'Space Oddity' By Astronaut Chris Hadfield Removed From YouTube
May 13, 2014

‘Space Oddity’ By Astronaut Chris Hadfield Removed From YouTube

[ Watch the Video: Chris Hadfield Performs David Bowie's Space Oddity ]

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Last year when Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was readying for his departure from his stint aboard the International Space Station, he covered David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the orbiting lab and uploaded it for all the world to see.

The video, which was added to YouTube on May 12, 2013, is now being removed by Mr. Hadfield himself, after he promised he would take it down one year after publishing it. Since it first went live last spring, the video has amassed more than 22 million views and has helped to make Chris Hadfield a household name.

While the permission to keep the video public ran out as of today, Hadfield’s son, Evan, told Mashable that they are trying to revive the video in some form. At this time, it is unclear what form that will be, and even if it can make a comeback.

"We are working on getting it back up, but there are few promises with something as complicated as videos from space," Evan Hadfield said.

The video is accessible until midnight tonight, when the video will be removed from YouTube forever.

However, disappointed fans have vowed that this will not be the end of the Space Oddity cover. While the video cannot escape copyright law for Hadfield, many viewers have already claimed to have downloaded backup copies of the video, likely ensuring that the video will live on forever in some way or another.

As for the copyright law, The Economist explains how songs/videos in space cannot escape the rules of Earth. When the video went live last year, the news site said that extraterrestrial laws vary based on what part of the ISS the video was shot in. If the video was recorded in the US-owned Destiny module, American law applies; if the video was shot in the Japanese Experiment Module, then Japanese law prevails; and so on and so forth.

But it doesn’t end there. The Economist went on to explain that the rights-holder could sue in any country where the recording was played, even if the recording was made in space. And furthermore, according to the paper, even singing a protected song in front of fellow space-travelers in space may constitute a copyright violation.

To get around this, Hadfield spent months negotiating a one-year deal with David Bowie, the originator of the song Space Oddity, NASA and both the Canadian and Russian space agencies before recording the song/video and subsequently posting it for one year on YouTube. Now that the year is up, Hadfield is holding up his end of the deal, but don’t expect his countless fans to follow in his footsteps.

Just in case, you may want to catch the video while you still can.