We have a hopeful sounding update on the takedown of astronaut Chris Hadfield’s video cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the International Space Station. According to Ars Technica, it was Hadfield himself who took down the video in order to comply with his original agreement with David Bowie. For those paying close attention (eg, not me), Hadfield gave us a little advanced warning that this was going to happen:
Yet the fact that something that people liked to watch was disappearing from YouTube prompted a bewildering public outcry.
The outcry might have been unreasonable, but there was nothing bewildering about it to regular viewers of the Internet.
The original one-year license made sense at the time. In retrospect, the video seems like the most likely candidate to go viral ever. At the time, who knew it would matter so much when the license expired?
Hadfield’s cover of “Space Oddity” was tremendously good press for Bowie and introduced the song to generations that were not necessarily familiar with his oeuvre. While not necessarily fair, it was obvious that the removal of Hadfield’s cover from the public spaces on YouTube would make Bowie look like a monster. In many ways, this is less a copyright FAIL than a public relations FAIL.
*I suspect that, were I David Bowie, that this issue has not been at the top of my priority list.
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.
Everyone’s favorite real-life spaceman, Commander Chris Hadfield, recently returned to earth after 5 months aboard the International Space Station. Interestingly, the press paid little attention to the fact that an alien kitty stowed away on the ISS and grew so attached to Hadfield that he accompanied him back to Canada. As these recent photos show, the cat (unimaginatively dubbed Space Cat) is experiencing a few difficulties adjusting to life on Earth.