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Tintin shops

#1 · Posted: 6 May 2005 04:17
This question was prompted by reading the thread about the UK bookshops called Ottakar's. Apparently it is not necessary for Tintin merchandise (besides books) to be sold by a Moulinsart-owned company. How would one be granted permission to open a Tintin-related shop?
#2 · Posted: 6 May 2005 06:14
I don't think you require permission as such unless you intend to use copyrighted materials in the logo.

You'd just need to have the suppliers of Tintin related merchandise

#3 · Posted: 6 May 2005 07:59
Apparently it is not necessary for Tintin merchandise (besides books) to be sold by a Moulinsart-owned company.

I take it from this that you think that The Tintin Shop is owned by Moulinsart? I don’t believe that that is the case, although Nick Rodwell may be involved in both.

As for permission, well I agree entirely with Rik: I am sure that Moulinsart are delighted when any shop takes merchandise.

Remember that Moulinsart doesn’t make the goods - they get applications from companies (such as Swatch, just to give an example) to use Tintin, and if succcessful, that company pays Moulinsart a royalty. In the example, it is up to Swatch to get the watches into the shops, not Moulinsart.
#4 · Posted: 6 May 2005 16:39
Well thinking about if further I doubt the Tintin shop has any real affiliation with Moulinsart which is probably why you could almost walk past it without really noticing its a Tintin shop by the sign.

Egmont publish the UK Books, Casterman the French ones and they'd be more than happy to find a regular purchaser of Tintin books. Again with the models, etc.

The Tintin Shop seldom has anything special or exclusive bar the rare book editions they have done, it's mostly just the books and merchandise they have sourced from Belgium.

To be honest when I went to it I was rather underwhelmed at the level of stock.

I thought about opening one myself in Preston (where I live) but that was before I discovered my idea had been stolen and implemented in London already

#5 · Posted: 7 May 2005 04:33
Thanks to both of you who responded!

As I live in the States, do any added complications exist? Would I simply need to get in touch with the U.S. publisher (Little, Brown)?

By the way, I once talked to the people at Karikter, the San Francisco-based shop that sells Tintin items over here (it's far, far away from where I live), and they told me that they have their own buyer in Belgium. Would this be necessary?

Thanks again.
#6 · Posted: 7 May 2005 08:29
Maybe it would and maybe it wouldn't. Someone in Belgium where almost all the stuff you can buy is for would be able to keep you far more up to date with merchandise than you yourself could probably find out.

But then again if you just kept your eye on the websites you would probably be ok and I'm sure the makers of Tintin stuff would be happy to keep you informed

Should be no problem with Little Brown over Casterman really, just order what you need from them. I'm sure they'd be delighted

#7 · Posted: 9 May 2005 00:07 · Edited by: Jyrki21
Let me disclaim right off the bat that this is not legal advice, but legal information. :)

OK, yes, you do not need to hold intellectual property (copyright/trademark) in a concept in order to use it, provided that it is either done with permission or constitutes "fair use" (which varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction).

But in any event, you wouldn't need to get licensed in order to sell Tintin-related merchandise (as mentioned above, you're doing them a favor in any event), since it's the producers of the merchandise who need to do that. As the store owner, all you'd be doing is hawking goods, not holding yourself out as an extension of the Tintin franchise.

But, like the official Tintin shops in Belgium, in order to use the name "Tintin" (or a related idea) in the title/signage of your store, you'd have to get licensed. Not because of copyright infringement, but because of trademark infringement. (Moulinsart owns the rights to use the word 'Tintin' or a depiction of Hergé characters in order to sell goods). This is for the same reason that you wouldn't be able to start a line of Tintin laundry detergent or hard candies or anything else... because you'd be profiting off of someone else's goodwill (without their permission) in order to do so.

Hope that helps! (And I'll also throw in that I took exactly one intellectual property course a year ago, so I'm not holding myself out as the slightest authority...)

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