) but then imposed a fine on him for not wearing his sword to the exam.
  • Lynne Rifkin Shine, a Mental health counselor from New York, points out that while she wasn't surprised that action was taken on a student's tweet that got him in trouble with the West Seneca East school system, she asked what counts as disturbance when it comes to social media since that's off-school grounds and such cause isn't listed.
  • A secularist society made headlines note  by displaying a pineapple and naming it Mohammed, apparently in the interests of discussing blasphemy and free speech during fresher's fayre. After complaints from some students that identified as Muslim, they were asked to remove the pineapple as the students were offended by its name. The society responded by renaming the pineapple "Jesus", though the Student Union were unamused and kicked them out, banning them from affiliation in 2013note .
  • Students in the 2005 class of Peter Fröhlich at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore figured out how to have everyone get an A in the final: don't go to the final. Because of the way the test was scored note , if no one showed up, everyone would have had the same grade (zero) and therefore gotten an A. The students did camp out in front of the classroom in case anyone broke the embargo, but as it turned out, no one did. The rules were changed to prevent this from happening again.
  • Allegedly, this student who, upon hearing a "3x5" card would be allowed for the upcoming exam, showed up with a 3x5 card...measured in feet. Since the syllabus never specified inches, the professor apparently let this go (just this once, after which the syllabus was updated) partially because it was technically correct and partially for the sheer ridiculousness of it.
  • In Ancient Greece, Plato defined Man as an "animal with two feet and no feathers", and was applauded. When Diogenes heard of this, he showed at Plato's academia and held a chicken with all feathers plucked out, while he shouted: "Behold Plato's Man!" After that, Plato added "with broad, flat nails" to his definition.
  • This is how the skirt over slacks trend got started in schools. Most school dress codes require skirts to be at a certain length to prevent underwear flashing, so someone wearing bike shorts, tights, or leggings underneath could get away with wearing skirts of whatever length because the skirt combined with whatever’s being worn underneath it would be counted as the whole bottom part of the outfit.

    Military & Warfare 
  • While at West Point, Dwight Eisenhower and a friend were ordered to report to the commandant in dress tunics. Realizing that the order only specified tunics, the two decided it would be funny to follow it to the letter and show up pantsless. They were promptly sent back to get fully dressed.
  • Spartan boys were purposely underfed and kept hungry, and could expect vicious beatings if they were ever caught stealing food. The correct solution was not to tough out the pain and weakness of constant starvation, but to develop the skill and cunning to steal food without getting caught.
  • The Norwegians pulled it in February 1814. According to the treaty of Kiel, Norway had to be handed over to Sweden after an international agreement set by Russia, Sweden and The United Kingdom. Denmark complied to it after some use of force. When the Danish prince regent in Norway wanted to make himself king, as frontsman of a Norwegian independence movement, he clearly tried to pull one himself. Being quite clever, the Norwegians reminded him that he had forfeited any claims to the throne of Norway, and had to be elected. The result came in form of the Norwegian Constituent Assembly. This was a loophole made possible by The French Revolution, and that was about to change the view of international law. Even the military had to comply - and the Swedes accepted it with a grumble.
  • Finland pulled this on Germany late in World War II. The Northern country was on the Axis side without a formal alliance, saw the writing on the wall, but needed aid from Germany to get out of the war without being steamrolled. The Soviets had launched a huge offensive and the Finns did not have enough weapons and ammo to fight. Germany was distrustful to give Finns their weapons, for obvious reasons. So President Ryti said "As long as I am in charge, Finland won't make peace with the Soviets". The Finns stopped the Soviet advance; then Ryti resigned, Mannerheim was elected and commented "Personal vows of my predecessor do not bind me". Technically, this is true, as long as it was simply a personal vow. Generally on the international system, nations don't act on personal vows.
    • Earlier in the war Finland was sorely in need of additional weaponry. Sweden had the weapons to spare and the will to help, but at the same time they wanted to remain officially outside the conflict for their own safety. As per international conventions regarding this sort of thing, supplying military hardware would make them Finland's ally in war and open Sweden up for Soviet offensive, but selling weapons was a different matter. However, nowhere did it state any limitations for the price one way or another. Thus, Sweden sold weapons to Finland for the price of exactly one Finnish markka. Sweden's government was also apparently worried that the things they were up to to help Finland would be regarded as against them being neutral (Sweden was not exactly subtle about which side their sympathies were on) — so they called themselves non-belligerent instead.
  • The clever Germans abused numerous loopholes during the interwar period to build up their armed forced before completely repudiating the Treaty of Versailles. (Some of these methods however were actual violations of the Treaty, just difficult to prove.) Notably, this pattern of loophole abuse and outright cheating began before the Nazis took power. Even the (relatively) democratic Weimar Republic looked to subvert the treaty in any way they could get away with:
    • Developing rocket artillery to replace banned gun artillery, and calling them "Smoke Screen Throwers".note 
    • Developing powerful, long range, fast "pocket battleships" of the Deutschland class, that could outrun regular battleships while decisively outgunning the cruisers that could catch them.note 
    • One helped by Technology Marches On - the Versailles treaty stipulated that the largest battleships Germany was allowed to build had to be no bigger than 10,000 tons, which, under 1919 conditions, would have meant a slow coastal defense vessel. Eventually though, it became possible to build large ships by welding steel-plates together instead of using rivets, thus saving weight on the hull and enabling them to install a larger engine. Thus, Germany created "pocket battleships", which were essentially small battlecruisers. Another trick was to calculate the tonnage before fitting those ships with things like armor plating, gun turrets, fuel, and ammunition, a loophole their Italian allies also used.
    • Shortening the service obligation of soldiers in the army so that, while the army remained small on paper, it was building an unofficial reserve of trained men it could quickly call up in case another war broke out.note 
    • Developing new weapons systems by subsidiaries in neighboring countries, such as the Soviet Union.
    • Developing new tanks as "tractors", ostensibly meant to pull light artillery pieces and the like.
    • Organizing a "voluntary labor corps" (Freiwilliger Arbeitsdienst) during the Depression ostensibly to give the jobless something to do, which in some places was soon actually used to drill them and get them used to military-style subordination. After the Nazis came to power, the Arbeitsdienst became less and less voluntary. When Nazi Germany reintroduced universal conscription in 1935, it became a compulsory labor service (Reichsarbeitsdienst) in which young men had to serve for six months before being called up to the actual military.
    • Developing several models of high-speed advanced civilian air transport planes, that, strangely, only had space for 4-6 people, and looked exactly like tactical bombers, and post dispatch planes that looked surprisingly like fighters. There is a reason the pre-war Lufthansa (technically not the same company as the current airline of that name, but Lufthansa plays fast and lose with claiming and disavowing said legacy whichever way it suits them) was among the fastest growing and best regarded airlines in the world.
      • An air force was banned by the treaty, but training thousands of pilots in a gigantic aerial mail carrier system was not. The Nazis also developed a rather great fondness for gliding and introduced as many young men as they could to that sport...
    • Perhaps the most audacious: reconstituting its General Staff (abolished by order of the treaty) in the guise of a human resources office.note 
    General Hans von Seeckt: The names change, the spirit remains the same.
    • One reason the rest of Europe allowed this loophole abuse was, even though German militarization was considered a threat, the huge losses of the previous war made everyone squeamish and desperate to avoid it. And as long as Germany wasn't attacking...
  • Finland abused the loopholes on the Paris Peace Treaty 1947 in a similar way.
    • The size of the armed forces was limited to 34,000 men. Conscription tour of duty had so far been thirteen months. Finland shortened the conscription tour of duty to eight months, so more men could be trained to soldiers for reserves in shorter time without the quality of the soldiers suffering or exceeding the limit.
    • Peace treaty prohibited paramilitary organizations, like the National Guard. Finland replied by relaxing her laws on hunting clubs and owning hunting rifles and shotguns.
    • The treaty limited the air force strength to 60 frontline combat aircraft. Two-seater trainer versions were not counted towards this limit - did anyone ever wonder why Finland had so many advanced fighter trainers?
    • The treaty prohibited bomber airplanes with internal bomb bays. It did not prohibit fighter-bombers, nor cargo planes where a door in the bottom could be easily installed and have things dropped out from it.
    • The treaty prohibited having motor torpedo boats. Finland developed the vessel class "motor gun boat" which looked exactly like a motor torpedo boat, except it had a large gun on the foredeck and had no torpedo tubes. The torpedo tubes could be installed on one hour's warning time. Though in the long run, this abuse was redundant, given that motor torpedo boats have been largely rendered obsolete by missile boats.
    • The treaty prohibited having large minelayers. All passenger cargo ships and RO-RO vessels built in Finland had (and have still) attachment points for mine rails - they could be converted into minelayers within hours.
    • Åland Archipelago was to be demilitarized. Nobody asked why Finland quickly developed Airborne Rangers and Coastal Rangers for long-range operations, such as occupying the aforementioned archipelago within an hour.
  • The US military has loopholes for its loopholes.
    • The rules say you cannot be sent out on one more than one deployment a year? No problem, we'll deploy you on January 1st, bring you back home on December 31st, and ship you right back out again on January 1st. Hey, we didn't send you on more than one deployment a year.
    • The military needs you, but your enlistment is up? Well, say hello to a policy called "Stop-Loss!" Basically it means that your enlistment can be extended for as long as the military needs you, plus six months.
    • A bane of every carrer servicemember in the US Miltiary is the "Needs of the Service". Sure, you can make all the plans you want - but if the military needs you to be sent on a tour of duty to a horrible duty station, that's where you will go.
    • You joined the National Guard because it's only one weekend a month and two weeks a year, which means you don't have to worry about those long deployments. Well, guess what? Your entire National Guard unit has just been placed on Extended Active Duty, and all the rules that apply to the active-duty personnel now apply to you as well.note 
    • The size of the US Navy fleet is limited by an Act of Congress. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover got around this by having the DSV NR-1 (a research and salvage vessel, as well as a pet project of his) built and launched but never officially named or commissioned.
  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty bans all but 5 countries from having nuclear weapons,note  whilst allowing countries to have nuclear power for peaceful purposes. However, it is perfectly acceptable to extract weapons grade plutonium from nuclear fuel and storing it for "reactors" that your country doesn't have yet. And to have the knowledge to build a bomb, and the missiles/planes to deliver them. As such, many "nuclear-free" nations have the ability to build a nuclear weapon on short notice without violating the treaty. Given the fact that there are many legitimate non-military applications of some of the technologies used in nuclear weapons production - neutron sources can be used to "breed" Uranium-238 (an entirely unregulated material commonly available to states) into plutonium-239 (the weapons thing) but have numerous applications in basic and applied sciences - some of which were discovered when the U.S. started a military neutron source program with "civilian" codenames and ostensible purposes - only for the legitimate science becoming more important than the military applications as time went on. In fact, of the ten states known to have ever possessed nuclear weapons note  none is known to have derived the fuel for the first bomb from reactors intended for electricity generation - although North Korea comes closest, having possibly derived part of the material from a "Magnox" type reactor at Yongbyon, a decades outdated British design whose plans were declassified because who would be dumb enough to use it?, which was presented by North Korea as a "civilian" research and power generation reactor. The fact that it can be used for producing weapon's grade plutonium was a design demand back in the 1950s in Britain and led to some downsides in terms of power production that were remedied with its successor, the "Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor" (AGR) at the "cost" of it being worse at Plutonium production. The fact that North Korea went with the Magnox instead of the AGR is telling in and of itself
  • Ain't no rule that says a penguin can't be Colonel-In-Chief of the Norwegian King's Guards and receive a knighthood.
  • Ain't no rule a bear can't enlist in the Polish Army. (NSFW version)
  • Ain't no rule that says a dog can't be enlisted in the Royal Navy.
  • Ain't no rule against a goat being a British soldier. To the Royal Welch Fusiliers, their goat is not a regimental mascot, he is a fully-enlisted Lance Corporal of the Regiment with his own pay-book, service number, and ration of two cigarettes a day (which he eats). He was even once demoted for bad behavior.
  • Ain't no rule that a cartoon character can't serve in the Marines (as Bugs Bunny did during World War II).
  • There wasn't a rule for a lot of things in the US Army, until Skippy came along. And some where he was quite surprised to find there was a rule.
  • After the devastating casualties suffered from the use of poison gas in World War I, a treaty was signed banning the use of chemical weapons, the deadliest weapons of the day. However, this treaty failed to keep up with technology, and after protests against bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was noted that there ain't no rule against using nuclear weapons.
    • In fact, despite the obvious repercussions that launching a nuclear weapon would entail, there is no source of law, customary or treaty, that explicitly prohibits doing so. Of course that does not preclude individual nations from doing so and Germany (of course) has plugged this loophole via §307 of the federal criminal code explicitly making causing an explosion through nuclear means illegal - how you could ever possibly commit that crime but no other crime (e.g. stealing nuclear material, using material you are not allowed to use, killing people with your bomb, destroying porperty etc.) is of course Fridge Logic for yourself to ponder, but the German law code operates on the basis of "better safe than sorry".
    • The US had, at one time, never actually signed a treaty banning production and use of chemical weapons (including that section of the Geneva Conventions). It wouldn't have been a treaty violation even if it had been chemical weapons being used.note 
    • Whether or not lachrymator agents ("tear gas"note ) count as "chemical weapons" is a discussion best had elsewhere, but it is utterly immaterial for its use in riot control as the Geneva Convetions only apply in international warfare and do not apply in domestic unrest or riot control. That would be the domain of national or state legislation, but oddly enough the Powers That Be never seem to get around to outlawing the use of such methods on their (restive) populace...
