Commander Hadfield's Amazing Cover Of David Bowie's Space Oddity Disappears Today, Thanks To Copyright
from the copyright:-making-culture-disappear-since-1709 dept
In our post, we noted that while the copyright issues were complicated, thankfully, it didn't really matter "because after a bunch of back and forth negotiations, they got all the permissions they needed directly from David Bowie." Except, as we find out today, that's not fully true. Because Commander Hadfield posted on Twitter this morning that today is the last day for the video online, because they only had a license to use it for one year. As I write, the video is still online, so watch it soon.
Well, it's 12 years later, and copyright still exists, and the copyright on a Bowie song is about to destroy some culture. It would be nice if he was able to do something about it to stop that from happening.
And... now that there's no more license, the copyright questions come back into play... and the answer is that it's still "complicated." The copyright depends on where the video was filmed. Since the International Space Station has different sections in which technically different countries' laws apply. It is believed most or all of the video was filmed in the NASA section, meaning US laws apply. And while the US has compulsory licenses for cover songs, there may be some issues in that Hadfield modified the lyrics slightly (taking out the bit where Major Tom dies...). But, the bigger issue, unfortunately, is that sync licenses -- which allow you to "sync" music to video -- are not compulsory, and need to be licensed.
It is possible that someone could make a fair use argument here -- it's for non-commercial use, it's arguably transformative, it likely helps rather than harms the market for the original work -- but I'm not sure that would convince a judge.
Either way, I hope everyone can agree that it's just sad that this video is disappearing.