Space Oddity, we hardly knew ye…

UPDATE: The video was taken down voluntarily by Hadfield in keeping with his original agreement with Bowie and without pressure from Bowie. That does not mean this is how things should have happened.

Almost one year ago today, I posted about astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the International Space Station. I hope you took the time to check it out then, because you can’t anymore.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, David Bowie had given Hadfield a one-year license to cover Space Oddity. Last Wednesday, the license expired and the video was taken down.

While Bowie has the right to license his song as he sees fit under the law, it is difficult to see how this helps anyone, including Bowie, aka The Goblin King. It is very easy to see how this hurts the effort to inspire people with science and art.

At the time, I wrote that Hadfield’s cover represented the “best of humanity”. If that was true then, what does this – the use of copyright pedantry not to prevent theft of ideas, but to squash creativity and inspiration – represent?

But, let us reflect the best of humanity and be charitable. Maybe Bowie just forgot to renew the license. I do that all the time – forget things, not licenses, no one wants to license my crap.

*Hat tip to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.


Author: Josh Witten

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