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“I yam what I yam” including copyright-free: Popeye the Sailor enters the public domain

1935 First Edition Popeye BookOn January 1, Popeye the Sailor man becomes copyright-free and enters the public domain in the European Union. Creator, Elize Segar died in 1938 which means the timeframe specified in EU law of author’s rights for the duration of the author’s life + 70 years is up at the end of the year and the popular cartoon character becomes copyright-free.

In the United States, the copyright is protected for 95 years after the initial copyright meaning in the USA, Popeye is protected until 2024.

So what does this all mean? As of Thursday in the EU, anyone wishing to print and sell t-shirts, posters, shopping bags or other assorted Popeye paraphernalia, may  do so without first getting authorization or paying royalty fees.  Talented artists and writers can even create new Popeye comic strips.

With about £1.5billion in annual sales, there are sure to be a few people jumping on the Popeye bandwagon.

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