Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, fans, tintin

Be Careful Writing About Tintin; The Lawyer For The Tintin Estate Might Sue

from the tintin-tintin-tintin dept

I've never quite understood how various brands decide to go about attacking their biggest fans, but sometimes common sense isn't so common. Robert Ring sends in a story from a few weeks ago, about how the lawyer who represents the estate of the guy who created the cartoon character Tintin has been suing fans who have written about Tintin, including a guy named Bob Garcia who had written five essays about Tintin. According to the original report:
"One pamphlet drew links between his twin passions -- Tintin and Sherlock Holmes. Another looked at the cinematographic references in Herge's works. Two of the five, printed on average 500 times, used 'graphical citations' of Tintin drawings."
In the US, this would clearly be fair use. In the UK, where this is happening? Garcia "has been ordered by British courts to hand over £35,000 or face the possibility of having his house and belongings seized." In response, many people are organizing a boycott of the new Tintin movie. Nice work. In overstepping common sense bounds to try to squeeze a tiny bit more money out of a fan who was just writing about a character, this lawyer has succeeded in getting people to proactively shun the movie.

Of course, the link above also points out that the lawyer, Nick Rodwell, has a bit of a history making somewhat questionable decisions in dealing with how others perceive Tintin. Apparently, last year, his own blog on had to be shut down after he accused some journalist critics of not liking him or Tintin because "the children of those critics had autism and couldn’t appreciate Tintin." Oh, and did we mention that the reason Rodwell is representing the estate of Tintin creator Herge is because he married Herge's widow?

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