  • In a campaign in Northern Africa during World War II, the Germans were upset to find a particular branch of Salt the Earth strategy: every oasis they came to had a sign in English stating that the oasis had been poisoned by the British army. When they complained that poisoning water constitutes a war crime, the British pointed out that there was absolutely nothing forbidding putting up false signs.
  • In World War I preexisting treaties banned the use of poison gas shells, but did not ban the deployment from canisters, which had not been considered at the time of writing. The later blanket bans closed this loophole.
  • The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 was negotiated in the wake of World War I by the remaining major naval powers (Britain, the United States, Japan, France and Italy) to prevent another naval Arms Race like the one preceding the war (and believed by many to have contributed to it). There was considerable fear that the renewal of the arms race might lead to another war, and even more fear that it might bankrupt the nations in question since building ever more powerful warships was a ruinously expensive prospect.note  It was extended with a few changes by the London Naval Treaty of 1930, which closed some of the loopholes that had already been discovered. With few exceptions, it entirely prohibited battleship and battlecruiser construction for 10 years, and carefully prevented aircraft carriers (which had yet to be developed into truly viable combatants) from being constructed as battleships in all but name. As a result, cruisers became the primary focus of the world's major navies. Much effort was put into avoiding loopholes, but a significant one was overlooked by the negotiators (but not by the naval designers): while both heavy cruisers (defined as being armed with 8-inch guns or smaller) and light cruisers (armed with 6.1-inch or smaller guns) were limited in size, only heavy cruisers were limited in number, and the size limit was the same for both types. As a result, the three largest navies (American, British and Japanese) all decided that, once they reached their limits on heavy cruisers, they would built very large "light" cruisers, using essentially (or in Japan's case, entirely) identical hulls to the heavy cruisers, that would make up for their smaller guns by carrying a lot more of them. While heavy cruisers of the era were armed with an average of 9 8-inch guns (and before this innovation, light cruisers were being built with either 6, 8 or 9 6-inch guns), the US and Japanese "light" cruisers were armed with 15 6-inch or 6.1-inch guns. The British "light" cruisers were originally going to carry 16 6-inch guns, but were cut to 12 guns late in the design process to save money.
    • Japan even took it a step further, building several 8-inch guns and turrets as spare parts for their heavy cruisers. When Japan withdrew from the treaty shortly before World War II, the 6.1-inch turrets were removed and replaced with the 8-inch ones, thus having 4 new heavy cruisers with 10 8-inch guns.
    • The Treaty also encouraged loophole abuse of a different sort, with the US at least. The US had few aircraft carriers at the time of the treaty, and the limit on them was rather high. The limit was unofficially increased, since the US could pass off at least a few of these carriers as "experimental" vessels, on which there was no limit. As a result, the US began spamming carriers—a development only encouraged when (after the end of the treaty) many of the Navy's Pacific Fleet battleships were destroyed at Pearl Harbor. And that, indirectly, is why the United States has as many aircraft carriers as the rest of the world combined. Japan attempted to exploit this loophole with the tiny 8,000 ton carrier Ryuujou, but that particular loophole was closed by the London Naval Treaty while Ryuujou was still under construction.
      • By the 1937 negation of the treaty, the US had four fleet carriers (USS Lexington, Saratoga, Yorktown and Enterprise), two light carriers (USS Ranger, a one-off design, and USS Wasp, a cut-down version of the Yorktown class designed to use up treaty tonnage), and one experimental carrier (USS Langley, which was useless as an aircraft carrier by the late 30s because her deck was too smallnote  - a continuing theme into the mid-50s that was only truly solved by the launch of the supercarrier USS Forrestal). Once the treaty was negated, the US immediately laid down a third Yorktown class carrier (USS Hornet) and began building the next class of carriers beginning with USS Essex. The US had more carriers on the way by Pearl Harbor than Japan built during the entire war.
      • Another scheme by Japan was building ocean liners that could easily be converted into aircraft carriers if there was every a need perceived to do so. Since carriers were in their infancy when the treaty was written, nobody thought of the possibility of building ships that could easily be converted.
      • British fleet aircraft carriers had lots of heavy armor, which would have meant that Britain would either have to build significantly less capable or fewer carriers than Japan of the United States. The British came up with a clever "work-around" for the problem. They would skimp on air group size and reduce aircraft repair facilities and build a series of "aircraft carrier tenders" to repair damaged planes and provide three or so fleet carriers with spares. However by the time they got to building any, it was clear the treaty was useless so they decided the make the first of these, HMS Unicorn, be able to function as a light carrier in a pinch.
    • And that's not even getting into the exploitation of loopholes that didn't actually exist. Italy was in the habit of launching their cruisers for sea trials without any weapons installed, meaning that their ships weighed in at just inside the 10,000 limit... until they were actually combat-worthy, at which point their weight far exceeded the allowed number. Japan preferred not to fool with such trickery, and instead just lied about the ships' weight.
      • The Italians and Japanese weren't fooling anyone because, once you know the length, beam, and draught of a ship, it's fairly easy to estimate the actual displacement if you know the displacement of a ship with a similar hull form. Almost all treaty cruisers were capable of at least 30-knots and, if not derived from, were at least inspired by the WWI-era British Hawkins class. The British Hawkins-class was specifically designed to chase down and overpower light cruisers and destroyers that could escape from battlecruisers. A Hawkins-class cruiser was designed so that it could lose 4 boilers and two turbines to battle damage and still be faster than a WWI-era battlecruiser. While the amount of armor the cruisers had was not publicized to other nations, giving some wiggle room, when for example the Mogami brought into service and Japan insisted she came in well below the Treaty limit at 8,500 tonsnote , this was considered outright laughable by the other naval powers. The British Director of Naval Construction responded to reports of the Mogami by saying "they must be building their ships out of cardboard or lying." But knowing is one thing, proving is something else.note  And by 1936, Japan renounced the Washington and London Treaties, and thus no longer even needed to make a pretense of obeying treaty limits...but in practice the desperate need for more destroyers and Japan's much smaller industrial capacity than its rivals meant that they couldn't take much advantage of this.
      • As a rule, everyone cheated the weight of their treaty-limited ships. The most common method of cheating was to pretend that a just-launched hull was seaworthy and weigh that (which meant that completed vessels were typically at least 20% over their treaty tonnage), even though standard displacement was supposed to be a ship that's fully complete and combat equipped, minus the weight of fuel and boiler water.note  The US' "23,000 ton" Yorktown class carriers, for example, never weighed less than 27,000 tons in service and by the end of the war USS Enterprise (yes, the namesake of that USS Enterprise) typically weighed in at more than 10,000 tons heavier than her design weight. This wasn't technically a violation of the individual weight limit (27,000 CVs were allowed, and the treaty limits expired upon the outbreak of WWII) but it was a violation of the collective weight limit; the US Navy's total carrier force was limited to a combined 135,000 tons and the 8,000 tons "saved" by lying about the weight of Yorktown and Enterprise meant the US had a leftover 15,000 tons (instead of an inherently unusable 3,000 tons) available to built a 7th carrier, USS Wasp.note  The Japanese Mogami class heavy cruisers may have won the prize for "most egregious treaty violation" (within a year, many were 60% larger than claimed and almost 40% larger than allowed) but they were not without competition.
      • One major loophole that the US exploited with their aircraft carriers in particular was that an extra 3,000 tons could be added in refits to improve ships' torpedo and/or anti-aircraft protection. This was intended to be used for refits of already-completed ships, all of which were at least somewhat below the treaty size limits. It absolutely did not apply to new-construction ships, because this would've meant everybody could build 38,000 ton battleships and 30,000 aircraft carriers. This was first used in the Lexington-class carriers, which were technically not "new construction" but as conversions of half-built pre-treaty battlecruisers were not mere modernizations of older ships either. The Washington Treaty allowed each nation to convert a pair of incomplete battleships or battlecruisers that had been canceled by the treaty into aircraft carriers, with a 33,000 ton limit instead of the usual 27,000. Since Lexington and Saratoga if completed as battlecruisers would've been over 44,000 tons each, bringing them down to 33,000 was a significant design challenge. Since they were being built on very large hulls, these would be inherently heavy ships. Even after reducing the armor they would be too heavy, and there was even talk of removing half of the engines to bring it down. This was flatly rejected by the Navy as it would mean the 33,000 ton carriers would be inferior to a built-from-scratch 27,000 carrier, negating the entire point of the conversion. Instead the US Navy creatively reinterpreted what constituted a "refit" under the Treaty and deemed the very act of converting the ships from battlecruisers to aircraft carriers qualified. Thus the 2 carriers came in at a standard displacement of 36,000 each. Even after the expiration of the Washington Treaty, every official publication mentioning the Lexingtons' tonnage listed them as 33,000 tons, with a prominent disclaimer that this did not include the 3,000 ton weight allowance for anti-submarine or anti-aircraft upgrades.
      • While the British (unlike most naval powers) never outright cheated on treaty limits, they weren't averse to exploiting loopholes. The Nelson class battleships, the first capital ships to be built under the Washington Naval Treaty.note  The Nelsons actually came in under the 35,000 ton limit despite being the best-armed and best-protected warships in the world at the time, in part due a rather ingenious design, in part because of design compromises that left them will little room for future upgrades and in part due to some serious loophole abuse regarding their torpedo protection. A common feature of torpedo defense systems in that era was alternating air-filled and liquid-filled chambers in torpedo bulges, with the liquid usually being simply water. Whereas such bulges were usually externally mounted on older ships (since the need for such protection hadn't been understood until after they were built), Nelson and Rodney had fully internal "bulges". This meant it was technically possible to pump the water out of the torpedo bulges and use it for the ships' boilers (although there'd rarely if ever be any reason to do so), and thus the British declared that torpedo bulges were storage for boiler water and that water (around 4000 tons' worth) didn't count toward standard displacement.
      • Like every naval power, Britain found it very difficult to build a balanced heavy cruiser design on the 10,000 ton limit. The County class cruisers were therefore built to a fairly radical design in which almost all armor was dispensed with. The 4-inch steel boxes around the 8-inch gun magazines were the only meaningful protection, with the belt and turret armor being only 1 inch thick and the engines protected only by a 1.5 inch armored deck. This left them around 200-250 tons below the weight limit but also extremely vulnerable to even destroyers' guns. A decade later, with World War II looming and escalator clauses of the 2nd London Naval Treaty coming into effect, the 5 ships of the Kent subclass (plus the near-identical HMAS Australia of the Royal Australian Navy) were refitted with a 4.5-inch armored belt, turning them into much more effective warships. HMS London was refitted with a 3.5-inch belt (albeit one that covered a larger area of the hull), and the remaining 3 ships of the London subclass along with the 2 of the Norfolk subclass had been slated for the same refit (which resulted in each ship having a standard displacement of about 11,000 tons, 10% above the old treaty limits) when the outbreak of war meant the ships were needed immediately, regardless of whether their armor was deficient. The new belt armor proved quite easily to install on the 7 ships that received it and caused no reduction in seaworthiness...almost as if they'd been designed from the start to receive such an upgrade once the treaty limits were no longer applicable.
      • While one of the basic tenants of the treaty limited the construction of capital ships, nobody said you couldn't significantly modernize your existing ships to point they were basically new. Japan and Italy basically turned some of their old battleships and battlecruisers in to modern fast battleships by completely rebuilding them.
      • When the London Naval Treaty of 1930 required the disposal of additional old captial ships, it allowed each nation to demilitarize one of them for use as a training ship, and just like ships sold for scrap or destroyed as targets it would no longer count toward their tonnage total. Some of the guns and engine would have to be removed, with the rest allowed to be retained for cadets to train on, but all of the belt armor (necessary for such a ship to be combat-capable and completely irrelevant to training) had to be removed. The intention was that these ships would be permanently rendered useless for combat, and that's how it worked out with USS Wyoming and HMS Iron Dukenote  Japan on the other hand chose the battlecruiser Hiei for this role and similarly removed weapons, engines and armor. The difference was that all of the removed equipment was carefully stored in a warehouse instead of being scrapped, making sure that Hiei could be easily restored to full combat capacity and modernized along the same lines as her three sister ships. Which is exactly what Japan did in 1936 upon withdrawing from the treaties.
    • The treaty limited the maximum tonnage and total tonnage of cruisers but not submarines. Enter Surcouf, the French submarine cruiser. Surcouf had, in addition to the expected torpedo loadout, enhanced range and provisions, a sizable general cargo bay, a hanger for two spotting aircraft, and a turret with two eight inch guns. The idea was that multiple submarines of this type could fulfill the role of a cruiser (including in peace time) in addition to normal submarine roles. The other powers would have none of it, and limited the size of deck guns on submarines during the London naval treaty after the one was built. Though before this Obvious Rule Patch, other nations also drew up designs for submarine cruisers, some of them even bigger and better armed than Surcouf.
  • One exercise used in the Canadian Forces Officer Training Course from time to time setting up a rope bridge across a river consisting of a single rope to walk on and another to hold on to. As can be imagined, getting across such a structure is difficult. In one case, the officer in charge of evaluating the officer-cadets was a jerk who insisted the entire group get across even though the ropes were stretching until it was nearly impossible. If someone slipped (but was held up by their safety carabiner), they were to be hauled back by their safety line and forced to try again. One cadet who slipped halfway across, before he could be hauled back, pulled his legs up over the top rope and pulled himself across the rest of the way. Realizing they were only told to get across the rope bridge, not that they had to walk across it, the remaining cadets were very quickly dragged across as they hung from the upper rope.
