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Image of Popeye Enters Public Domain In the EU

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the yam-what-he-yam dept.

The Media 229

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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229 comments

Finally... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322435)

Yes! Now I can finally start selling my comics with fanfic of Popeye's adventures when he still was a sailor.
Lemme tell you, those are some saucy drawings! And you thought that spinach -only- grew his arm muscles?

Re:Finally... (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323871)

and i can finally make references to popular 1930's cartoon characters in my artistic works! hurray for copyright laws! god forbid we let artists/writers make references to popular cartoon characters while they're still culturally relevant!

i just wish Matt Groening would hurry up and die so that i can wait 70 years after that to make references to popular 90's cartoon icons.

Re:Finally... (-1, Troll)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323983)

Perhaps you should consul and copyright lawyer now and learn about the copyright laws and you might not have to wait at all.

Just a thought..

With Jews, you lose. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322437)

I'm glad I don't have a whole country full of deceitful, greedy kikes stealing all my water and land anywhere near me. Fucking Jews can't just live in peace. They have to steal other people's land. Our national economy is collapsing from the Jewbanks doing their usual Jewthing. You see, with Jews, you lose. That's how THEY win. They WIN by making YOU lose. So let's lose the Jews.

Global warming could be swiftly solved if we incinerated all of the Jews. Their ashes would be ejected into the upper atmosphere, where they would block some sunlight from hitting the earth. The economy would improve thanks to the absence of Jewish predatory lending, and it would buy us time to deal with climate change. Two birds, one stone.

Fun with Facts:

  • Isreal has a Jewish population of 5,309,000.
  • America has a Jewish population of 5,275,000.

Guess who really owns America? Hint hint, it isn't the Americans.

Captcha: Perfects

Re:With Jews, you lose. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322869)

Guess who really owns America?

The Japanese.

Re:With Jews, you lose. (-1, Offtopic)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322935)

Guess who really owns America?

The Japanese.

Wait. The other troll says it's "the Jews." Now I don't know who to believe.

We used to sing a Popeye song (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323401)

To the Popeye cartoon theme music:

I'm Popeye the sailor-man
I pee in an old tin can
I turn up the heater
And burn up my weiner
I'm Popeye the sailor-man!

Re:With Jews, you lose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323907)

They sold it to the chinese two years ago. Get on with the program.

Stuff that matters? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322439)

Slashdot, now with more Wikipedia trivia!

Ztuff z'at m'tours? (0, Flamebait)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322805)

Shouldn't we be reading this on slashdot.eu, instead?

Re:Ztuff z'at m'tours? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322877)

We shouldn't be reading this on Slashdot at all until they hire an editor to review IP related entries with at least a cursory understanding of what the hell he or she is approving.

Don't worry, Olive! (5, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322489)

The very existence of Mickey Mouse guarantees that nothing will ever again enter the public domain in the good old USA.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322771)

The very existence of Mickey Mouse guarantees that nothing will ever again enter the public domain in the good old USA.

Just curious why it is critically important for the characters to be in public domain? People will still make money off them if they are in public domain but the parent company will likely loose business and have to lay off people. Why? Why does the public have rights over and above the creator? I ask this as an artist that has copyrighted characters. I'd rather have my grandchildren benefit from my creations than some guy that has a sweat shop in China cranking off cheapie knock offs. How is society better off from artists loosing rights to their work? Oh they're dead so what does it matter? To me it feels like stealing the pennies off their eyes. I often wonder about releasing some work to the public because in the end the only true way in our society to control your work is to not publish it ever. I no longer have the financial need so why not just keep my work for family and friends? Society won't benefit, it's an AC post so you don't know who this is, but at least I'll control my creations. I understand if there is no remaining family but why shouldn't the rights pass to the surviving family much as physical property does? In some ways an artist's creation should have more protection than personal property since it is a part of themselves yet it has far less protection. My family home can still be in the family in 500 years but my work will belong to anyone that wants to reproduce it for a quick buck. It may seem straight forward to non artists but it's an upsetting subject for many artists. I've largely decided to draw a line between commercial and personal work and what I deem personal will never be released to the public. It's my choice and ultimately it is the only real control I have.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322885)

Proprietary information restricts freedom of expression. Its basically a patented way of thinking(which only corporations can afford to use).
Yet, chinese copies could be called Smackey Mice with slightly altered looks and still sell. Its the people who want to use Mickey Mouse in their works who are affected.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322923)

In 500 years, assuming two descendant per generation
and 4 generation per century we get 2^20 descendants: approximately a million.

How are you going to divide this intellectual property among the family members ? And in 800 years, we get 2^32: 4 billions. Meaning mostly everyone in America will be your descendant (unless your line dies fairly early leaving you with no descendants). Does it make sense passing intellectual property that far ?

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322933)

Characters going into the public domain is repayment to society for society enforcing your exclusive rights over the characters for a number of years. If you don't like them going into public domain, tough luck - without them eventually going public domain there's no good reason for society to enforce copyright.

