Popeye the Sailor Man for All

This January the the drawings of Elzie Segar of his famous character Popeye have entered public domain in Europe.  Segar died in 1938 and protection rights to authors  ends after 70 years from death in the European Union.  Similar laws in the United States protects for 95 years after the initial copyright.

This expiration means anyone can print and sell posters, t-shirts, or create comic strips from Segar’s drawings.  Acording to an intellectual property specialist the Segar drawings are now free for anybody to create a thriving business.  But, if you sold a Popeye toy or other product you could be infringing on a trademark.

The Popeye trademark, a seperate entity to Segar’s authorial copyright is held by King Features which is expected to protect the brand.

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