Back in 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield uploaded a video of himself singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while on board the International Space Station to YouTube. For a year, it dominated Reddit and those “Fuck Yeah, Science!” Facebook groups through sheer awesomeness. He sang about floating in space while literally floating in space! Crazy.
Anyway, after that year, the copyright license that Hadfield had been granted to upload the song to YouTube expired, forcing it to be removed and ending the world’s love affair with outer space. Recognizing that one of their country’s most iconic moments in pop-culture had been scrubbed from the Internet, a newspaper called the Ottawa Citizen then published an op-ed lambasting David Bowie for supposedly being behind the copyright shenanigans. The writer believed that Bowie had specifically chosen not to renew the license for whatever reason, prompting him to ask how removing Hadfield’s version of the song could “help anybody” or if the world is really “a better place” now that it’s gone. That’s Canadian venom, right there.
Now, though, it turns out that the Ottawa Citizen had it wrong. In a post titled “Apology to David Bowie,” the paper explains that its assumptions about Bowie were wrong, and that he is not really a petty old man, but the chameleon-like superstar we’ve all come to know and love. Evidently, Bowie has actually been trying to help Hadfield keep his version of “Space Oddity” online, but it’s apparently “the only one of more than 300 songs” that he doesn’t hold the rights to. He was able to convince the song’s publisher to let it go up in 2013, but since he doesn’t actually have any say about what happens to it, he wasn’t able to keep it up any longer than that.
So we can all rest easy knowing that David Bowie is still as cool a guy as ever, and thanks to the lawless wasteland that is the Internet, we can still watch Chris Hadfield’s video anyway. Everybody wins!
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