Tuesday 4 June 2013

Copyright in Space

Readers are likely to have come across Chris Hadfield's rendition of David Bowie's classic song "Space Oddity". Commander Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, performs the song whilst playing the guitar from the comfort of the International Space Station.

The Economist recently published an interesting article on copyright in space, asking which jurisdiction Commander Hadfield was in when he recorded the video, broadcast it live and subsequently uploaded it to YouTube? In practice Commander Hadfield had permission to perform and distribute the song, however for those who are interested, The Economist explains that the law which governs the International Space Station depends on which part of the station an astronaut is in. Commander Hadfield apparently made the recording in the Destiny module (owned by NASA), the Cupola (now also owned by NASA, but previously owned by the ESA) and the exciting sounding Japanese Experiment Module (developed by JAXA), meaning that US and Japanese laws could have applied.
With technology making both space travel and content broadcast more commonplace, is how the law applies in space something we need to give more thought to? Answers on the back of a postcard please!

1 comment:

Peter Lawton said...

Out of interest, since the advent of satellite broadcasting most recording and publishing rights are assigned for the universe rather than the world. The jurisdiction is an interesting question but the actual copyright territory is usually covered. Because "Space Oddity" is so old the publishing contract may well just state "the World" which may beg another question. Pete Lawton