  • No rule says a woman can't be a yeoman.
  • The Montreux Convention prohibits the passage of "Aircraft carriers" through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits. The Soviet Union, being the Soviet Union, responded by making Kiev-class "aviation cruisers", which are Missile Cruisers which just so happened to also carry aircraft.
    • The wording in the Montreux Convention prohibits the passage of all non-capital ships if the weight is greater than 15,000 tons (at full load but no fuel), most carriers are of greater weight. Kiev-class "aviation cruisers" due to the weapons load, armor and speed are capital ships. However, nations actually situated on the Black Sea (such as the Soviet Union, or now Russia, Georgia and Ukraine) are exempted from parts of the Montreux Convention (specifically, the tonnage restriction does not apply to them), as its primary purpose was to keep the militaries of the outside nations (particularly Italy under Mussolini's Fascist government, which clearly sought to expand itself in that direction) out of the Black Sea rather than keeping the ships of the Black Sea powers in.
    • And then they took the trope Up to Eleven with the Admiral Kuznetsov class, which is a full-sized aircraft carrier with an absurd amount of anti-shipping and anti-aircraft missiles, and point defense systems. This didn't turn out so well for them, however, as trying to be both a cruiser and an aircraft carrier means it's not very good at either role.
    • The Soviet Union also tried to engage in loophole abuse in the opposite direction, as one of the restrictions is that non-Black Sea nations cannot send warships with guns larger 203 mm (8 inches) in diameter through the straits. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union complained that Turkey was violating the Convention by allowing US Navy shipsnote  armed with 420 mm (16.6 inch) ASROC launchers pass through the straits. Turkey flatly rejected this attempt by pointing out that missiles are not guns, and the Montreux Convention has no provisions whatsoever that restrict the missile armament of ships passing through the straits.
  • Imperial Japan ran this as their primary legal argument before the League of Nations justifying their takeover of the ('Young Marshall') warlord Zhang Xueliang's fiefdom of Manchuria in 1931. Their resident international law expert (a Briton who disagreed with post-World War I norms of International Law) ran with the language in the League of Nations charter banning aggressive warfare in sovereign nations by pointing out that Manchuria had de facto been its own country, since the Guomindang government at Nanjing collected no taxes or recruits from and wrote and enforced no laws there. In short, ain't no rule against invading something that isn't a "country". The League overruled this as the pure nonsense that it was - regardless of their de facto status Zhang's lands were still part of the de jure country of of 'The Republic of China' headed by president Lin Sen and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek - and revoked Japan's membership.
  • While international regulations do determine what military vessels of certain specifications can and can't do, no laws is saying you have to use a certain designation when referring to them. The US Navy started running into issues when trying to get Congress to fund its fleet programs. They would always ax ideas to build cruisers because they were seen as expensive. The solution? Just call your cruiser designs destroyers because it sounds cheaper. Today, the United States has built "destroyers" that are longer than most battleships back in the day.
  • The concept of "lend lease" was this to allow the US to covertly assist the Allies without officially joining them. When this was instituted, at the time the various allied nations were pretty much bankrupt; they couldn't afford to pay for the material needed for their war effort from the US. But if the US had given them the supplies, this would mean they took sides and would no longer be neutral in the conflict. And laws passed by the isolationist majority that then controlled Congress meant that arms could only be sold for cash, not on credit. To get around this, the US implemented the Lend-Lease program, which was essentially "loaning" the supplies to the afflicted nations on the promise that they would be returned after the conflict was over. The key was that the US never specified that the items had to be returned as they were; "in-kind" returns were acceptable. But since the items still technically belonged to the US, just borrowed, this meant that the US wasn't legally allied with any of the nations.
    • A particularly egregious example was when the Savage Arms Company was contracted to manufacture British-standard No.4 Mk I* Lee-Enfield rifles... not by the British Army but by the US Army. The No.4 Mk I* Enfield was completely non-standard to the US Army (using different ammunition and sharing no parts at all with any US weapon), which did not want them and never issued one to American units. The entire contract existed solely to be "loaned" to Britain under Lend-Lease. But every rifle was prominently marked "U.S. PROPERTY" to maintain the legal fiction that they were US Army rifles merely being "borrowed" by the British Army.
  • The post-war Japanese constitution bans the country from maintaining a military. Ain't no rule saying they can't have a self-defense force, however; and even that has some loopholes of their own:
    • The specifics of the document are that they can't have a military capable of striking from outside their own borders, making the military they do have a defensive force by default, but exactly what is considered "Japan's own borders" is a somewhat fluid concept, since Japan has some disputed territory with other countries, such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands with Chinanote , and the Etorofu/Itorop and Kunashiri/Kunashir of the Kuril Islands with Russia.note 
    • Japan has also sent forces out of its territory as part of UN missions, which are considered non-offensive by default. That said, these forces generally have to be placed in the middle of some other country's forces, so that even if attacked, they can claim it was purely self-defense.
    • Japan is also forbidden (by way of their own laws) from having an aircraft carrier, because they consider them not to be merely defensive weapons. But there's nothing in there that says they can't have a helicopter carrier. Japan officially calls these ships "helicopter destroyers"note , and claims their use is purely for anti-submarine warfare. However, there's nothing in there that bans Japan from developing a VTOL aircraft of their own, which would officially be a land-based fighter that might have to stop on these carriers to refuel or rearm in an emergency... you get the idea.note 
  • Use of of fragmenting, explosive, or incendiary munitions in small arms is forbidden under the Saint Petersburg Declaration of 1868. Except it has several loopholes:
    • The declaration binds the signatories to not use said munitions against each other. Meaning it's perfectly legal to use the banned rounds against non-signatory countries (like San Marino, Iraq or the United States), rebels, terrorists, or, if they were feeling particularly tyrannical, against their own people. Also, any country not having signed it could use the banned munitions. And the signatories are just a small group of twenty countries. That, as noted above, does not include the United Statesnote  Thankfully, non-signatory countries tend to abide to it anyway, due the use of fragmenting, explosive, or incendiary munitions in small arms being unnecessary cruel and expensive, so only loopholes 2 and 3 have ever been used, and only in extenuating circumstances (the soldiers using said loopholes just not having time to swap magazines and use a permitted munition).
    • The declaration bans use of those munitions against personnel, meaning that the banned munitions may be used against vehicles, supplies, and other materiel, and accidentally hit enemy personnel (This is actually used by Norway to allow its snipers to use the explosive-incendiary Raufoss Mk211 round: they are instructed to use it against enemy materiel and not personnel... and in another case of abuse, equipment that an enemy soldier is wearing can be classified as such).
    • The munitions are banned for use in small arms. Use of fragmenting, explosive, or incendiary munitions in machine guns or small-caliber autocannons is perfectly legal.
    • The declaration specifies munitions with a weight smaller than 400 grams, meaning someone could just build a bigger BFG firing bigger munitions. Thankfully, exploitation of this loophole would just be silly (anti-materiel rounds weigh about 40 grams and the rifles firing them are enormous), preventing its abuse due simple physics.
  • And of course, these types of loopholes can be intentionally left open - though, in that case, it's more contingency planning than anything else, and it's not abusive if it's being used as intended.
  • Ogedai Khan, the son and successor of Genghis Khan, was once approached by one of his brothers out of concern that he was drinking too much, which says something because the Mongols had a well-known history of alcohol problems. Eventually Ogedai agreed with his brother's terms that he would only drink one cup in the morning — and proceeded to have an extremely large cup made for him. Not surprisingly, Ogedai's early death is thought to have largely been due to his alcoholism.
    • The Mongols also believed that shedding noble blood would bring curses upon them, so their preferred methods of execution for those of noble birth were carefully designed to avoid spilling any, and included things like drowning a former Empress regent who attempted a coup on Genghis' grandson Mongke at his coronation in a felt sack thrown into the river. Temujin himself was said to have dealt with his rival Jamuka by either having his men roll him up in a rug and beat him until he died, strangle him to death, or breaking Jamuka's spine over his knee. A popular public execution was forcing the victim to eat many handfuls of salt (which would dissolve their innards); they even had a backup method of reversing this (drinking ram fat, that would neutralize the salt). The Mongols had no problem, however, with spilling the blood of common soldiers. Their primary weapons were, after all, bows and arrows.
    • This was also attempted by one of Genghis' descendants, Batu Khan, used this as a way to delay the ascension of his direct rival and cousin, Guyuk Khan, since a Great Khan could only been officially declared at a kurultai, a gathering of the most important members of the Imperial family, and Batu came up with various excuses to avoid attending that dragged out the Succession Crisis for years until Guyuk's mother and the Empress Regent Toregene pulled enough strings to get her son elected anyway.
    • Genghis Khan himself used a very clever loophole to declare war on states that did not technically count as enemies and attacking whom outright would be a violation of peace treaties. Basically, every country in recorded history agrees that killing peaceful ambassadors is a war crime and allows a guilt-free declaration of war. What nobody expected the Mongols to do was to send in suicidal negotiators who would insult the accepting state, violate all possible manners and court etiquette and abuse the sacred hospitality rules (but formally commit no crime, just be jerks in every way they could be). With most monarchs of that time not exactly being known for their cool temper, the ambassador was usually killed where they stood... and only then would the foolishness of what they just did hit the host, having walked right into Khan's trap.
  • In what would become The Vietnam War, the US sent military advisors and older aircraft to Vietnam, training them in their use against Communist forces. The American interpretation of international law at the time was that to be legal, any aircraft engaged in combat had to have at least one crewmember be from the nation that the aircraft officially belonged to, even if the rest of the crew were American advisors. It was not unheard of for some local soldier to be parked in the back seat of the plane and told not to touch anything while an American "advisor" pilot flew the mission.
  • The constitution of the United States is pretty clear when it comes to the question who can and cannot declare war. However, it is rather silent on "police actions", "international coalition interventions" and similar things. The last time Congress actually declared war on anybody was in World War II. Since then, the gradual shift of the power to wage war has been so thorough that Barack Obama basically had to beg Congress to even discuss whether war would be the correct reaction with regards to Syria before he would send troops. Some Congresspeople even went so far as to say "Yes, we want war, but we don't want to vote on it". Ultimately, President Obama was never able to get Congress to vote on the issue, and instead was forced to rely on the post-9/11 authorization for use of force against the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, an authorization that includes no time limit and no geographic boundaries...and to rely on some loophole abuse of his own, by declaring that the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL or Daeshnote ) counts as Al-Qaeda for the authorization because it's an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, despite having split away from Al-Qaeda a decade earlier and waging a civil war with them at the same time that both groups continue to launch terrorist attacks against Western targets.
  • Costa Rica does not have a military, in fact its constitution (from 1949) explicitly forbids a military. However, there is nothing about a "Fuerza Publica" running around with military-grade weapons and even transport planes and helicopters. However, in a region full of military coups, Costa Rica has managed to never have had a violent change of government since 1949.
  • In the Belgian Congo, the enslaved natives had to meet a rubber collection quota, which was enforced by a Force Publique militia. Not meeting this was punishable with death or mutilation. To circumvent when the quotas were too high, the Force Publique would seek random natives to cut their hands and present them as proof of their job being done without killing the ones actually working with rubber (since slaves without hands wouldn't be able to harvest any more rubber). (The Force Publique also did mutilations for cover-ups: to prove the expensively imported bullets were spent shooting people instead of hunting, it was required for Force Publique soldiers to bring the hands of their victims, and at times the penis to prove they were not killing women, so every time someone went killing animals, a healthy person's limbs and\or genitals were cut.)
  • The 1907 Hague Convention on "The Laws and Customs of War on Land" (among other things) prohibited the bombardment by land forces of undefended civilian areas, which was intended to prohibit deliberate targeting via artillery of cities, unless that city was occupied by an enemy military force that was therefore a legitimate target. And when bombarding a defended city, the city's authorities must be notified before the attack so that civilians would have an opportunity to evacuate. In the same year, a separate Hague Convention on "Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War" was adopted, with similar restrictions. Like most of the Hague Conventions, these treaties were adopted by all the major powers of the era. Specifically, the treaties stated that it was forbidden to bombard undefended places, and commanders had to warn the inhabitants of defended places of a any incoming bombardment. The loophole in this case was the ill-defined word "undefended". Theoretically, just a small number of soldiers garrisoned in a city - or even things like factories that could be used in times of war - would be all that was necessary for an attacking army to consider it "defended", and thus a legitimate target. This wouldn't have mattered too much in 1907, but come 1914 and the subsequent rise of aerial warfare, and suddenly many nations are using bomber aircraft to bomb these so-called "defended" areas. Because of this loophole, civilians inevitably became collateral targets on a much, much, larger scale than previously.
    • Germany also argued that the Hague Conventions were completely inapplicable to bomber aircraft and Zeppelins, because they were bombarding cities from neither the land nor the sea. The fact that a separate convention on on "Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War" was claimed to prove that the prohibitions within "The Laws and Customs of War on Land" applied only to land-based artillery (if it applied universally, the naval convention would've been redundant), and thus no restrictions at all existed on what targets could be bombarded from the air.
  • Some believe that Canada entering WWII a week after the other Commonwealth and Empire nations is this. When the war began, the US remained neutral, with arms manufacturers prohibited from making sales to belligerent nations. According to some accounts, the Canadian government cleaned out the warehouses of every American arms maker during that week.
  • Early practitioners of Islam refused to fight against other fellow practitioners, even for military combat. Various Arabic warlords solved this by capturing slaves and training them to do the fighting instead - leading to the creation of the mameluke troops.