The alternative, I think, is paying property tax on your copyrights just for holding them.

The idea is to encourage you to make new things, after all, not to keep making money off the same old idea. Of course that doesn't really work with modern copyright terms...

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323705)

Insightful???? How exactly is society enforcing copyright? Does the copyright police come around to your house to enforce copyright? Which department in the government "enforces" copyrights? If copyrights were enforced Hollywood and the record companies wouldn't need armies of lawyers. A stupid excuse for yet more abuse of artists rights. Artists get it from both side the corporations and the public. Ever consider part of the reason music, movies and books are getting so bad is because artists are getting fed up? Several of the greatest living writers gave up early in their careers. Other writers burned unpublished works before they died. Painters have destroyed their own works and the work of some film makers has gone unseen. It's the rampant disrespect that I find sickening. Within three years I'm retiring into the business world and nothing I do after that will be public. Hopefully others will do the same. The primary reasons for my departure are piracy and the way artists are treated by everyone. At this stage I'd rather run a company and keep some people working than continue as an artist. At least I own my business.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (5, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323767)

I think rms put it best:

Control over the use of one's ideas really constitutes control over other people's lives; and it is usually used to make their lives more difficult.

I wouldn't even say that characters entering the public domain is 'repayment' for anything. Rather, the exclusive right for a limited number of years is a special boon, and freedom for everyone to use the idea is the default state in the absence of special laws creating a new kind of property.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (5, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322963)

Its this simple: Why should anyone make money from one idea over again for rest of ther life?

Socienty does not benefit by encouraging certain people to parasite on it for rest of their life for less than days job. Society benefits from those people continuing to create.

If you, an artist and want to make money, keep producing art. That simple. Works for every other job, you are not superhuman deserving different treatment.

If someone can succesfully make cheapie knockoffs without your cooperation, then they deserve money and you don't, because you had opportunity to be first, to be brand, to abuse new fad before it becomes old fad, to be The guy to come to when they want to make knockoffs and just missed it or werent good enough.

Socienty does not need institutionalized freeloaders.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (5, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323245)

This isn't even someone profiting from it for their entire life. It's about someone profiting from it 95 years after they die.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323833)

It is an asset of some sort. If copyright entered the public domain purely on merit that the owner is dead, you would have to also release his other properties freely to the public. I don't think you'll get much support for that.

But I like the idea stated earlier, that property tax should be paid on all intellectual property. Hopefully creating extra headache to calculate the value of properties you are hoarding for the sake of hoarding.

I think that would protect people with good ideas while stopping douchebaggery.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (-1, Flamebait)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323759)

People who come up with ideas and work hard selling them are freeloaders? Spoken like a real pinko. I never realized my talents are only as good as the services they can freely offer you...

In reality, we protect ownership of ideas so that they will be created in the first place. If he didn't have protection for Popeye in the first place, he'd probably never would have bothered let alone go on to make a second famous character.

Men with ideas want protection, men without want no such thing.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (3, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323985)

Pinko? How old are you?

It's a social contract (also known as government). The rationale is that the government will protect your little ideas in exchange for the fact that - after you make your money off them - everybody else gets to use them, for anything, freely.

Otherwise, what's the benefit? Society as a whole doesn't give two shits for your ideas, and won't protect them, unless there's something in it for us.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324035)

How is that contract not happening now? 70 or 90 years after their death doesn't make any difference in that contract. Well, unless you think society is only now when your here.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323803)

It's this simple: Why should any one make money from someone else's idea over again for the rest of their life? Society does not benefit by encouraging whoever has the greatest marketing force to monetarily "acquire" whatever art they can find. Society benefits from artists continuing to create, which is contingent upon artists being able to make a reasonable living from their own art, rather than inadvertently funding someone who happened to be faster and richer than they were. If you are someone who wants to make money from a so-called "IP", make one yourself, or work out an agreement with the creator. It's that simple. Society does not need institutionalized freeloaders.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324159)

That argument might stand except the U.S. still leads in creative and art development.

Hollywood still leads any other country that try to produce movies, the quality still stands far superior.

Compared to countries with very lax and socialistic laws towards copyright, they do not seem to produce that much creatively or music/video/games.

I hear about how that will be the downfall of the U.S. around here, but yet to see any real world results or economic figures. Hollywoods creative minds continue to flourish and they still seem to flock there to share their ideas.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324189)

Socienty does not need more institutionalized freeloaders.

There, fixed it!

Re:Yes, worry! (5, Informative)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322965)

We're not talking about "the artist" here, we're talking about a huge media conglomerate. Here's the irony with current copyright law: back when the 17-year copyright was first enacted, the means of production and distribution were far more limited than they are today. Because corporations have much easier access to potential customers, they can make far more money, far faster than they ever could in the past. And yet, there's this insane belief that the copyright needed to be extended. If anything, it should have been shortened to take into account the benefits brought by advances in technology. I dare say those who initiated the idea of copyright ever envisioned multi-billion-dollar corporations creating a stranglehold on the sale and distribution of works that define our culture.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322983)

The parent wasn't just talking about characters.

