Posted by: eldrickbone | November 13, 2014

David Bowie’s Copyright Oddity

In May 2013, Astronaut Chris Hadfield lived the dream. He played David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in space. He put up the video on YouTube, but was only granted a one-year license to use the song. In May 2014, the video was taken down. Ottawa Citizen then posted a scathing article, blaming David Bowie for being so selfish and not renewing the license.

A few days later, Ottawa Citizen retracted their article and apologized. Turns out, David Bowie does not own the copyright to Space Oddity. In fact, he does not own the copyrights to over 300 songs that he has wrote and recorded. RCA records owns the rights to all those songs and asking nicely is as much of an influence David Bowie has in the matter.

The lesson here: Do your homework Ottawa Citizen before you publish accusatory articles  Know the basics of copyrights laws. This was not a situation in which anyone was sued for using music illegally in a video. All the proper precautions were taken and no foul play was ever really part of this story. We are even fortunate enough to still be able to enjoy Hadfield’s haunting rendition of the classic.

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