  • In 1941, when Adolf Hitler decided to declare war on Soviet Union (not doing so and going straight for attacking would be against every international law of the time), he did so with his signature sheer audacity (this was, after all, a man who forced France to sign their declaration of surrender at the exact same spot where Germany signed theirs in 1918). The note of formal declaration of war was handed to Soviet ambassador in Berlin, and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, at 3:30 AM sharp, and at 4:00 AM on the same day, the offensive has begun. The year being, well, 1941, instant messaging was the stuff of sci-fi (especially at early morning), basically allowing a surprise attack strictly within international law.
    • The Soviet Union reacted in kind: until recently, the declaration was not even mentioned publicly, and in official Soviet point of view (read: propaganda), the Germans just invaded without warning. When the time has come in 1945 to declare war on Japan, USSR did the exact same thing: Japanese ambassador had eight minutes to pass the news to Tokyo before combat started.

    Myth & Folklore 
  • There is a superstition that giving a knife as a gift is bad luck, because it might "sever the friendship". The superstition doesn't say anything about offering to sell the knife for literal pocket change.
  • There is an old story (with several variations) about a mathematician, a physicist, and an accountant competing for a job, and they were tasked with measuring the height of a house as precisely as possible to get it. The mathematician measured the house's shadow and calculated it that way, while the physicist dropped two steel orbs and timed the fall. The accountant looked up the blueprints instead, and got the job.
  • Another story tells of a student (not Niels Bohr) who was asked in a final examination to describe how to measure a skyscraper's height via barometer. His original answer: tie a string to the barometer, lower it from the top to the ground, measure the string, add the length of the barometer. The instructor objected, he counter-objected, and an arbiter was called in. The student proceeded to suggest:
    • Drop the barometer off the edge and determine the height by how long it took to fall.
    • Use the similar-triangle-shadow method everyone hates from Geometry.
    • Swing the barometer like a pendulum, and work it out from the gravitic force.
    • Mark off the building's height in barometer-lengths.
    • Knock on the janitor's door and offer him the barometer in exchange for telling the student the height of the building.
    • And finally, just for good measure, the "correct" answer: measure the difference in air pressure (which is how aircraft altimeters work). Unlike the more "creative" methods, this one actually requires a barometer, and will provide an answer in meters using only the barometer.
  • Another joke involves a mathematician being asked to enclose a flock of sheep using the least amount of fence. He builds a small fence around himself and declares, "I define the side I am on to be the outside."
  • A joke involving a particularly unpopular village head goes thus: One day, while he was walking around the village at night, a young man bumped into him, and claimed that he couldn't see him because it was too dark. The next day, the head passed a rule saying everyone walking on the streets at night must carry a lantern. That night, the same man bumped into him again, and showed the lantern to the annoyed village head and pointed out that there is no rule that the lantern should have a candle. The village head made an Obvious Rule Patch the next day, saying that the lantern must also have a candle. That night, the man bumped into him again, and this time the loophole was that the rule doesn't say the candle has to be lit. The embarrassed head canceled the rule on the following day. At no point in the joke does the village head consider carrying a candle himself.
  • An old joke involves somebody being granted three wishes, but their in-law / ex / similar person that they hate gets double whatever they wish for. They proceed to ask for relatively normal things for his first and second wish, then proceds to ask for his final one to either:
    • Have a glass eye;
    • Be blind in one eye;
    • To donate a kidney, or
    • To either laugh, be scared, or be beaten half to death.
There's further Loophole Abuse to be had when you realize that the person never specified that the glass eyes had to replace the real eyes, or that the blindness had to be permanent.
  • Another variant is the legend of a poor knight who is trying to present something to the king. To actually speak with the king, he has to promise X officials of the court 1/Xth of the reward the king gives the knight. When the king offers the knight a boon in return for the gift, the knight asks for X beatings.
  • A poor man inherits a barren, rocky land plot as his sole source of income. Hearing his laments, the Devil (or a lesser demon, a troll, or some other evil creature depending on the version) promises to make it fertile in exchange for half of the harvest - specifically the "half" that grows above the ground. The farmer agrees but plants potatoes, and the Devil is left with worthless leaves. The Devil protests, and they agree that next year he'll receive the half below the ground. The farmer plants wheat, and the Devil is left with the roots. The Devil protests again, and they agree that next year each will take as much of the harvest as they can collect from the ground, the farmer starting on one side of the plot and the Devil on the opposite. The farmer plants wheat again...and places iron bars on the Devil's side that are hidden by the fully-grown wheat. When harvest comes the Devil still gets a ridiculously small amount of the wheat, because even though he brings every other demon in Hell to help him cut the wheat their sickles and scythes just keep breaking by trying to cut the irons. The Devil decides that farming is more trouble than its worth and renounces his part in future harvests.
  • There’s another farm story involving a rabbit and a bear. The rabbit needs to feed his family but has no farmland. The bear has farmland but is too lazy to do any work. They come to an agreement that the rabbit will do the farming and they will split the vegetables. The rabbit says he will give the bear the top halves. When the harvest comes in, the bear discovers that the rabbit planted carrots, turnips, and beets. This means he only gets the useless stems. The bear is annoyed and says that next time he will get the bottom halves. So, the rabbit plants lettuce, broccoli, and celery. The bear decides this next one will be foolproof by requiring both tops and bottoms from the next harvest. What does the rabbit plant this time? Corn. The bear is so upset that he starts doing his own farm work, and the rabbit has enough food to keep his family fed.
  • The story of the Gordian Knot. In the city of Gordium in Ancient Phrygia, there was a knot tied impossibly hard to a chariot. It was said that whoever removed it would rule the world, and thousands of men had tried to untie it unsuccessfully over the centuries. Then Alexander the Great stopped by Gordium, drew his sword and cut it.

    Politics 
Given that most politicians these days are lawyers (or at the very least graduates of a law course in University) and that most of what politics produces is laws in one form or another and given that the "rulebook" for politics is a constitution (whether written or "unwritten"), so in essence "a set of laws", it is not surprise that politics is full of this kind of behavior
  • Perhaps not too unsurprisingly, Politicians over their entire existence have basically turned this trope into an art form, for good or ill. Voter Suppression laws wanting to pass in the US tend to rely extremely heavily on this, for instance, as their wording has to be very careful to avoid being nailed by all those parts of the constitution that were intended as Obvious Rule Patches to previous such attempts. For example, the term "Grandfather Clause" derives from the Southern practice of imposing some incredibly onerous requirement on voting (poll taxes, "literacy tests" administered by racist whites, being able to register only on the third Monday in may at the State Capital from 11 AM to noon or other such sillyness) but then exempting anyone whose grandfather had been allowed to vote - i.e. denying black people (whose grandfathers were likely slaves) or (descendants of) immigrants the right to vote without violating the rule that the right to vote may not be denied due to "race", because the law is - on the face of it - race neutral. In the 1960s the Voting Rights Act was passed with the wise foresight that the most egregious offenders had to submit their planned voting laws to the federal government for pre-approval. However, the United States Supreme Court ultimately deemed that provision (which had previously been extended numerous times with almost unanimous support in both houses of Congress) "no longer necessary" as the country had "moved on". Within hours of that ruling, several states that had previously been on the "pre-approval-required-list" passed restrictive voting legislation that would've never gotten federal pre-approval.
  • A "constitutional crisis" is usually this trope combined with "things the constitution didn't provide for" and an inability to resolve that conflict within the established rules and conventions. Many times however, they are deliberately created by one or more of the involved parties such as the so called "Self-eleminitation of the Austrian Parliament" in which all three presidents of the Parliament resigned within a day and the session was dissolved which the chancellor, already planning on a more authoritarian style of government, took as an excuse to declare the Parliament unable to function (using police under his command to prevent them from meeting again ten days later and resolving the issue). There was no rule at the time for what to do when Parliament was without Presidents, but virtually everyone these days agrees the "solution" the chancellor chose was a blatantly illegal power grab. These days if Austrian Parliament finds itself without a President able to discharge the duties of their office the oldest Member of Parliament steps in to discharge the office of President of Parliament ad interim until a new one can be elected or the original one becomes available again.
  • There is a trope in Latin American (and to a lesser extent African) countries with a shaky democracy and a constitution heavily inspired by that of the US - i.e. having a strong executive Presidency hedged by a two term limit; while the constitution is usually very clear on the two terms being the limit, there usually isn't a rule about changing the constitution to extend term limits or to introduce a new constitution that looks just like the old one with the most relevant changed provision being "Terms as President served prior to the passing of this constitution do not count for term limits". Usually such constitutional changes are given at least a veneer of democracy by being put before the people in a popular vote and more than once a would-be three term President has lost such a vote - only for them to then proceed to ignore that vote and run for a third term anyway. What perhaps takes the cake is Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua who near the end of his second non-consecutive term as President had the Constitutional Court full of his supporters declare that term limits clashed with the constitutional provision on universal eligibility and thus violated his right to run for office and they were therefore void. He thus ran again in 2011 and 2016 "winning" both times under allegations of widespread election manipulation and (the second time around) a partial electoral boycott by the opposition.
    • A further variation on getting around term limits, that is found in many US State Constitutions as well as some national constitutions the world over is a ban on consecutive terms above a certain number - ain't no rule against serving twelve non-consecutive terms. Now while this provision may have been intended to prevent political power entrenching itself, it seems to have failed to account for stuff like "Let the wife run for one term and then let the husband return" as often done in the US or the shenanigans Medvedev and Putin pulled in Russia to get around the term limits there.
  • A provision of the US Constitution that has turned from pretty much an afterthought at the time of its passing to a Suddenly Significant Rule (and thus often a bone of contention between right and left) is the "Interstate Commerce Clause". You see, the constitution grants the federal government the eminently sensible right to regulate commerce between states and as per the "necessary and proper" clause, the federal government basically has all the Required Secondary Powers to make stuff like that work, even if not explicitly spelled out anywhere. At the time the constitution was written, most "commerce" was a farmer selling to perhaps a town two day's marches away and an artisan selling their stuff maybe in a three county region with a tiny sliver of durable luxury goods reaching across state lines or even international borders. And then the US acquired the Mississippi river basin, allowing easy river trade. And then the Erie Canal was built linking the East Coast and the Great Lakes by boat. And then railroads were invented. And then internal combustion engines allowed fast road transport. And then airplanes became common. And then the Internet happened... Basically, these days there is barely any economic activity in the US that isn't Interstate Commerce in some way. And thus the federal government of course has every right to regulate it. Believe it or not, even many significant pieces of Civil Rights Legislation were passed by arguing thru the Interstate Commerce Clause - if you engage in Interstate Commerce, you will take a bus or a train or need a hotel - therefore the practices in those accommodations are of interest to the federal government and therefore it can ban segregation in the aforementioned cases. As mentioned above, the right wing tends to dislike such "creative" use of the Interstate Commerce Clause and when Chief Justice John Roberts let Obamacare stand, he very pointedly wrote in his opinion that it didn't derive its validity from the Interstate Commerce Clause but instead from the provision allowing the federal government to tax its population.
  • Given the negative experience with the way votes of no confidence had been handled in the Weimar Republic (basically a majority of the Reichstag could just declare "we don't like the government" and force it to resign without having to actually come up with an alternative proposal for who should govern. Naturally once Nazis and Communists held a majority together, it was impossible to get anything done in the Reichstag) the new "Basic Law" of West Germany explicitly says that the only way the Bundestag can get rid of the chancellor is by electing a replacement with a majority of its members (so none of those "the Communist deputies are unable to attend due to having broken both legs, both arms and five rips in an unfortunate accident all at once" shenanigans) in a secret vote. However, this gives rise to a very glaring loophole which was absued during the very first so called "constructive vote of no confidence" in 1972. The SPD-FDP coalition, who had lost their majority due to some of its members defecting over foreign policynote  decided that how many votes their candidate got was utterly irrelevant, the relevant thing was how many votes the other guy got. As long as it was less than half of the members of the Bundestag, Brandt would remain in office. So instead of enforcing which way their MPs were to vote on a secret vote, which is impossible, they simply said "abstain, or else" but had the government ministers vote to provide "cover" for any members of the CDU/CSU who would break rank, as they actually had to get the votes and not just prevent their opposition from getting them. It worked, much to the surprise of everyone involved - allegedly because the East German Stasi had bribed enough members of the CDU/CSU to flip the result.
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    Religion 
  • Loophole Abuse was what made The Knights Templar the richest organization in Medieval Europe, and in the process created the modern concept of banking. They were originally organized as a peacekeeping force in the Holy Land, charged with protecting the new wave of Christian Pilgrims making the journey to Jerusalem after the end of the First Crusade. Many of these Pilgrims were either rich people looking to go on a new fashionable journey, or else were simply traveling with all their earthly wealth on them. So the Templar mandate extended to protecting their money and private property as well as their lives: they would often hold onto a person's valuables for safekeeping until they were out of danger, sometimes receiving a generous "donation" for their troubles. As a Holy Order, they were technically bound by a Vow of Poverty, and therefore forbidden to earn money or own property. But this idea of "managing" wealth was such a new concept, and such a gray area under Church Law, that they were able to finagle a distinction between "managing" and "owning." By taking the valuables entrusted to them, and managing them "on behalf" of their patrons, they became wealthy as an organization while still technically being able to claim they owned none of it themselves. Also, every individual Knight Templar owned nothing (even their swords, shields and clothes were property of the Templar order, not the individual knight).
