Intellectual Property On The International Space Station

May 25, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Before astronaut Chris Hadfield played and sang David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the International Space Station in a performance uploaded to Youtube, he made sure to clear up any copyrights issues with Mr Bowie’s representatives. If he hadn’t then he would’ve stepped into a legal quagmire writes The Economist:

  • At a ‘mere’ 400 kilometers above the earth’s surface, intellectual property rights still apply to the International Space Station.
  • The problem is which country’s rights should apply? The spacecraft flew over several as Hadfield played the song.
  • The International Space Station itself is made up of modules assembled by various countries. The laws of each individual country apply to the module built by the country. Hadfield went through modules built by America and Japan as he performed, and thus he was subject to the laws of each country.
  • As private space launches become more widespread these copyright issues will become more complicated and music groups may have grounds to sue entire countries if an individual chooses to start singing a song while on board a spacecraft.

Kottke helpfully points out that we now “live in a world where sending a guitar into space is trivial while ironing out rights agreements is the tough part.” Read more about the issues that Hadfield might have created by performing in front of other crew members, the legal rights that intellectual property owners have in space, and more over here.

Source: The Economist

Via: Kottke