Space Oddity redux: Hadfield's cover back for two years

Copyright is hard. Space copyright is harder

ISS Red shirt

It's back: Commander Chris Hadfield's famed ISS-recorded cover of the Bowie classic Space Oddity is getting another two years on YouTube after months of tortuous licence negotiations.

As it was the first time around, the Hadfield cover is going to have a limited life. The first time around, he was allowed to leave it up for one year (which ended in May of this year); this time, it's two years.

The original “hit” status of the video – it was viewed over 23 million times – probably caught everybody by surprise, which also explains why nobody thought beyond the original permission. Even so, it had taken months to work through issues, work that had to be reiterated to get the video back.

As Hadfield writes: “The day we took the video down we started to work again to get permission to get it re-posted. But the legal process is careful and exacting, and thus takes time.”

Hadfield doesn't explain the intricacies of re-applying for permission, but the fact that it's taken from May to November in spite of being described as “fairly straightforward” probably says all we need to know.

He points to this 2013 piece in The Economist on the matter, which notes that the first copyright negotiations, even with Bowie's permission, had to include NASA and the space agencies of Russia and Canada – as well as Bowie's representatives. ®

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