  • In the Middle Ages (and until recently in some parts of Europe), people got around the prohibition to eat meat on Fridays and during Lent by eating pond-dweling tetrapods like frog, turtle, waterfowl, water vole, and beaver. They could do this because fish is allowed during Lent, and the medieval classification of creatures was partially based on what an animal does in the wild - in this case, live in water. Likewise, in South America people ate capybara (an aquatic rodent) and alligator for this reason. And the reason of allowing fish in the first place was that otherwise, poor fishermen would have nothing to eat (or sell) on Friday or the month of Lent.
    • Even today, the prohibition only applies to the meat of warm-blooded animals. Reptiles are fair game, and so crocodile jerky has become a popular Lenten fare in the southern US.
    • Some French monks ate unborn rabbits near term. Apparently, everything's fish so long as it doesn't touch the ground.
  • Al-Qaeda-linked groups in Afghanistan and Northwest Africa allegedly forcibly marry women, raping them and repudiating them immediately, waving around the fact that polygamy and wife repudiation are legal under Sharia law.
  • Islamic law prohibits usury—defined as loaning money for interest—in no uncertain terms. However, it does not ban making a profit. Cue these workarounds:
    • Murabaha (profit-making): Abdullah wants to buy a house. Basil has the money. Basil buys the house, and then sells it to Abdullah on an installment plan with a total price equal to what would have been paid with interest.
    • Ijarah thumma al-bai` (rent followed by sale): Abdullah wants to buy some equipment for his medical practice. Basil has the money. Basil buys the equipment and rents it to Abdullah. After the rent has paid down the cost of the equipment and a bit of profit, Abdullah agrees to make a final payment securing title to it. (It's a rent-to-own agreement.)
    • ''Mudarabah mutanaqisah" (diminishing partnership): Abdullah wants to start a business. Basil has the money. Abdullah and Basil form a partnership, with Abdullah being the managing partner but Basil holding a larger, silent stake. Abdullah buys Basil's share in the partnership bit by bit until he owns the business outright.
      • And so much more: there are at least half a dozen Islamic financing arrangement that are not technically secured loans, but look quite like one. The permissibility of each of these is a subject of hot debate, but most scholars accept that at least a few of them are OK... In an interesting twist there is one glaring difference known to professionals and anyone familiar with the worst of '08 foreclosures: all of the above arrangements leave the risk of collateral depreciation fully in the hands of the lender, while a traditional secured loan leaves it with the debtor. So in Islamic banking if your "collateral is repossessed" you are not occasionally left with debt still outstanding - one of the most destructive and intuitively "unfair" possible outcome of a secured lending...
  • There is an Urban Legend from the time when Pope Paul VI had forbidden the contraceptive pill. A young and more progressive priest told the young women in his parish to simply crush the pill to powder, arguing that the pope had not said anything about powder. The actual rule bans all forms of contraception and actually dates back to the early days of the Church.
  • There is an urban legend that says that at a time, people circumvented a law forbidding to raise pigs "on the land of Israel" by raising them on platforms, and that the law had to be changed to ban this as well. Nowadays, it is illegal to raise pigs in Israel except for a small area in the north inhabited by Christian Arabs and in scientific institutions. Even the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, which prides itself in holding all animal species mentioned in the Bible, has to use non-native American peccaries as stand-in for pigs, and there have been overzealous visitors who tried to harm them by throwing plastic knives in their pen.
  • Under Catholic Canon Law, all bishops must be assigned a diocese, an area of land that they are supposed to oversee. However, the Law does not say if that area of land need to contain any church, or indeed, any people at all. Therefore bishops who work exclusively in administrative matters (e.g. assisting more senior bishops who have real dioceses) and bishops who really screwed up are assigned to these so-called Titular Sees, which are generally bishoprics that used to actually exist centuries ago. Special note goes to the Diocese of Partenia, which has been buried under the Sahara since the 5th century.
  • Another Catholic example is the rule that churches must ring a bell to call people to worship. But, because nobody at the time the rules were written could have possibly predicted it, there's no rule that a human has to do the ringing!
  • Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol... or, to be specific, "fermented drinks made with fruits or grains". Rum is made using sugar cane, mead using honey and vodka using potatoes. Sugar cane, honey, and potatoes being neither fruits nor grains, some Muslims say this makes them fair game. Turkish Muslims are known for Raki, which is an aniseed-based distilled spirit somewhat like licorice-tasting vodka, but made from herbs, so still fair game, while Ethiopians and Eritreans are know for Tej, a kind of meadnote .
  • It's a common belief that during the Crusades, many forces were accompanied by at least one priest. However, Catholic priests were forbidden from "spilling blood", which would mean they couldn't fight and would be The Load to a group of starving soldiers outnumbered in a foreign land. Therefore, they were given clubs, it's perfectly possible to crush a man's skull with such implements. The reality seems to indicate that maces were used more because they were symbols of authority.
    • Note, for any wags attempting to be a Technical Pacifist: bashing someone hard enough to kill them will almost invariably draw blood, if not of the external kind, then certainly internal.
  • It is true, however (and despite common depictions in fiction of the contrary), that inquisitors never tortured or killed people themselves for this reason. They had lay servants to do the torture, and as for the executions, the Inquisition only sentenced the guilty "to be relaxed to the secular arm", i.e., handed to civilian authorities, who then executed them.
  • Orthodox Jewish law states that married women must keep their hair covered from any man other than their husband. Ain't no rule that this cover can't be a wig made of human hair that makes them look like they are wearing nothing at all.
  • Islam prohibits prostitution. However, Twelver Shia Islam also allows for nikah al-mut'ah, which is a temporary marriage. The duration of the marriage as well as the dowry have to be agreed upon before entering it. This has been used to effectively allow occasional prostitution while still following the letter of the law.
  • The Catholic Church banned the creation of castrati, castrated boys who grew up to become high-voiced male singers, in the 1700s. But, some castrati became wealthy opera stars and brought prestige to families. So, parents would sometimes find loopholes involving medical or illness-related reasons to have the procedure done on young sons, hoping they might still get into the training schools that existed.
  • Jewish religious law is notoriously detailed and complicated and The Talmud is basically one very detailed and intricate discussion on which rules apply when and how and what is not okay (understanding any given section relies greatly on context, which makes the Talmud one of the easiest books to misquote and one of the hardest to properly understand - often an argument is set out over pages "for the sake of argument" even to be dismissed entirely in even more detail later). Of course three Jews will have four opinions on what is and is not allowed by religious law. For instance, the use of a "Shabbos Goy" (a non-Jew for the Sabbath) who would be hired by a Jewish individual or community to do things Jews aren't allowed to do on a Sabbath is now mostly seen as not okay, even though it was frequently done in the past. The one very clear exception that virtually all Jews agree on is that the obligation to save a life ranks above any other command.
  • While neither the Pentateuch nor the Talmud mention electricity or anything to do with it, there are now rabbinical opinions on whether electricity may be used on the Sabbath. A common consensus is that you are not allowed to switch on an electronic device, but something that was already on before the Sabbath began can be kept running (this is how a lot of sabbath cuisine works - just keep the food stewing in the pre-heated oven). So naturally someone developed a light switch that unlike a normal light switch does not close a circuit but technically never breaks the circuit, so switching the light on is not actually switching the light on. Other opinions say that the problem is not so much turning on or off something but whether "fire" is created. A light bulb is therefore right out because it produces heat and conventional switches (that may produce a spark) are also taboo, but what is there to say against a pre-programmed LED?
    • Some Jews also believe that the prohibition only applies to actions actually taken during the time period in question. By this reasoning, setting a timer ahead of time is perfectly okay, because even if the thing is switching on and off during the Sabbath/a holiday, the person isn't actually doing anything in that moment to cause it to happen; all their actions took place outside of the restricted time.
    • The Sabbath elevator is a device (or setting) on an elevator that makes it stop (and open its doors) on every floor meaning those who object to pushing buttons on the Sabbath do not have to lift a finger and can still use the elevator. It does get annoying if you have to go up to the 97th floor or something.
  • How can those who follow the Ten Commandments (whether Jewish or Christian) justify being soldiers or the death penalty despite the Commandment against killing? As they'll tell you, the exact wording is more akin to "Thou shalt not murder," and murder is defined as wrongful killing. Still, there are many who base their opposition to the Death Penalty and/or war on their faith.
    • Similarly, the commandment that's usually paraphrased as "Don't lie" is more specifically "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor". Depending on how narrowly one chooses to interpret that, it leaves open the possibility for a wide variety of untruths.
  • Much as in the Islam example mentioned above, the medieval Catholic Church prohibited usury.note  It did not, however, forbid the lender from taking collateral as security from the borrower, nor did it forbid the lender from charging additional "service charges" for holding the collateral if the borrower went over the nominal term of the loannote , or from selling the collateral in question back to the original owner at a profit. The custom originated in the Italian region of Lombardy, and hence became known as "Lombard banking". The practice eventually formed the basis of the modern-day pawn shop, many of which are still called "lombards" in various parts of Europe.
    • The Catholic prohibition on usury only bound Catholics and throughout the Middle Ages there was a - sometimes sizable - Jewish population in many parts of Europe. And since they were usually (depending on local laws and rulers) forbidden from holding land (making agriculture an impossibility for them) or joining guilds (ruling out most the trades) some Jews took to money-lending which is the origin of many of the stereotypes of "Jewish bankers". This also gave rulers who had gotten into more debt than they could repay an easy "solution" in that they could just whip up an anti-Jewish frenzy and kill their creditors if they felt particularly desperate or cruel.
  • A Malaysian Prince was criticized for not wearing gloves while shaking the hand of a woman. He makes a video where he meets another woman, asks to shakes her hand and puts on a glove — a pair of Hulk Hands.
  • According to Norse Mythology, dying outside of battle wouldn't get you into Warrior Heaven. Thus, records exist of Horny Vikings asking their friends to Mercy Kill them on their deathbeds, so they'd have technically "died by the sword."
  • Catholic marriage is a sacrament that the groom and the bride administer to each other in the presence of three witnesses, one of which has to be a priest. Nobody said that a feudal lord couldn't forbid marriage between two people in his domain, or pressure two people to marry, nor did it say their families couldn't do the same. In the same way, however, nobody said that a man and a woman whose marriage had been forbidden couldn't just get two witnesses, walk up to a priest and present each other as husband and wife.
    • Due to the immense problems caused by "clandestine" marriages (questions over legitimacy of children, difficulties over inheritance, and the potential for conflict between those who considered they had a right to a voice in the matter), the Council of Trent promulgated the decree Tametsi, that established a veto to outside interferences and declared the necessity of having the parish priest or a delegate, and that bans had to be read before the wedding and a record was to be kept. But all decrees of the Council of Trent were required to be published in the parishes to be valid, meaning that it wasn't valid in ones that failed to do so, something that happened even in entire countries. The 1907 decree Ne Temere, re-establishes said rules and is explicitly valid for Catholics anywhere, complains about just that before establishing its new rules.
  • A common, and surprisingly effective televangelist trick is to offer items, such as religious books, cds, music, and the like, in return for "love gifts" or "donations." This is essentially so they can sell things for people to buy while trying to frame it as "a gift in return for a gift", and distance themselves from the "Cleansing of the Temple" verses where Jesus gets so enraged at people for buying and selling in a church, he overturns their tables, drives them out, and calls them hypocrites and thieves. While it is debated whether these verses mean it is always sinful for a church/ministry to sell things, "love gifts" are clearly an attempt to make this more palatable to people who would find this objectionable.
  • The Fourth Crusade, called the Cursed Crusade for a number of good reasons, was filled with it to the brim.
    • Anyone joining the Crusade for at least a year was promised the complete forgiveness of their sins. Including sins committed during the Crusade itself.
    • Venice, who the Crusaders hired for transportation and delivering supplies, named a price that was, to put it mildly, overblown (20 tons of silver) to force the Crusaders into aiding them with recapturing Zara. Normally, that would be against the will of Pope (war against Christians being a sin in itself), but since the sins would be forgiven and the objective was necessary to get to Holy Land, the city was taken.
    • Pretty much the same reasoning was used to besiege Constantinople: orthodox Christians they may be, but Alexios IV promised support for the Crusade and acknowledgement of Pope's will in return, thus the city has become a valid target.
    • The aforementioned support, due to depleted treasury, was hard to obtain, but Alexios IV found a way. He allowed the Crusaders to loot the Byzantine temples, then sell the looted gold and silver to Byzantine traders, who, after the war, were supposed to sell it back to the Church. Technically, thus the emperor avoided the sin of doing it all himself.
    • When Constantinople's rulers, as a result of their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, betrayed the Crusaders, Baudouin I de Flandre, the new emperor of the newly created Latin Empire, was appointed by both French and Venezian representatives. Because voting was cast by both sides, neither side could lay claim the the new state, and the new emperor could not be declared illegitimate by the Pope.
    • During the siege, the first (failed) assault was ruled out as divine punishment for sinful behavior, legally demanding penance. The Crusaders then ordered all prostitutes that their army hired out of the camp. To avoid the fall of morale, they deliberately did not forbid Byzantine prostitutes - in other words, those in the city the army was supposed to conquer. Any regiment who wanted some company was supposed to take a part of the city back first.

    Web Original 
  • Avoided by most Internet services (forums, hosts, etc.) in that their Terms of Use specifically say you can be reprimanded for any reason by the owners/moderators. Effectively seals the "Ain't no rule" loophole.
  • Similarly, try reading a software EULA or copyright agreement all the way through. They can be paraphrased as saying "We can do whatever we want, whenever we want, and you have no rights whatsoever." The phrase "in perpetuity throughout the universe" is popular.
