The Hergé heirs do not have the rights to the Tintin albums, according to the Dutch courts. The court’s decision was revealed by the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad this weekend, and other newspapers picked up the story on Monday. Moulinsart lost its appeal against the Hergé Genootschap association, a club of 680 Dutch Tintin fans. It was founded in 1999. The association publishes an internal review, “Duizend Bommen”, three times a year. It contains illustrated strips of Tintin’s adventures. Moulinsart sued Hergé Genootschap for publishing these stories without authorisation and without paying for the right to use them, Le Soir says.
Moulinsart claimed for damages and interest before the La Haye tribunal. But Hergé Genootschap’s defence surprised the prosecution by producing a publishing contract from 1942, in which Hergé explicitly gave all the rights to the texts and strips in the albums to Casterman.
Since the author died in 1983, Fanny Rodwell, Hergé’s universal legatee, has never disputed the contract. The La Haye court therefore ruled that Moulinsart did not have the right to claim anyt damages from Hergé Genootschap. This judgement could be expensive for Moulinsart, as all those who paid Moulinsart so they could use strips from Tintin albums might be able to claim a refund.