David Bowie Gets Apology From Canadian Newspaper

David Bowie made it clear to the Ottawa Citizen that he was not responsible for the removal of an infamous cover of his classic song “Space Oddity” from YouTube last month. As was widely reported, including on The Inquisitr, the video of astronaut Chris Hadfield performing the song in space was removed from the video-sharing website after the one-year license for the song was not renewed.

According to Bowie, that wasn’t up to him. As recounted by an apology to David Bowie published June 20 in the Citizen and shared today on Bowie’s Facebook page, permission for Hadfield to use the song was not Bowie’s to give. An editorial, published in the Citizen after the video was taken down, had “erroneously implied that Mr. Bowie was the reason the video had to be removed from YouTube[.]” The Citizen corrected this information in its apology, stating they had been informed that when Hadfield was still in space in April 2013, Bowie had been approached about the use of the song:

“[W]hile Mr. Bowie would give his full support to the use of the song by Commander Hadfield, Space Oddity was the only one of more than 300 songs he has written and recorded for which he did not own or control the copyright. Mr. Bowie offered to have his people call the publisher and convey his strong support, but he had no ability to personally dictate any of the terms of the licence or even require the publishers to issue one.”

Bowie had thereafter contacted the publisher and expressed his support for the making of the video.

Neither Bowie’s Facebook page, nor the Ottawa Citizen, clarified who actually owns the rights to “Space Oddity.”

Although the original link to the video, tweeted out by Mr. Hadfield on the last day of the license, is now marked “private,” other versions of the clip still exist on the internet, including one uploaded by SkyNews.

At the time of the video’s release, the song had brought up interesting legal questions, specifically, as The Economist asked: “How does copyright work in space?” Ironically, The Economist stated that “[t]he song ‘Space Oddity’ is under copyright protection in most countries, and the rights to it belong to Mr. Bowie.” While that may be incorrect, the publication does an enviable job of laying out the very complex legal issues that are involved with copyright and licensing of music – putting aside music composed on earth and broadcast from space.

As for Mr. Bowie, there is no word as to why he did not clarify the issue earlier, although his support for Hadfield’s version of the song was clear upon its initial upload last year. At that time, Bowie shared the video on his official Facebook page.
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