    • Though ironically, most EULAs are often unenforceable; if the EULA isn't on the outside of the box, it isn't necessarily enforceable by law. This is why, for instance, OEM versions of Windows have the EULA on the outside of the packaging. Also, many open-ended contractual things of this nature can be difficult to enforce in court. Also not every copyright law allows to enforce fully EULA. For example in some countries you are allowed to disassemble code in certain cases (for example, to make cooperation between programs better) - even if EULA explicitly forbids disassembling.
      • There are many terms common in EULAs which are incompatible with The European Union's laws, and hence are not applicable there.
  • Major American-based/targetted websites have a mandatory input for birthdate when creating an account and will reject someone if their birthdate finds them under the age of 13, which is to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)note . Many underage children, as computers cannot detect a human's age by itself, will input a fake birthdate so that they can go on "big kid" sites, though being found underage will most likely result in a ban (and websites can be liable for huge fines if found to knowingly keep children's personal info).
    • Some websites aimed at kids will have it where they ask for the parent or guardian's email. As you might guess, someone could easily put in their own email adress, since it doesn't ask specifically if it's the user's or their parent/guardian's email.
  • 4chan's /b/ forum infamously has "no rules". However, posting something that's actually illegal (e.g. child pornography) will still result in a ban. The explanation given is that "no rules" also applies to the moderators, meaning they can ban users for any reason, including because they just felt like it.
  • Streaming music services originally came from Loophole Abuse of the rules for radio stations, which could license songs in bulk for play by DJs on the basis that they were used as part of continuous shows, so listeners wouldn't have that much control over what songs they heard and would still have reason to buy CDs and records. When internet radio came along and there was no need to license physical radio bands, companies quickly worked out that there was nothing to stop them running several thousand "radio stations" all at once, which together would enable a listener to listen to any song on demand simply by selecting the station that was playing it at that moment.
  • From Cracked:
  • The Trope Tales for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like was removed because it became nothing but huge complaints and was often one big Flame War after the next. Several other tropes devolved into similar complaining in their Troper Tales sections until Troper Tales was removed entirely. So people turned to the Headscratchers (at the time called "It Just Bugs Me") and let the complaining and flame wars begin anew.
  • On streaming sites, ads interrupt it. However, get an adblocker and they don't play the ads at all. (Except for Twitch, which still bypasses adblocks.)
    • Likewise, people on Hulu often pick the "give me a longer ad and don't interrupt at all" option and then use this opportunity to go to the bathroom or go make a sandwich or popcorn without actually seeing the ad or missing the video they're actually watching.
    • Blip had adapted to this by running a 90 second (later 60 seconds) grey screen for users who block ads, the screen points out that the ads are only 30 seconds. Of course, if you prefer 90 seconds of silence to an annoying ad, this could still work in your favor.
    • Netflix used this to the site's advantage: it detected when a user was blocking ads and replaced that ad with an ad to one of Netflix's own original series.
    • Many sites have adapted by making sure the content the user wants is being blocked when the ad is blocked. This can be self-defeating when it causes the site to not gain new users. Also, AdBlock is sophisticated enough to allow you to block specific pieces of content which get around how some sites try to lock you out or merely redirect you to the Wayback Machine.
  • Netflix has a no pornography rule. Documentaries about pornography are okay. The James Franco produced Kink documentary has appeared on the service in the past and features unfiltered and uncensored footage of pornographic shoots.
    • Arthouse films with unsimulated sex like Nymphomaniac are perfectly fine as well.
  • When Netflix first wanted to introduce streaming to the PlayStation 3 and Wii, they were hampered by an exclusivity agreement that they had signed with Microsoft that made the Xbox 360 only console with built-in support for Netflix. However, the keyword here seems to have been "built-in", which meant the exclusivity deal did not apply to software loaded from a disc, so Netflix at first released their PS3 and Wii streaming apps on discs and shipping them out to customers who requested them. Once the Microsoft agreement expired, they promptly released downloadable apps for both of the other consoles and discontinued the discs.
  • In online auctions (primarily eBay), it's not uncommon to find automated pieces of software that were programmed to monitor the auction and always bid with the absolute minimum price without the person having to ever actually be at the computer.
    • Ain't no rule saying you can't wait until the last 30 seconds of an auction and then outbid the previous bidder by the bare minimum amount. In fact, some online bidders do have it as a rule, and leave a button labeled "Snipe Bid" in case anyone wants to do it. It Only Works Once per bid, though, so if somebody out-bids your snipe in the last 30 seconds, you'll have to try again the manual way.
    • To mitigate both, eBay allows bidders to place a maximum they're willing to bid, but only bid the minimum. If someone else bids the minimum, the site automatically bids the first bidder the minimum increase. YMMV though on how effective this is. A similar system is used by Project Wonderful, which is a popular advertising platform for many Webcomics.
    • One loophole that was exploited by many sellers until eBay wised up and closed it was that the seller's fee to the site was based on the item's selling price without including the shipping fee. Sellers (particularly on "buy it now" auctions) would set a price of 1 cent, but charge a ridiculously high shipping fee that would amount to at least the actual value of the item plus the shipping cost.
    • Buyers, on the other hand, can exploit a loophole in the bid retraction system to find out what a competing buy's maximum bid is. Bids normally cannot be retracted, but an exception is made for typos on a bid. The system is automated so anybody can just claim a typo to retract their bid (unless it's too close to the auction's end), but obvious abuse of the system is likely to result in a ban. The loophole? If you deliberately put the decimal in the wrong place of your bid (say "$99.9" instead of "$9.99") there's nothing to suggest to eBay that it wasn't actually a typo. Doing this to make a bid far over what anybody could reasonably be paying for the item can let you scout out what the high bidder's max bid is, and then after the retraction you can outbid him if you think it's worth it.
    • Sellers of virtual items and currency, as well as online video game accounts, often use a loophole stating that the virtual items, currency, and accounts are owned by the video game company themselves and the seller is only selling the time and effort to generate the virtual items, currency, and accounts for sale, thereby not breaking the rules that prohibit the sale of virtual items, currency, and accounts to another person.
  • Whenever something is released under a "pay what you like" plan (such as the Humble Bundle) a lot of people select the minimum price, especially if it's as low as $0.01 (and plenty of people still pirate it anyways). Some bundles are perfectly aware of that and try to guilt trip you (often successfully) to give at least a dollar, or add incentives to pay extra (the Humble Bundle, again, which eventually changed the rules so that you have to spend at least a dollar to actually get anything, also adds extra games and their soundtracks if you buy it for higher than the average price it's sold for at the time of purchase).
  • On art sites like DeviantArt, pornographic content is against the TOS. However, Artistic Nude isn't considered pornographic at all, so naturally if you look in that section, be prepared to see a lot of pornography that's labeled as "Artistic Nude".
    • Icons often aren't handled by the mature filter. Some trolls on those sites regularly put pictures of asses or stuff that normally would be placed under "mature" to shock people with the mature filter on. It was less common in deviantART where the icon size was limited to only 50x50 pixels, but on other art sites with bigger avatars...
    • For that matter, "Photo-dumping" is not allowed on some art sites... but people love to take these and then place them under a "Photograph" categorization so they get away with it.
    • DA's rules about what constitutes porn are quite specific, which means that one of the most popular pieces on the site is a bunch of naked women with worms and centipede-like insects slithering in and out of their vaginas and mouths, which doesn't violate a single rule. Fetish porn (to the ire of many users) is also technically allowed.
  • Twitch banned live streams of people in bathing suits unless they were engaged in the act of swimming or bathing. This has resulted in many streamers creating content in their pools or hot tubs, sometimes going as far to install such a device in their preferred filming location. The practice has become some prevalent that "hot tub streams" have pretty much become a defined genre of soft-core porn. Doubling down on the loophole abuse, some streamers unable to afford a full size hot tub will simply fill up a pint-sized kiddie pool in their studio.
  • When Wikipedia blacked-out their site for SOPA protests, it took less than an hour for people simply tired of SOPA protests to start telling people to run stuff like No Script, use the mobile page, or simply hit "stop" before they were redirected from an article to the SOPA page. Even the Learn more page itself said people could turn off Javascript - see also this page. Likewise, when other sites do it, there's no rule saying you can't use caches, either.
  • On Yahoo! Answers, there's no such rule that you cannot vote for your own answer. This makes it a paradise for Trolls who can easily score 13 points by writing nonsense. 2 points for the answer, 1 point for the vote, and 10 points if the answer gets selected as the best by voters (which it often will since nobody else shows up to give a "real" answer).
  • Rule 34 on most art-sites is often ignored... unless it violates site policies in some way. A notable one is that characters who are canonically underage. Cue people drawing the characters as young adults so they could upload rule 34 of them.
    • Related to this, both original and fanartists typically have a disclaimer that "All characters are over 18" to clear up confusion if a character is slightly Older Than They Look. To get around posting underage characters, some artists use the same disclaimer while changing nothing about the character's appearance.
    • Selling unauthorized drawings of copyrighted characters is illegal, but put it on a pay site and people are technically paying for the site, not the art.
  • Several examples from Not Always Right:
    • Attempted by this woman. The daycare had a rule that parents must sign out their kids by 4 PM or face additional charges. The woman signed her daughter out on time, but left her there while she ran other errands for "a few minutes" (which was actually another 45 minutes). Luckily the daycare didn't put up with her crap, charged her anyway, and called her out when she tried to guilt-trip her daughter by blaming the charges on her being a "bad kid".
    • This man, too. The restaurant had a policy that if the customer didn't get a receipt, their meal was free. What does he do? Shove the money into the drive-through attendant's hands and immediately speeds to the next window. The drive-through guy didn't have time to even offer a receipt, but that matters not. The speeder argues this point and sadly gets away with it. Drive-through guy wisens up though, and offers a receipt before taking the money next time the speeder rolls around. This one actually applies both ways — such deals are often impossible to claim in the absence of abuse like this, as there is no clear rule as to when the time limit for the action runs out, and once the transaction has ended it is too late for the "prize" to be given. The customer could reasonably have been handed their receipt at the food window to avoid the situation above — or if he drove away from that too, he's now absent, so can't claim his money back. Burger King in the UK at one stage offered a "if we don't ask if you want to go large, you can go large for free" campaign. Since customers would often directly order a "large xxx meal.." — meaning that they would not be asked to upsize as they had already announced they were doing so — cashiers and most customers reasoned that common sense meant the promotion would not apply in this case. However, given this, any attempt by a customer to claim on the deal could be denied as the cashier could claim they would have asked the question in the future. The deal was, in fact, unclaimable.
    • This man wants a bunch of free ice cream samples in a cup. It's not a cup of ice cream, you see, because it's all free samples! The employee didn't put up with his crap, though.
    • Here, a gym teacher was requiring a wheelchair-bound student to get a doctor's note to get out of gym. Their doctor was out of town, but the student's mother had a dentist's appointment that day. Since the teacher didn't specify what kind of doctor, she had to accept a note from the dentist.
    • This professor administers a test where the students are allowed to use "any resource in the room" for reference, since the class is more about knowing how to find the information they need than about memorizing it. Mid-test, one student realizes the professor is a resource, and asks for help with a particularly difficult question. The professor in turn makes her own loophole by not directly providing the answer, but suggesting where in the textbooks they can find the answer (and in later semesters rules that she and the assistants are not testing resources).
  • Don't want your computer to track down you downloading pornographic art/pictures? "Downloads" of adult stuff don't mean using the snipping tool to easily capture whats on your screen. (Just so we're clear, this only prevents anything showing up on your computer history. This will NOT prevent your ISP from knowing what questionable sites you visit.)
    • Using screen captures is also a trivially easy way to save images otherwise blocked by a site which disallows direct saving or copying.
  • If a site has hotlinking protection, yet you want to share its images on, say, a blog or forum, save the image to your computer (which you usually can) and now it can be safely uploaded. Or if the site has no upload option, you can upload to an image hosting site and link the image from there. Similarly, if a webhost you use has anti-hotlinking measures (either by causing images linked elsewhere to fail to load or display a "Image hosted by (host)" placeholder), you can usually get away with hotlinking an uploaded image anyway by changing the image's extension to .txt (text file). If the host only checks for file extensions and not the actual contents or metadata, the image will display just fine. This was a popular practice during The Noughties, but with the rise of forums that allow users to upload images directly for posting or usage as avatars (thanks to server space having gotten cheaper over time) and, failing that, image hosts explicitly designed around hotlinking (such as Imgur), the .txt trick has largely gone out of practice.
  • Kickstarter maintains that their site can only be used for funding creative projects. One user looked over their definition of "creative project" and discovered it was so vaguely worded that he could legally run a campaign for potato salad. The campaign went on to gain thousands of dollars in contributions.
  • Fellow crowdfunding website Indiegogo has a rule that if a project is funded to completion, it must be released or the money is to be refunded. However, the rules say nothing about how good said project must be, hence Channel Awesome released Pop Quiz Hot Shot, a deliberately extremely low-budget show to technically fulfil the requirement. Likewise, there are no rules against postponement, thus many failed projects can get away with "no refunds" by claiming that the project is just postponed and that they're still totally devoted into doing this! This is one of the things that made the failed Ultimate FanCon project infuriating because of the amount of money poured in before its "postponement".
  • The romhacking community makes use of patch files like the .ips format to get around finicky copyright laws and still legally host their mods. In a nutshell, an .ips file is a "comparison" generated by a program which compares a modded rom to the original unmodded version, and writes the differences to a patch file. This patch is then made available to download, and anyone who wants to use it must find an original copy of the rom and apply the patch to turn that rom into the modified version. Since the patch file is effectively just a list of instructions, it's not technically a rom and doesn't violate any copyrights, allowing people to host them without issue (and, as an added benefit, patches are generally much smaller than the original rom).

