Skip to content

Space Copyright – Return of the Space Oddity

July 2, 2015

By Alan Kilpatrick

Several months ago, I wrote a post on Legal Sourcery about Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s popular rendition of Space Oddity.   Hadfield, who recorded the video while in orbit and in command of the International Space Station, posted the video on to YouTube in May 2013.  The video, which was widely shared and viewed around the globe, was suddenly taken down a year later.spacecopyright3

The video’s removal from YouTube sparked confusion and frustration.  A passionate discussion about copyright law arose and many questioned why the viral hit had been removed so suddenly.  The Economist and The Globe and Mail both reported on the intricate framework of copyright law aboard the International Space Station.

To the relief of many fans, Hadfield’s video was reposted to YouTube late last year.  What exactly happened?   Hadfield explains the situation on his website,

“…it was with some regret that we took the Space Oddity video off YouTube last May. David Bowie and his publisher had been very gracious. They had allowed his work, his intellectual property, to be made freely available to everyone for a year, and had in fact worked with us and the Canadian Space Agency to make it happen. There was no rancour, and we removed it from YouTube to honour that agreement.”

Once the video was taken down in May 2014, Hadfield and the Canadian Space Agency began the process to obtain permission to repost the video.  Hadfield explains further,

“Bowie himself loved it, posting on Facebook that it was possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created. As a result of this, the recent reapplication of the legal process has been fairly straightforward.”

You can watch the video here.


Hadfield, Chris. (2015). Space Oddity. Retrieved from:

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

From → Copyright, Law, Technology

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: