Several readers wrote in to mention that the copyright on the image of the character Popeye expired in the EU as the year began, 70 years since the death of its creator Elzie Segar. The US will have to wait until 2024, 95 years after Segar's death. Only Popeye's image is free of trademark in the EU; the name "Popeye" is still under copyright by King Features Syndicate. Popeye made his first appearance in a comic strip in 1929 and became hugely popular in the 1930s. The Times claims that Popeye now moves $2.8B of merchandise per year. Le Monde's coverage (in Google translation) mentions the real-life people in Segar's early experience who inspired some of the Popeye cast of characters. Popeye himself was based on the prize fighter Frank "Rocky" Fiegel.
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