    Other 
  • An English amateur cricket team was barred from entering the dining room of the hotel in which they were staying because they were not wearing ties. To his credit, the maitre apparently took them reappearing wearing properly-knotted ties, but no shirts or trousers, in the spirit in which it was intended.
  • Humans vs. Zombies manages to avert this entirely by having the "Douchebag Clause" which states, "Don't be a douchebag." Simply put, if it's not already covered by the rules but clearly unfair, then the mods can invoke the douchebag clause and punish accordingly.
  • Nintendo has been on both ends of these tropes in the NES days:
    • A rare positive example, Nintendo actually used R.O.B.note  to get the NES into the American market: America was still reeling from The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, and no toy store would dare market a product as a "video game system". R.O.B., however, allowed Nintendo to make the NES look much more toy-like and less like a video game console, and convinced toy stores to stock it. It's also the reason that the original NES was styled to look like a VCR.
    • For a loophole that happened against Nintendo; there was a rule made by Nintendo of America and Europe during the NES years where third-party companies could only release a maximum of five titles in one year on the console. Konami found a way to circumvent this: All they had to do was simply publish it under a different company name, which resulted in some of their titles releasing underneath the "Ultra Games" label in America and "Palcom" in Europe, while Acclaim likewise used the "LJN" label to get out their licensed properties and sports titles. Depending on who's telling the tale, this might have been less Loophole Abuse (tricking Nintendo) and more Loophole Endorsement (Nintendo turning a blind eye to a known loophole to let favored companies release more games), but in any case, Nintendo relaxed the policy later on so the Ultra, Palcom and LJN labels soon ended.
    • Nintendo threatened to stop selling games to retailers who sold unlicensed games. Being forbidden from selling Nintendo games was a death sentence for any video game store, so most retailers did not carry unlicensed games. Color Dreams got around this by rebranding themselves as Wisdom Tree, making Christian-themed NES games, and selling them through Christian bookstores. Since Christian bookstores didn't normally sell video games in the first place, Nintendo's pressure would mean nothing. As a bonus, Nintendo was resistant to suing Wisdom Tree as filing a lawsuit might lead to outrage from conservative parents and church groups, especially in the Bible Belt—certainly the last thing Nintendo wanted would be a series of boycotts and bonfires where video game consoles are burned.
  • The laws of relativity state that something with mass can't accelerate past the speed of light. They say nothing about objects that have always been at a faster-than-light speed, hence - tachyons. In more detail, if you solve the equations for total energy of a normal particle moving faster than light, you will get an imaginary number, but the total energy is proportional to the rest mass, and nothing says the rest mass has to be real. Likewise, the Alcubierre drive, more commonly known as a warp drive, gets around the FTL rule by exploiting the fact empty space has no mass and is not subject to the lightspeed limit. Hence, create a localized region of space that is itself traveling faster than light, and place a ship inside.
  • Jeff Dunham has mentioned using a method to get free professional photos taken - he used his school pictures. Unfortunately, these wound up in the yearbook.
  • Many coupon deals have loophole abuse...or just deals to rack people in.
    • Subway's "$5 Footlong" campaign, and its variants, are full of loopholes. They assume by reducing the sandwiches to $5 that you'll buy footlongs more and will buy the other offerings (chips, drinks, cookies) to make up for the loss. However, people have, since 2008, learned that they can buy the most expensive subs on the menu that aren't listed as premium, put $15 worth of vegetables and $5 worth of mayonnaise and then decide not to buy any extras. As a result, they then walk away with a sandwich that causes the store to lose money.
    • Subway once had coupons for a free six-inch sandwich with the purchase of a six inch meal. This was probably intended to get people to bring someone to Subway with them, but all it resulted in was everyone buying a six-inch meal and getting another six-inch sandwich that was completely identical to the first six-inch, making a divided footlong. It got to the point where the employees didn't even bother with the pretense of the footlong being two separate sandwiches.
    • Similar to Subway's divided footlong, a practice among certain Starbucks customers was named the "ghetto latte": order a double shot espresso, which is significantly cheaper than a latte, and also ask for a venti cup of ice, which is free. They then dump the espresso into the venti cup, and then go to the condiment bar and dump tons of milk from the urn into it, effectively creating a venti iced latte for the price of a doppio espresso. Some will even bring the urn to the counter complaining it is empty when they don't get enough. Starbucks has not so far banned the procedure, considering it as technically legit.
      • In both cases, the raw materials involved in making these items rarely surpass a buck or twonote , so the restaurant isn't losing money, just making a smaller net gain. If the company was really losing money on either deal, especially $20 and upwards on what's supposed to be a $5 sandwich, they would absolutely care and they would immediately put the kibosh on it. It is also a loophole exploited by employees to effectively get an employee discount. Since they have to know how to make all the drinks anyways, any good employee would thus be able to do this as another perk of the job.
      • Sticking with Starbucks, Starbucks Reward Gold members are entitled to one free drink after 12 purchases. One savvy customer in Dallas named Andrew ordered a monstrosity of a beverage with his free drink, solely for breaking the record for the most expensive Starbucks beverage ever made, the Sexagintuple Vanilla Bean Mocha Frappuccino, a one gallon (3.78 L) concoction which contains 60 shots of espresso, three kinds of drizzle and a sprinkling of protein powder. If not for the loyalty program, the drink would have cost Andrew nearly $55.
    • Coupons might have a note saying you can only use one per transaction. They don't say you can't use one and then immediately use another in a separate transaction.
      • Or, if it says 'each time you're in a store', just use one, walk out the door, turn around and walk right back in.
      • A similar is limiting individual coupons to 'one per family', but which in practice will be closer to the above interpretation of "one per transaction", since most stores don't bat an eye if every individual family member (assuming none are simply too young to be eligible) grabs their own shopping cart and buys their own sets of the items on the coupons one after another.
  • In heraldry, the rule of tincturenote  prevents 'metal' note  from being placed on metal, or 'colour' note  on colour. The reason being that metal-on-metal and color-on-color designs are harder to see from far away than color-on-metal or metal-on-color (think about it!), and the original purpose of heraldry was identifying friend from foe from a distance on a battlefield where everyone is wearing armor. There are many exceptions to the rule, but one in particular is very open to abuse: anything colored 'proper', or as it is in naturenote  can be placed on anything, even if it is indistinguishable from a tincture. For instance, a horse argent (white) cannot be placed on a field Or (yellow), but a white horse proper, which looks the same, can.
    • The Vatican (and the former Kingdom of Jerusalem) deliberately uses gold-on-white symbols that go against the rules of heraldry. They reason that they follow God's rules, not man's—and heralds accept this, with it being understood that the Church and some related institutions get to use this combination.
    • It isn't just that the rules of heraldry do exist, but it is also an incredibly stupid idea to break them. The rules of heraldry are there to maximize the distinguishability of heraldic devices and to make them as easy to note as possible. The rules of heraldry date on the 13th century, and they stem from the demands of the battlefield. The basic rule - no metal-on-metal or color-on-color - exists because two metals together form an extremely reflective surface, making it difficult to discern between the shield and the charge, while color-on-color makes a dark and murky surface where the discerning is similarly difficult. Since on the field it is extremely important to be able to tell friend from foe, having a white horse proper on argent is not only stupid, but so stupid it isn't even wrong. A good coat-of-arms can be distinguished at arrow range (200 meters). It isn't a good idea to shoot your friends just because you cannot see what is on their shields. Breaking the rules of heraldry could well be the Trope Maker for the Friend or Foe trope and incidents.
    • The reason why the rules of heraldry do exist were rediscovered quickly in the 20th century by history re-enactors and live-action role players. It hasn't been just one or two times when fighters have fallen casualty to Friendly Fire because their insignia had broken those rules and been incomprehensible or unable to be distinguished in a split-second.
  • Porn parodies can get away with directly mentioning the work they're parodying by sticking "Not" prominently in the title and subtitling them as "A XXX parody", e.g. Not The Bradys XXX which as the name implies is an adult sendup of The Brady Bunch. If the rights holders complain, the production company can simply point out that they clearly marked the product as not being the original work, as parody is protected speech. Two porn parodies of Super Mario Bros., called Super Hornio Brothers 1&2, were made. Nintendo objected to these films, but was unable to get them banned from distribution due to the aforementioned ruling on parodies of otherwise-copyrighted works. What did they do? Buy the rights to the films and made sure they never saw the light of day.
  • Linden Labs from Second Life offered a starter package for new users over Amazon.com that contained a hover bike and a free 1000L (which is roughly $10 in real money). All anyone had to do was link their Second Life account to their Amazon account and they would get the package for free. It was stated that the package was limited to one Second Life account per customer, but naturally, people began to create numerous alternate accounts and email addresses to score lots of free money. Within a few hours, Linden Labs yanked the package off Amazon and later put the package back on at the price of $10.
  • Amazon occasionally has "tell a friend" deals where for every new person who signs up for an Amazon account who uses you as a referral gets you a gift certificate, usually around $10. It's very easy to just make up a bunch of bogus email accounts just to get the referrals and rack up an obscene amount of free "money".
  • It's illegal for record labels to directly pay radio stations to play songs, but perfectly legal for them to hire consultants who give radio stations "incentives" to play certain songs.
  • AV Club's "Undercover" series features bands selecting covers off a slowly depleting list of songs. Once every so often, an artist is featured the same year that one of their songs is on the list. The only time one actually covered themselves was when Bob Mould bent the rules by choosing a song by the band Sugar, for which he was the lead singer. In the clip, he joked that Sugar and his solo career are distinct, and thus his performance was technically a "cover."
  • This news story involves a man bringing his Shetland pony into a liquor store - the man in question pointed out that the store had a sign forbidding dogs and cats, but didn't specify any other animals. This didn't really work out for him, but the store agreed not to press charges if he cleaned up the mess, and he is apparently still allowed in the store provided he never brings the pony inside again. After the incident, the store actually did post a “No Horses Allowed” sign.
  • In 1978, DC Comics was in danger of losing its flagship and namesake comic Detective Comics due to the "DC Implosion". However, someone had noticed that they had a title that was going strong, stronger than their other Bat-titles, Batman Family. Solution? Go ahead and cancel Detective Comics... then, rebrand Batman Family as Detective Comics starring Batman Family, give it the old numbering, and once sales petered out, just restore it as Detective Comics.
    • After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, an editorial mandate came down that Superman was to be the "Last Son of Krypton" once again, thus doing away with, among others, Supergirl. John Byrne got around that with the three-part storyline "The Supergirl Saga", which introduced a brand-new Supergirl...who was actually a protoplasmic entity created by an alternate universe Lex Luthor to replace his world's dead Superboy (the alternate universe was created so that the Legion of Super-Heroes didn't collapse under the lack of Superboy).
  • All-you-can-eat restaurants:
    • They will often charge different prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, which have different menu items. However, once you're in, you can stay and eat until you're full.note  So if a restaurant changes over to the (more expensive) dinner menu at 4:00, the proper thing to do is to come in at 3:55, pay for lunch, and wait five minutes.
    • Some restaurants managed to get around this by first enforcing a 2-hour seating limit (which is actually so that they have a good idea of when a table would open up) and then by closing down for just over 2 hours between services. Since they are closed, every patron, regardless of when they stepped in, must now pay and leave. Note that they tend to be civil about this and will notify you if you come in with less than 2 hours left that you won't have as much time as everyone else.
    • Most, dare we say the vast majority of buffet restaurants that have higher dinnertime pricing will not make you pay up-front, but instead present the check at the end of the meal. Being well aware of cheapskates trying to use the above-mentioned ploy, they typically mark certain foods as "dinner only", and charge extra if you came in for the lunch buffet and the server spotted more expensive dinner items on your plate.
  • In Mexico, films geared towards families are required to include a dub when shown in theaters. Since not everyone has the resources to include one, especially anime films, the Mexican distributors managed to avoid this by showing niche films as art films, as those films are not required to be dubbed, even if those films were NOT art films in their home countries. The biggest offenders of this are the Mexican releases of the Rebuild of Evangelion films and The Wind Rises. The Puella Magi Madoka Magica films were planned to be shown as this, but the Mexican release is still stalled, very probably because the licensor (in this case, Aniplex) wanted to release the films as mainstream films and not as art films.
  • In the UK, the 1996 film adaptation of Crash was banned by the local council in the City of Westminster (which includes most of the central London cinemas) after the Daily Mail launched one of the most unhinged censorious campaigns against a single film in the UK's living memory. However, anyone wanting to watch the film only had to walk along to the non-Westminster half of Shaftsbury Avenue - that is in the neighboring borough of Camden - to see it in a cinema there.
  • The FAA has regulations on what needs to be covered in the pre-flight safety briefing, including certain specific bits of phrasing. It does not, however, technically dictate the format of the briefing. As long as it's shown to every passenger and meets the content requirements, the airline is in the clear. Virgin America decided to make their safety briefing into a distinctly trippy, but regulation-compliant, music video.
    • On a similar note, Southwest Airlines is known amongst its customer base for making the pre-flight safety briefing as comedic and memorable as possible. They do cover everything the FAA says for them to cover and it is informative, but they do so in an irreverent way that keeps its passengers laughing. And paying attention.
  • In a tragic case, David Burke exploited two overlapping loopholes to bring a gun onboard Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771, which he used to hijack and crash the plane; the airport's policy that airline employees did not have to go through security screening, and the airline's lack of diligence about confiscating credentials from former employees. Because of the latter loophole, Burke retained his credentials despite having been fired for stealing, which he used to exploit the other loophole and sneak a gun through security. Due to the outcome of that incident, both loopholes have been eliminated: airports are no longer allowed to let anyone bypass screening, and airlines must confiscate all credentials from employees as soon as their employment is terminated (whether it's voluntary on the employee's part or not).