Even if characters were the only issue, how many old-European tales did Disney use because he could (they were in the public domain after all)?

And why should my descendants, say 10 generations from now, get to control my work? And if I'm lucky that my work is high enough quality that future generations will appreciate it, I'd want it to be accessible to people who share my common interests. Not those who share have a minuscule portion of my DNA.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322987)

Would you like to pay some tax for society allowing you the privilege of exclusive use of these ideas? Hmm, no, I thought not. Then perhaps it would not kill you (pun intended) to allow society to use this stuff 95 years after you die?

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (5, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323141)

Why does the public have rights over and above the creator?

The creator enjoys the protection of the law that *stops* other people making copies of that character. You're already operating from the assumption that an artist has the inherent moral right to stop anyone making copies of his or her work.

Let me make clear that I'm not one of Slashdot's kneejerk anti-IPers. I strongly believe that the time and effort put into creating intellectual (as opposed to physical) works should have the same *opportunity* to be rewarded as physical work or service. Nor do I agree that no-one ever loses out from "piracy". So copyright is (ideally) the protection of *potential* income from intellectual works.

Still, the assumption that the creator should enjoy the protection of the state forever and ever on their works is one some people could reasonably disagree with.

I understand if there is no remaining family but why shouldn't the rights pass to the surviving family much as physical property does?

Regardless of whether some people call it intellectual property, the fact remains that it isn't the same as physical property.

Our culture is built upon the works of previous cultures and their intellectual works. To impose copyright and similar intellectual protection for generations would ultimately have the effect of tying up our current and future popular culture and make it impossible to build upon it in the same way that previous generations have.

Can you imagine how hard it would have been for the creators of Popeye if they hadn't been able to use *any* previous elements, even getting down to the basic structure of the story and the setup? (e.g. Two guys fighting over one girl; sorry, the Greeks have a copyright on that from 2000 years ago, etc.) And yes, IIRC, some people *were* wanting to copyright things down to that sort of level on modern creations.

You probably know (or ought to know) that many of Disney's classic works are based on public domain material and characters that they never paid a cent for. The company is one of the arch-hypocrites when it comes to intellectual property.

My family home can still be in the family in 500 years but my work will belong to anyone that wants to reproduce it for a quick buck.

Your original artwork will still be in the family in 500 years, if they haven't sold it off. You just won't have the right to stop other people making copies of it.

And while you can hold on to the house, you can't hold on to it *and* have the benefit of selling it. Sure, you can rent it out and stuff, so the edges are blurred; but as I said, physical and intellectual property aren't the same thing and can't always be compared. With IP, you can sell copies of it *and* retain the original rights.

I often wonder about releasing some work to the public because in the end the only true way in our society to control your work is to not publish it ever.

That's your choice.

I no longer have the financial need so why not just keep my work for family and friends?

Ditto. Though I'd burn it before you die, as if it's really as important as you seem to think, some descendant will probably release it anyway- likely before the copyright expires in order to make money as well.

It may seem straight forward to non artists but it's an upsetting subject for many artists.

No-one ever said life was perfect. I agree that it's sometimes unpleasant that some creatively bankrupt advertising f*****t can cheapen a piece of out-of-copyright classical music by using it for some lousy product, but that's an unfortunate side effect of something that is desirable on the whole.

Upsetting? Perhaps, but they have to decide whether the trade-off of releasing their work is worth it; they already enjoy the better part of a lifetime's protection in many cases, and that's a lot more than many people have over their physical creations and/or labour.

I've largely decided to draw a line between commercial and personal work and what I deem personal will never be released to the public. It's my choice and ultimately it is the only real control I have.

That's your choice. Of course, your personal work will never have the benefit of being seen by and becoming a part of public culture and will (or should) vanish into obscurity, but that's a tradeoff you have the right to make.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324147)

I agree that it's sometimes unpleasant that some creatively bankrupt advertising f*****t can cheapen a piece of out-of-copyright classical music by using it for some lousy product, but that's an unfortunate side effect of something that is desirable on the whole.

True. On the other hand, we'd also be missing things like Procol Harum's Whiter Shade Of Pale, among others [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323263)

Just curious why it is critically important for the characters to be in public domain? People will still make money off them if they are in public domain but the parent company will likely loose business and have to lay off people. Why? Why does the public have rights over and above the creator? I ask this as an artist that has copyrighted characters. I'd rather have my grandchildren benefit from my creations than some guy that has a sweat shop in China cranking off cheapie knock offs. How is society better off from artists loosing rights to their work?

It's interesting that you characterize the beneficiaries of limited copyright being sweat shop. Meanwhile, you've already breezed by one of the most well-known beneficiaries of the public domain: Disney.

Disney's portfolio is littered with stories from the Public Domain (starting with Snow White). Many of those stories are some of the best examples of classic Disney work.

Another interesting aspect of copyright is religion. Religion is one of the fundamental aspects of society. Religious texts are published, copies, and scrutinized by both true believers and critics. Can you imagine the Roman Catholic Church claiming copyright over the Bible? If you're a critic of Scientology, you can.

