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"I write to inform you that, by the authority of this sub-committee, officers have been dispatched to place you under arrest, and we expect your full cooperation. Congratulations are in order, I suppose. When they write the new morality protocols for dealing with AI, I'm certain they will name entire sections of the doctrine after you."
The Chairman, Red vs. Blue

A rule or regulation is mentioned, and somebody pipes up that it's also known as "The (insert name) rule". For instance, let's say the scene is at a bar:


"Sorry, we don't let people prepare their own drinks. We had a couple of mishaps in the past with that, so management told us to stop it. We like to think of it as 'The Jack Jenkins Rule'".

Occasionally, when mentioning it, the speaker will look at the character in question glaringly (if he or she is nearby). If the rule is sufficiently strange, this doubles as a Noodle Incident, and if it's sufficiently specific, it overlaps with Strange Minds Think Alike.

Things merely named after the person who created or requested them don't count; it needs to be created in reaction to the person it's named after.



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    Comic Strips 
  • In Phoebe and Her Unicorn, several spells that Phoebe asks for are eventually restricted under the "Phoebe Howell Rule".

    Fan Works 
  • Preemptively done in The Weaver Option. When Taylor and Neferten sign a mutual assistance treaty, it has ten sections. Eight deal with the standard diplomatic, cultural, and military issues of such a treaty while the last two specifically cover how to handle Lelith and Trazyn respectively.

  • In Animorphs, the Andalite version of the Prime Directive is called the Law of Seerow's Kindness, after the Andalite who gave technology to the race that went on to use it to become the Big Bads of the series.
  • The Honerverse's Eridani Edict, preventing the use of a Colony Drop without first giving the planet a chance to surrender, is named after the world of Epsilon Eridani, which was leveled by such an attack.
  • Vorloupulos's Law in the Vorkosigan Saga, forbidding private armies, was renamed such after Lord Vorloupulos hired a horde of ex-soldiers as "cooks" in an attempt to get around the law and had them carve up his enemies with butcher knives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Home Improvement a rule limiting the amount of Christmas lights and electricity used in the neighborhood decorating contest was known as the "Tim Taylor Rule"
  • On Married... with Children the male strip clubs have a "Peggy Bundy Rule" forbidding women from going in the back room with dancers.