  • On February 1st, 2015, Monty Oum passed away due to a severe allergic reaction. Knowing the outpouring of support that would come of this, Rooster Teeth asked the fans not to send flowers or gifts, but just be creative, as that's what Monty would have wanted. They didn't say don't be creative with the flowers and gifts, as one anonymous fan laid out a line of rose petals across the driveway of their studio in honor of him.
  • When Disney bought Marvel, Universal Studios told them that they couldn't make any theme park rides using any heroes with the name Marvel on it in their Orlando or Tokyo Disney theme parks due to their own theme parks having exclusive contracts with them. However, Disney did not advertise Guardians of the Galaxy as a Marvel production, but as "From the studio that brought you Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America". Thus, they were able to put Star-Lord and Gamora in one of their parties.
  • A Chinese airport offered free meals at the place's restaurant for anyone carrying a ticket for a flight scheduled for that day. A man bought a first class ticket, ate his meal, and re-scheduled his flight for the next day, free of charge. He repeated the stunt for nearly a year before the airport noticed and told him to stop. The man then canceled his ticket, which was fully reimbursed, and left without ever getting on an airplane.
  • Airline pricing in general is arcane and invites this type of behavior. Very often a ticket A to C with a layover in B is cheaper than a ticket A to B. Of course, buying a ticket A to C and never getting on the flight B to C can get you anything from a shrug to being banned from ever flying with that airline ever again. Another frequently abused loophole is Lufthansa's AIRail, which sells you train tickets to the airport (for example from Stuttgart to Frankfurt Airport a distance too short for any type of flights to make economic sense) and gives you miles on said tickets. Sometimes the train does not cost extra but still brings miles. As there is no "checking in" on German trains, nobody can verify whether you actually ever boarded the train, but you get the miles regardless.
  • The Chicago Skyway is a 7.8-mile-long (12.6 km) toll road in Chicago carrying Interstate 90 from the Indiana state line to where it meets Interstate 94 in the Dan Ryan Expressway. The highlight is a truss bridge that spans the Calumet River and Calumet Harbor. The Skyway's official name is the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System as the result of a legal quirk. At the time of its construction, the city charter of Chicago did not provide the authority to construct a toll road. However, the city could build toll bridges, and it was also found that there was no limit to the length of the approaches to the bridge. Therefore, the Skyway is technically a toll bridge with a six-mile-long (9.7 km) approach on the west end. A consequence of this is that from the Dan Ryan to the bridge's west toll plaza, you can only exit the highway if you're headed towards Chicago. Likewise, if you're headed towards Indiana, there are only entrance ramps, and no exit ramps. Thus you can't leave the highway until you've passed through the toll plaza and crossed the bridge.
  • When MusicFest NorthWest arbitrarily banned food vendors from selling drinks, a food truck staged a rebellion with an "August Peanut Sale": 1 peanut for 1 dollar, comes with a free bottle of water.
  • It's believed that part of the reason for the suicide of former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez was motivated by a quirk in Massachusetts law that states the conviction of anyone who dies during the appeal process is automatically vacated, therefore the deceased is considered legally not guilty of the crime they were appealing. By dying during the appeal of his 2015 murder conviction, Hernandez's family could be able to sue for the salary and other benefits that the Patriots owed Hernandez under his contract that were cut off due to his conviction. It's known that Hernandez was aware of the law, and that he'd told his fiancée that she'd be rich when his appeal was allowed.
  • One common thing kids do is touch something, causing their parents and/or siblings to say "Don't touch that". Cue them holding their finger very close to the object or person they were not allowed to touch, but not close enough to actually touch, and saying "I'm not touching it!" to annoy them.
  • Gustav Stracke, a prominent German astronomer, had specifically asked that no asteroid be named after him. In 1932, another astronomer, Karl Reinmuth, had given eight asteroids (1227-1234) names of plants and flowers, the first letters of which spelled out GSTRACKE.
  • When Blazing Saddles proved successful, Warner Bros. wanted to take the rights to any sequels from Mel Brooks and make a franchise out of it. To prevent this from happening, Brooks' lawyers put in a contract that Warner would only have the rights to make sequels if they made a film or TV series within six months. The conditions were meant to be impossible to fulfill, since the studio couldn't possibly complete a film in six months, and the subject matter of the movie was far too vulgar for TV at the time. However, the contract never said anything about airing a show, only making one: Black Bart, the Blazing Saddles TV adaptation, only ever had its pilot broadcast, but they kept producing six episodes a year for four years with no intention of letting anyone see the series, abruptly "canceling" the show when they decided a sequel wasn't feasible after all.
  • Generally speaking, to get a video game certified for publication, the programming team has to fix any Game Breaking Bugs that could crash the game. When this is unfeasible in the time available, some games have bypassed this requirement by disguising a crash handler as a Cheat Code.
    • Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island contains a "secret level select menu" triggered when anything goes wrong, the most notable example of which would be punching the cartridge.
    • Mickey Mania has a "level warp", moving you forward or backward one level.
    • The New Tetris has a bug that was repeatedly reported, marked as fixed, and reproduced anyway. The tester jokingly suggested replacing the crash dump screen with instructions on how to input one of the game's cheat codes, and that's exactly what the developer did.
  • In 2018, six teenage boys in Kansas noted that there were no qualifications listed in the book for running for governor, so they're doing just that.
    Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state's office: "Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one, so there's seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing."
  • This is the origin of ABBA's wacky costumes. Back in The '70s and '80s, there was a law in the Swedish tax code that allowed the cost of stage outfits to be tax deductible as business expenses on the condition that the outfits were too outrageous to be worn on the street. ABBA took advantage of this by performing in absurd costumes, thus making their outfits tax deductible.
  • The first and third among highest-attended local films ever in Brazil are topped by a church-owned studio making the audience numbers of two religious films - The Ten Commandments (a Compilation Movie made out of an eponymous soap opera) and Nothing to Lose (the biography of the founder of said church) - much higher than they really are. Reports showed the "sold out" showings were often filled with empty seats, because congregations would buy all tickets and distribute them in cults or outside the theater to whoever would accept it. In one city, a single person connected to the church purchased every single ticket of The Ten Commandments for the first two weeks in theaters (a total of 22,700) to deploy this scheme. Thus, both movies broke 10 million tickets sold (a sum only two Brazilian movies, one being The Elite Squad 2, got without cheating by that point; a third managed it later, outgrossing The Ten Commandments but falling short of the other), even if many those aren't connected to actual spectators. The strategy didn't run so well with Nothing to Lose 2, which again had reports of empty but sold out screenings but had just half the ticket total with 6.1 million.
  • When the US entered World War I, there was a lot of anti-German sentiment by most Americans to the point they boycotted anything German, including food like Hamburg steak, as a show of support for American troops. Fans and cooks who made Hamburg steak, not wanting to stop serving the food but still wanting to be seen supporting the troops, changed the recipe a little and renamed the dish to Salisbury steak.
  • Part of the reason that AI can be a crapshoot is the difficulty of communicating what we actually want from it; usually this is done by finding some easily-measured quantity that correlates with the thing we really want the AI to do and telling it to maximize that. However, if you tell an AI to maximize X, it maximizes X, whether this involves doing what you wanted or not. Loopholes documented vary wildly, from "maximize score by discovering and exploiting a bug that gives you millions of points very quickly" to "maximize time before Game Over by pausing indefinitely". For some reason, though, several different programs seem to agree that the best way to go fast is to get really tall and then fall over. (Massive collaborative spreadsheet here.)
    • One project (as described in the article in the above link) involved students designing AI that could play Tic-Tac-Toe on an infinitely large board and pitting them against each other. One student won a lot of games because their AI saw much more of the board by default than other students' search-based programs, and its learning system realized that if you put your counter very far away from your opponents' move then they have to suddenly and dramatically broaden their field of view, leading to a memory overload that crashes their system and forces an automatic forfeit.
  • When Electronic Arts obtained exclusive rights to use Porsche cars in their games, it left other game developers unable to feature said cars in their racing titles. Except there was a workaround in the form of German Porsche specialist RUF Automobile, which produces their own line of vehicles using Porsche-sourced bodies. As the German government recognizes RUF as a manufacturer in their own right rather than merely a tuning house,note  this allowed developers to add Porsche-esque models in their games without having to deal with EA. EA's contract with Porsche has since expired, however, making the RUF loophole more or less unecessary unless someone buys exclusivity again.
  • Similar to how PC Gamer magazine used to give freebies for in-game cosmetics in their magazine, loads of other magazines used to include freebies inside. Such as codes for contest entries or cards for trading card games. There is no rule saying you have to buy the magazine in question — so people routinely used to go into supermarkets, take the freebies out, and then place the magazine back on the shelf. Some magazines caught on and started shipping them with plastic wrap, since stores do have a rule against opening books and product that were wrapped. Additionally, Ain't No Rule saying you have to buy the magazine or the book — you could read it in the store. Some storekeeps however start enforcing this. And, much like magazines, some ship their books inside plastic bags to keep people from reading it without buying.
  • GOG.com has changed their refund policy so that you can return digitally purchased games within a month, even if you've downloaded and played it. Ain't no rule saying you can't just beat the game in under a month and then get your money back or just copy the game (as it is DRM-free) and then refund the game! Some people like Ragnar Tørnquist of The Longest Journey fame have expressed apprehension that people would do just this, especially with shorter games like Draugen.
  • A failed attempt at loophole abuse was the 1995 album Help, for which various artists contributed new recordings all made on the same day in aid of the War Child charity. Because various artist compilations had been barred from the main UK albums chart since 1989, the record company tried to claim that all the acts involved were part of a one-off supergroup called War Child. The chart compilers didn't buy that, though the album did get a lot of extra publicity from the failed attempt, and was hugely successful regardless.
  • In China, Pizza Hut restaurants allow patrons one trip to the salad bar using the bowl provided. Some creative types realized that there was nothing in the rules limit how much salad they could load up, leading the creation of some elaborate towers.
  • For reasons of liability, adult guests are not allowed to attend Disney parks dressed recognizably as Disney characters - thus arose the concept of "Disney bounding", dressing in everyday attire carefully coordinated to suggest a character without potential for confusion with the official costumed characters who work at the park. For instance one could "Disney bound" Gaston with a red and yellow top and black pants accessorized with a belt and/or boots.
  • Some types of businesses allow you to place reservations/appointments (hotels and higher-end restaurants, for example), but will require a credit or debit card to make the reservation so that they can charge you if you try to cancel (usually within a timeframe on the order of a few days or hours). However, if you make the appointment or reservation with a card you know you're not going to be using for the next few days, you can just move the funds off the card (only if it's a debit card) and then request to cancel, and in this modern day and age of online bank accounts, you can just freeze the card then cancel. The business can't do anything about the transaction declining, and will just drop the charge. Of course, doing this, especially repeatedly, is a good way to get banned from that establishment, or possibly even end up on a shared shitlist used by local businesses.
  • Jona von Ustinov, father of actor Peter Ustinov, was working as a press officer for the German Embassy in London when the Nazis came to power in the 1930s. Seeing the writing on the wall, he got a secret job as a spy for MI-5 and applied for British citizenship. At the time, notices of citizenship applications were published in newspapers - something that would tip off the Germans if published in one of the London dailies. So instead, it was printed in a Welsh newspaper.
  • Shortly after the United States started building railroads, the United States Postal Service began contracting with railroads to transport mail, a practice that lasted up until the construction of highways following WWII. In the Uintah Basin of Utah, postal rates to Salt Lake City were based off the in-state rate, but the only railroad to the Basin ran an indirect course through Colorado. This meant that it was cheaper to send items by mail than by rail freight, even though they were carried on the same train routes. People caught on to this, to the point that a company building a new bank shipped thirty tons of bricks through the mail, each addressed individually. Since the Postal Service had to pay the full price of rail freight, this nearly bankrupted the Utah Division of the Postal Service, until they put the Uintah Basin in a special rate zone.
  • The contract for the film adaptation of The Polar Express stated that it must be a live-action film. Robert Zemeckis didn't want it to be live-action as it would be too expensive and lose the distinctive art style. The contract didn't say anything about the film using Motion Capture so it was decided to make the film entirely in the process.
  • This is the reasoning behind "candy toy" kits in Japan. Japanese laws tax toys, but place lower taxes on food items, and make it legal to sell food that comes with something else packaged in, similar to fast food toys. Because of this, many manufacturers will essentially sell full-fledged model kits with a single piece of flavorless gum or candy stuck inside to technically let it count as food.
  • In the 2020s, due to the spate of high profile incidents of gun violence in the United States, WB instituted a ban on firearm accessories for action figures of characters from the DC Universe. Obviously, this posed a problem for companies producing toys of DC characters who are known to use guns in the comics or films. McFarlane Toys managed to work around this by releasing a munitions accessory pack which, while technically designed to work with all of their 7-inch figures, included guns that were clearly intended to be used with their DC toys. These included No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of the Joker's long barrel revolver, Harley Quinn's rocket launcher, Peacemaker's Desert Eagle and Red Hood's dual pistols.
  • A Taiwanese man worked at a bank that gave employees eight days of paid leave when they married. He and his bride married, then got divorced at the end of the eight days, remarried, and repeated this four times, accumulating over a month of paid time off. His employer realized what he was doing and tried to deny him the paid time off, so the groom sued and won.


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