I often wonder about releasing some work to the public because in the end the only true way in our society to control your work is to not publish it ever. I no longer have the financial need so why not just keep my work for family and friends? Society won't benefit, it's an AC post so you don't know who this is, but at least I'll control my creations.

You're under the delusion that you own and control your creations.

In some ways an artist's creation should have more protection than personal property since it is a part of themselves yet it has far less protection. My family home can still be in the family in 500 years but my work will belong to anyone that wants to reproduce it for a quick buck.

And now I see why you have this idea. Ideas are not property. Again - at best you have copyright and / or trademarks. These are often referred to as "intellectual property" for simplicity. But they are not real property.

It may seem straight forward to non artists but it's an upsetting subject for many artists. I've largely decided to draw a line between commercial and personal work and what I deem personal will never be released to the public. It's my choice and ultimately it is the only real control I have.

That will work until eventually those works enter the public awareness via a distant relative's actions or death. And then, once the issue of copyright is worked out, the public has just as much access to your work as ever.

The only control you can exert on the future is to destroy your work now while you're alive. Obliterate it. Make it as if it never existed. Undo your work if control is that much more important that creativity. Otherwise you're going to have to accept that ideas outlive their creators and are beyond control of mortal man.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323349)

Can you imagine the Roman Catholic Church claiming copyright over the Bible?

News Corp International own that one. Seriously, Zondervan are part of News Corp and own the copyright on the arguably the most widely used version, the NIV (and variations). FWIW.

pbhj

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323313)

Oh Boo fucking hoo. A company has had more than enough time to make money off of their creation. The deal with copyright is that it is a contract between the people and the creator. We provide the creator with a Government mandated monopoly for a LIMITED time in exchange for the eventual entrance of that work into public domain so we the people can enjoy it as part of our culture. The creator or creators of a work live high off the hog with the system we have in place. Who do you think pays for all that copyright enforcement, who do you think pays for keeping those laws on the books and especially criminal prosecution of copyright infringement? We the tax paying citizens do. What you're saying is that we should enforce the monopoly of someone's creation until the end of time.

Also please tell me this. Why should the children and grand children be able to leech off of Royalties of their late parent or grandparent's work? They had no part in creating it, so why should creations be treated as an inherited estate. If you cannot profit off of your work while you are alive for an amount of time less than the rest of your life, maybe you need to create something that does. The copyright system has been oppressively anti-consumer and anti-creativity and more pro-business as time goes by.

I live your statement about a creation being an extension of an artist. I am sorry you live in a society and if you create and RELEASE something that has value to other people, they will want to read, watch, play with your creation. If you don't think that is such a fair deal, do not release it and you don't have to worry about making money off of it. Honestly you pro-retarded copyright people are sickening. You think just because you release something that you want to sell, that the Government should lick your ass for the rest of eternity. You seem to forget that some of the greatest songs, movies, books, etc have been produced as derivative works that were out of copyright of copyright. Look at half the Disney cartoons released, most of them are movie adaptations of public domain stories. I am sure Disney at the time wouldn't have cared of the copyright system in it's current state but now that they are top dog in the content arena they can have incumbent views. Copyright is supposed to be a fair deal so that you, the creator can benefit, and in exchange for us recognizing that you yourself have control over your work, we expect something in return.

Also do you think that people in general are so rigid and static that they cannot adapt to sane copyright laws or even the idea of something going into public domain? Here is a quick example: A movie that company X has had the copyright to for many years suddenly goes out of copyright. They have several choices in what they can do to still make money.

1) Company X can just keep selling DVDs of that movie for a decent market price but realize that anyone else can do so.
2) Company X can release a remake or create a derivative work off of that movie, creating a copyright over that new adaptation
3) All of the above.

These are fairly decent ways to still make money off your out of copyright creation however you seem to think that we should take a cue from the RIAA and MPAA and force the market to bend to our will rather than following the market. You want to keep something in copyright forever because a few people my magically lose jobs. If your business model is solely based on squeezing aging works for every dollar they have rather than building on top of them, you deserve to go out of business.

But like I said, if you don't like it, don't release your work. The World will get along fine without your mediocre work (if you are that anal about keeping it secret and a monopoly for an eternity + 1 day, it isn't worth the medium it exists on)

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323635)

Why is it so critical that generations worth of people, who did nothing to create the work get money out of it while tax payer money is spent protecting your work?

People were not born with the right to copyright. The government gave it to you with the understanding that it becomes becomes public domain after a certain period.

If copyright was indefinite eventually it would be so hard to create something without someone claiming you're infringing on their copyright so it has to end no matter how greedy an artist is.

For all you know, if copyright was indefinite your work might be similar enough for someone to take you to court.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323991)

Just curious why it is critically important for the characters to be in public domain?