  • A Real Life example from the world of sports: The National Football League has numerous rules commonly (if unofficially) named after individual players. The "Emmitt Smith Rule", to give one example, prohibits a player from removing his helmet on the field while the game clock is running. Its name derives from the former Dallas Cowboys running back's predilection for throwing off his helmet after scoring touchdowns.
  • In Cricket, to "Mankad" is for the bowler to run out the non-striker batsman while they are backing up, after Vinoo Mankad of India, who did this to Australian Bill Brown in 1947. While not illegal, such an act is considered unsportsmanlike by many and likely to be highly controversial.
  • In Rugby League, John Hopoate became infamous after it was revealed that, when tackled, he had a habit of causing the tackler to loosen his grip by sticking his fingers into their rectum. "Hopoate" became Australian slang for such an act.
  • In 2008, a National Hockey League player named Sean Avery spent a substantial amount of time waving his hands in the face of opposing goaltender Martin Brodeur and generally being a pest to him, eventually leading to a goal. This move wasn't technically against the rules at the time. Less than a day later, the league amended the rule so that if another player tries it, he can get a penalty. Unsurprisingly, the rule was informally named after Avery.
    • Martin Brodeur himself also had a rule named after him. The standard was for goalies to cover the goal when the puck was behind the goal line, and a goalie playing the puck was risking losing control of the situation fast and allowing an easy goal. But Brodeur would not only get out and play the puck behind the goal line, he was exceptionally talented at doing so; opposing players complained that it was like his team had an extra defenseman, because their attempts to move the puck down the ice were hampered by Brodeur's willingness to leave the crease and send it back. Partway through his career and as a result of the 2004 lockout, the NHL instituted "the Brodeur rule", marking a trapezoid behind the net, which was the only place goaltenders were legally permitted to play the puck behind the line and which limited a roaming goalie's ability to clear the puck rather than just send it to the corner for the skaters to fight over. The rule had very minimal effect outside of Brodeur (who was arguably a once-a-generation talent and has been retired for years), and international rules do not include the trapezoid.
  • The National Hockey League had once had a huge problem with the Edmonton Oilers: they would send out any unimportant player to intentionally get offsetting minors with their opponent. This would set up a 4 on 4 situation, where the Oilers could send out their top line run by Wayne Gretzky. The combination would typically dominate any line they came up against. To prevent this from getting out of hand, the "Wayne Gretzky rule" was introduced, where offsetting minors were played in a 5 on 5 situation. The rule was revoked in 1992, a few years after Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles, but is still active in IIHF (international) play.
  • An exception in the National Basketball Association's salary cap exists called the "Larry Bird exception", after Larry Bird being the first player re-signed under a rule where teams could exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own players. Two other variations exist, the "non-Bird exception", and the much punnier "Early Bird exception", which, as the name suggests, applies to certain players in free agency who were early in their career with a team.
  • The NCAA rule banning artificial noisemakers at events is called the "RPI Rule", from the time that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute gave out vuvuzelas to all attendees at the annual Big Red Freakout.
    • The NCAA mandate that all Division I schools with a football team must play football at the Division I level is often called the "Dayton rule", because the University of Dayton was a dominant team in Division III football in The '80s while keeping the rest of their sports in Division I.
  • Major League Baseball has the "Ted Turner Rule", banning any team owner or stock holder from a coaching position, after Turner's aborted 1977 attempt to manage the Atlanta Braves. Turner sent regular manager Dave Bristol on a two-week "vacation" to take the reins himself. He managed one game before the Commissioner's Office and the other owners stepped in.
    • A more recent unofficially-named rule in MLB is the "Chase Utley Rule", cracking down on "takeout slides", in which baserunners slide into opposing fielders instead of the base in order to break up double plays. The rules had already banned this, but it wasn't enforced in practice. After a playoff game where a takeout slide broke Rubén Tejada's leg, the rule was updated over the off-season and colloquially named for Chase Utley, the baserunner in question. A similar rule for collisions at home plate is the "Buster Posey Rule", named for a catcher who was injured in a play similar to Utley's.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The supervillain guild on The Venture Bros. has a number of hostage-related regulations named after Doctor Venture, since he was constantly getting kidnapped as a boy hero.
  • The Simpsons: In "Holidays of Future Passed", Lisa complains about her teenage daughter and wishes that strangling your child was still legal, to which Marge replies "Not since they passed Homer's Law."

    Real Life 
  • Much more serious examples are in law, with an unfortunate number as a direct result of the abduction and murder of whoever the law is named after. These include the AMBER Alert system, Megan's Law, Caylee's Law, and more. This can appear for laws which have nothing to do with abductions or murder. For instance, Sweden has several laws whose common-use name is Lex [First Name], such as Lex Sarah (about treatment of the elderly and those with disabilities) Lex Maria (about reporting duties within healthcare) and Lex Pernilla (about the requirement for all sold food products to be marked with packaging and best-before days).
  • The Directors Guild of America reserves the right to slap a producer with a huge fine if he fires a DGA-affiliated director and replaces him with a current member of the cast or crew. They call this the "Eastwood Rule," after Clint Eastwood's behavior while making The Outlaw Josey Wales.
  • A Real Life commodities exchange rule designed to prevent investors from getting ruined by sudden massive changes in commodity prices as happened in Trading Places is known as the "Eddie Murphy" Rule.
  • 'The Goldwater rule' is an informal name for an ethical guideline proscribing psychiatrists from 'diagnosing' people they've never actually examined, named after Barry Goldwater, who was targeted by this.
  • The International Olympic Committee has an "Eddie the Eagle rule" requiring all contestants to have a minimal level of established success in international competitions in their sport, named after a man who went to the Olympics as a ski-jumper, despite not being very experienced at it.

Alternative Title(s): Skippy Rules


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