Copyright is a contract between you and the public. In exchange for the incentive for producing more work, society is willing to grant a temporary monopoly on that work. It's not the other way around. It has already been abused and warped to where it does too much harm. As has been mentioned elsewhere, a reasonable compromise now would be to impose increasing taxes as the copyright ages. That way the very successful works get a longer monopoly, while the rest naturally fall back into the public domain where everyone can benefit. The "grandchildren" not having to work is not so important. I write this as someone who will one day inherit a fairly large body of copyrighted work. But I still think it's wrong.

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322915)

"The very existence of Mickey Mouse guarantees that nothing will ever again enter the public domain in the good old USA."

Dude, seriously, GET OVER IT. Waaaaah! Waaaaah! A company owns a copyright on a character which they are using to generate revenue! Waaaah! It's so unfair! Waaaaaah!

Why not come up with your own lovable and globally adored character that you can place into the public domain, instead of endlessly bitching about it?

If you really, really hate Disney and all the copyright trolls, then why not just boycott the firm and their franchises, instead?

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323475)

Fine dipshit, why don't you pay property tax on your creation so we don't have to bare the burden on your copyright hardons. I am sick and tired of you fuckfaces thinking that a company has a right to an idea for the rest of time. We the people enforce the rights so that Disney can benefit. All society is asking is that after a LONG LONG time it gets put into common culture.

Your phrase should be:

"Waaaah waaah! A company that owns a copyright that the people pay for through the courts and enforcement doesn't want to pay back society for generations of enforcement so they can squeeze a few extra bucks out of stagnant ideas!"

When your phrase gets deciphered into that, you start to really sound like a douchebag. If you really, really hate Society and all those advocated that think public domain should be fair, stop benefiting off of society. Leave the country, go find a remote island to live off of. Burn all your possessions that have benefited off of the public domain and just leave aka boycott society. Why not come up with 2000+ years of civilization on your own instead of bitching about people wanting copyright to be reasonable.

Without public domain what's the point of copyright?

Re:Don't worry, Olive! (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324151)

Disney is a greedy shithouse which either uses public domain works for free (Hunchback, Pocahontas, Mulan, Snow White) or tries to trick people into selling their IP for a pittance. E.g. when they tried to get the rights to the Dr. Dolittle stories and offered the pricenly sum of $7,500 for the perpetual rights to the books, characters, merchandising etc. and the same for whatever other works he had written or would write in the future.

They got a "no".

Sadly, the A. A. Milne descendants did not have the sense to say so, so Disney are leeching off the Winnie the Pooh universe so much they possibly can.

And do I really have to remind you of "Uncle Walt", where the actual creators and artists were denied credit because if this saintly image they were creating? How can you defend that POS company?

Errmmm... (1, Insightful)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322515)

Today- 2009- 70 years after his death apparently, and also 2024 will be 95 years? MATH ERROR?

Re:Errmmm... (5, Funny)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322559)

Seems that 2024 - 2009 = 25, which apparently is the same as 95 - 70. Whodathunkit?

Re:Errmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322581)

Say what now? Check that math again.

Re:Errmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322617)

HA HA!

Re:Errmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322807)

Ow. Math faceplant.

Re:Errmmm... (2, Informative)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322641)

From the article:

From January 1, the iconic sailor falls into the public domain in Britain under an EU law that restricts the rights of authors to 70 years after their death.

While the copyright is about to expire inside the EU, the character is protected in the US until 2024. US law protects a work for 95 years after its initial copyright.

The 70 years began with the death of the author. The American 95 years began with the initial copyright. Two different dates to initiate things. So the gap between them ending need not equal the difference between 95 and 70. So it was not a math error but a reading comprehension error on your part.

Re:Errmmm... (3, Informative)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322683)

From the summary: "The US will have to wait until 2024, 95 years after Segar's death."

So the summary actually has it's maths wrong- it literally says that it's 70 years from Segar's death to now, and ALSO 95 years from Segar's death to 2024. 2024 is indeed when the copyright expires- but it ISN'T 95 years after Segar's death.

ahh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322541)

to celebrate, I just took a shit the size of popeye's arm. Actually, it had less to do with popeye being in the public domain and more to do with that giant dildo my girlfriend ass-fucked me with last night.

Re:ahh (1)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322765)

You're supposed to take it out afterwards, not let it stick in until the peristalsics do their job.

Re:ahh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322873)

thanks! Any other good tips from experience?

Little limerick... (5, Funny)

Lumenary7204 (706407) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322565)

"I move freely 'bout Greenwich 'cause my Copyright's finiched... I'm Popeye the Sailor Man [Whoot-Whoot!]"

Re:Little limerick... (5, Funny)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323155)

Sorry to be all nazilike on you, but that's a not a limerick. It's a , uh, couplet and a half.

Poopie the sailor person (5, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322567)

Since the name is still under copyright, I propose that we have a new comic "Poopie the sailor person". He could go around eating brussel sprouts. His girlfriend's name would be Canola Oil and his arch enemy Brittas would be a thug that went around killing copyright holders and waiting until the copyright expired.

Will Poopie save the day? Tune in same bat time, same bat channel. Same bat shit.

Re:Poopie the sailor person (3, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322645)

Except that I very much doubt that the name is copyrighted, or else everyone should be getting into trouble when they write it down. Wikipedia wouldn't be able to have an article about Popeye [wikipedia.org] etc. etc.

Now the name might be a trademark, which is something which doesn't expire (unless not defended, or unless it becomes generic).

Dear folks, please don't use the term "intellectual property" at all. Trademarks are quite different to copyrights, which are very different to patents. They are all covered under different laws, and of those three, I believe that only copyright is international.

(Oh, and a great example of long copyright encouraging dead artists to keep producing yes?)

Re:Poopie the sailor person (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323055)

> (Oh, and a great example of long copyright encouraging dead artists to keep producing yes?)

Long copyrights encourage OTHER artists, not the dead ones, just as any copyright, and especially long a one, encourages one-hit wonders like J.D.Salinger or Margaret Mitchell. Whether it encourages enough to warrant the loss to the public in the medium term (period between the end of the copyright under frex 1890 statutes and under today's) is another question.

Don't make easily knocked over strawman arguments like above, or you just encourage the people who really care to lump you in with the people who complain because they cannot make copies of the latest Metallica CD for all their friends, neighbors, and anyone linked by 6 levels of acquaintance, because of the "wild" idea that such copies would cut into album sales.

Re:Poopie the sailor person (3, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323157)

I fail to see how having copyright extend 75 years past the death of the artist encourages said artist to produce anything either before or after they die.

I am alive today, right now, and can not imagine the world 75 years after I die. Why should such a distant future (at least 75 years into the future, and hopefully many more), affect my decision making process now regarding creating new art work?

Surely I should be creating art work now to benefit myself right now? (Or more likely for most of the good artists, they would be producing stuff anyway.)

Having a long copyright does nothing to benefit artists, but only parasites and other scum.

Some websites with arguments against copyright
http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk/index.php?id=52 [digitalproductions.co.uk]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-copyright [wikipedia.org]

Basic legal vocabulary (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323231)

Kdawson apparently doesn't understand basic legal terms (or perhaps just suffers from a kind of dyslexia). The notion of copyrighting a name is utterly absurd. To set it straight:

The copyright - the appearance and basic character traits off the Thimble Theater cast - has expired in the EU.

The trademark - the name and the distinctive likeness of the characters, as used in marketing - presumably has not.

The effect of this is that in the EU, you can create your own Popeye and Olive Oyl stories, and use the characters as they were originally presented by Segar, and you can even sell this comics strip/book/movie/opera/whatever for profit. However, you cannot use the name or images of the characters in the packaging or marketing of your product, because that would violate the trademark rights of (I assume) King Features.

Re:Basic legal vocabulary (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324195)

IANAL, but my understanding of copyright v trademark is that you could republish original images without paying royalty, but creating any new ones would infringe King's trademark. Still, the summary is as badly confused as any I've seen in a long while.

Response from US customs? (2, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322605)

Does this mean that US customs agents will now be searching kids' luggage more diligently, in order to prevent the illegal importation by kids of comic books that they legally bought in Europe?

Think of the kids! Just think of the harm those books could do in the US, probably they are supporting terrorism! </tongue in cheek>

Re:Response from US customs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323905)

It is sad how you felt that you needed to add the statement about your post being written with the tongue in cheek. Did you fear that people would take you seriously otherwise? I wonder if that tells something about you or the slashdot readers...

Not hungry, just ate a hamburger (5, Funny)

vandelais (164490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322607)

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for your copyright today.

Re:Not hungry, just ate a hamburger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322761)

Genius. The original, not the post.

You don't trademark images... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322613)

... and you can't copyright a name. Always that same legal error of people not able to make the difference between a patent, a copyright and a trademark.

For pitty's sake... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322711)

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.

Someone close enough to him to see the incomprehension in his eyes and the drool from his lips, PLEASE explain to kdawson the difference between copyright and trademark. It's appalling that he would write such crap as appears here.

Does anyone other than kdawson think that the name "Popeye" is copyrighted? Or that the copyright on the image running out means that the trademark is affected? This is crap. It's awful.

I guess I should be thankful he didn't bring patents into it.

Re:For pitty's sake... (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323459)

Perhaps the article wasn't controversial enough and he wanted to garner a few more ad impressions knowing that this would rile some of us.

Um, 3) Profit.

Re:For pitty's sake... (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323609)

Does anyone other than kdawson think that the name "Popeye" is copyrighted?

Huh?

Or that the copyright on the image running out means that the trademark is affected?

From TFA:

"The Popeye trademark, a separate entity to Segar's authorial copyright, is owned by King Features, a subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation â" the US entertainment giant â" which is expected to protect its brand aggressively. "

When the copyright runs out, the trade mark is most certainly affected. This is because the two things are separate, and one is now in a lawyer-free zone. Things might get interesting.

Re:For pitty's sake... (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323809)

Oh I see, you're on about the name vs image thing (sorry I didn't notice). Yawn. Yes - yes. It's probably just a typo. Keep your pants on.

Of much more interest is my point about the effect of having a mark hitherto protected by copyright now having to fend for itself in a world where many will start to regard the image of Popeye as something they have a right to use as they wish.

Consider this: I produce a range of toys featuring Robin Hood, a swash-buckling hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Now I want to produce another range featuring Popeye, a lovable pipe-smoking sailor who eats spinach. King Features will try to sue me. Which side should we be on?

King Syndicates Should FIght back... (3, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322759)

... by inventing new characters.

Seems to me that it doesn't advance the sciences or arts by relying on copyrights that have been around longer than anybody who works at King.

disney (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322809)

i saw somebody mention disney earlier on. am i correct in thinking, since walt disney died in 1966, according to current EU law, the images of characters such as micky mouse and donald duck will enter the public domain in december of 2036 in the EU (70 years after death) and 2026 in the USA (95 years after initial copyright)?

Re:disney (4, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322903)

Mickey Mouse will *never* enter the public domain in the US - Disney has bought a lot of senators to make sure that doesn't happen.

By the time mickey is public domain in the EU, the US copyright law will be 200 years after initial copyright.

Re:disney (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323125)

i saw somebody mention disney earlier on. am i correct in thinking, since walt disney died in 1966, according to current EU law, the images of characters such as micky mouse and donald duck will enter the public domain in december of 2036 in the EU (70 years after death) and 2026 in the USA (95 years after initial copyright)?

You have to differentiate between copyright and trademark. Copyright relates to the ability to make copies of "Steamboat Willie", display them in a public place, that sort of thing. Trademark relates to the ability to make wholly new Mickey Mouse cartoons, merchandise, etc. If the copyright on early Mickey Mouse cartoons has expired (not that I'm claiming that it has in your jurisdiction) that means you can create derivatives that are clearly from those specific works, but you'll have to be careful when you do so because you'll need to avoid trademark problems: trademarks are perpetual so long as they're defended actively (and Disney definitely aren't fools that way...)

Re:disney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323289)

You guys missed the joke. And god damn Bizzeh you had me rolling. I would mod you +5 funny if I wasn't an anonymous coward.

Re:disney (2, Insightful)

dwye (1127395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323207)

am i correct in thinking, since walt disney died in 1966, according to current EU law, the images of characters such as micky mouse and donald duck will enter the public domain in december of 2036 in the EU (70 years after death) and 2026 in the USA (95 years after initial copyright)?

Only if all of Disney's lawyers and lobbyists die of mysterious causes between now and then. Otherwise, expect that laws to change, again, before 2026.

Copyright, trademark, patent (5, Informative)

SLi (132609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322905)

Argh, can't you get your facts straight even in the summary?

A name cannot be copyrighted. It's a trademark. It doesn't expire after a number of years, like a copyright. A copyright is not a trademark, and a trademark is not a patent. Neither is copyright a patent.

Copyright protects certain expression (or a picture). A trademark protects the name it's sold under. A patent protects the idea of a technical solution to some problem.

And now that I'm ranting, there's no such thing as "copywritten" which is seen often. A copywriter does something entirely unrelated to copyright.

A trademark has to be actively protected to prevent the trademark from becoming common language (like using "googling" to mean searching the web or "xeroxing" to mean copying). Neither a copyright or a patent becomes invalid by failure to enforce.

Patenting is always an active act, i.e. you don't get a patent for something just by inventing it. And it's expensive in general. Copyright comes automatically, so there cannot be such a thing as "failure to copyright" (nowadays anyway, it was different decades ago). A trademark can either be registered (which is inexpensive) or obtained by becoming well established (registering it is a safe bet).

Re:Copyright, trademark, patent (1)

jgerry (14280) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323061)

Thank you! Why can't people ever get this straight? Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are all different entities. It's not that hard to learn the difference.

Re:Copyright, trademark, patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323617)

Thank you! Why can't people ever get this straight? Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are all different entities. It's not that hard to learn the difference.

When you have a battery of PR flacks constantly telling you that copyrights never expire, patents mean no one can do anything that remotely looks like the patent, and trademarks apply to everyone, not just competing fields, it's quite easy to see why people get confused.

Re:Copyright, trademark, patent (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323473)

A name cannot be copyrighted. It's a trademark. It doesn't expire after a number of years, like a copyright. A copyright is not a trademark, and a trademark is not a patent. Neither is copyright a patent.

Confusion between the three is pretty common. But you'd think a Slashdot editor, of all people would have heard these arguments before, and gotten their terms straight.

70 years ?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26322941)

How on earth does anybody justify such a long protection? 5 years, maybe even 10 seem reasonable. But 70? Come on ...

Name still trademarked. (2)

dr.bone (102153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26322977)

In the US, a name, title, short phrase, or short expression, such as "Popeye," can't be copyrighted, as it is not considered an "original work of authorship." See US Copyright Circular 34.

Images, on the other hand, can be copyrighted, and it is a copyright in an image of Popeye that has entered the PD in the EU.

The mark "POPEYE," however, is still the subject of numerous trademark registrations in the US (and probably in the EU as well). Generally speaking, trademarks can persist for as long as they are used as source identifiers in commerce, so it is likely that the POPEYE trademarks will persist for as long as they have commercial value.

A quick search on TESS ("popeye[bi] and hearst[on] and live[ld]") shows 9 different US registrations for goods and services that range from comic strips to amusement park services to socks. The US trademark registrations mean that you can't sell Popeye branded goods or services that are similar to comic strips, amusement park services, socks, or other goods that Hearst brands with the POPEYE mark.

Copyrights and trademarks are separate beasts, but they can interact in odd ways. For example, if Popeye ever enters the public domain in the US (I say "if" because of the Mickey Mouse problem mentioned above by paiute), then you might be able to create new comic strips using the character and image of Popeye. However, Hearst's trademark registrations would bar you from using Popeye as a brand to sell your new comic strip.

Re:Name still trademarked. (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323629)

However, Hearst's trademark registrations would bar you from using Popeye as a brand to sell your new comic strip.

The US supreme court has struck down the copyright/patent/trademark interactivity used by corporations to falsely create protections beyond what the original category allows. Specifically, the copyrighted image of Popeye when (and more importantly if) reaches the public domain in the US, nothing can be done to stop people from selling T-shirts with Popeye images on them, even though King Feature syndicate will most likely argue (again) that they have a "trademark" on Popeye. After all, their paid staff attorneys need to earn their keep (like most all corporate attorneys that know on the outset that they really have a losing argument).

Of course, this only is the case if their is no further erosion of copyright by corporate interests tyring to get more handouts.

mod 04 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323051)

fly...don't fear and help us! have their moments personal rivalries TracK of where to work I'm doing, something cool sling, return it to

How apt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26323287)

From the article: "Popeye became a Depression-era hero..."

In these troubled times can we expect to see a militant vegetarian renaissance?

I don't get the lasting appeal (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323439)

How in the hell does Popeye still pull in $2.9 BILLION dollars a year? That's amazing. I never would have thought they'd rake in that much still. Can you imagine how much they must have been losing to piracy?

Who is still such a big popeye fan after all these years? What are Popeye's key demographics?

corrections (5, Informative)

slashmonkey24 (1444933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323483)

Following copyright legislation the Popeye image has been copyright free in Canada for 20 years now, as copyrights here in Canada only extend for 50 years after the death of the creator. Also regarding the story the submitter got it wrong as the image would have been free of copyright, not trademark.. as artwork falls under copyright legislation. Likewise, the name would be under trademark and not copyright.

Spinach (1)

bingoathome (1027034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323785)

Off topic but I thought I would mention that in "Seeds of Change " Henry Hobhouse mentions the use of Spinach was a thinly veiled nod to Cocaine and also generations of kids had to eat the stuff because it was a high source of iron - where as it is nothing special for a leafy green.

I'll ask once again... (1)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26323821)

Would somebody pease provide a cogent argument as to why an "artist's" intellectually property is protected by copyright for 95 years AFTER their death while an "engineer's" intellectual property is only worthy of being protected for 20 years after filing?? What makes "Art" worthy of five times the length of protection?

I'll give you a quick answer: because modern civilations celebrate sports, celebrities and artists vastly more than they do engineering, science or math. we foolishly exalt those who makes us feel good, rather than those who actually make us better. This is also a large part of why everything is so fscked up.

Re:I'll ask once again... (1)

ckedge (192996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324065)

I bet you it's got something to do with engineers and the companies that employing them realizing that EVERYTHING they do is built on the shoulders of the knowledge of everyone who came before them. If you didn't allow them to use old ideas in new products, there would be no new products.

People who create Intellectual Property are not as reliant on what came before them.

IBM and US Steel will never go squealing to congress demanding that patent terms be made (literally) five times longer. Can you imagine how slowly technology and industry would have grown if the patent term was "life plus 95"??

Just goes to show you how retarded current copyright terms are.

Re:I'll ask once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324209)

In the short term yes. In the long term, who remember athletes from 200 years ago? I can't even name one example. Who doesn't know who Newton is ?

Among musicians, only composers are remembered. And frankly, I don't see anything wrong with people remembering who Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms ... were. Chopin was also a composer.

Celebrities will be forgotten completely. Who will give a fuck in 200 years who was the TV host of some lame show ?

As for painters, I sure hope everyone will forget the dark ages of painting that the 20th century was. I'm probably the worst painter/drawer in the whole world and I would probably be acclaimed as a genius by today's critics (well for that I would have to start drinking myself to death first).

I'm Stallman the free sourcek man ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324033)

I'm Stallman the free sourcek man ..
when I eats me spinichk ..
M$ will be finishked ..
I'm Stallman the free sourcek man!
TooToo!

after 25 years .. I can finally sing this without risk of copyright infringement

PS: read this only if you are in EU
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