Pointless Lawsuit Over Public Domain NASA Photo

NASA astronaut sues Dido for '08 album cover, KABC

"Bruce McCandless II claims that the British star used a photo of his 1984 space flight on the cover of her 2008 album, "Safe Trip Home." In the complaint, McCandless claims the photograph, which shows him flying freely about 325 feet from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, was misappropriated by Sony Music Entertainment and others. McCandless is suing Dido, Sony Music, and Getty Images."

Dido Sued by Astronaut for Using Space Flight Picture, Bloomberg

"McCandless' Feb. 7, 1984, flight remains the only occasion on which the manned maneuvering unit has been flown to such a significant distance from a shuttle and allowed such photographs to be taken," the former astronaut said in the complaint."

Keith's note: This is just plain goofy. This iconic picture has been in the public domain for a quarter of a century and has been republished countless times. You can buy posters of it at various NASA gift shops. Moreover, you cannot possibly fathom who the picture is of i.e. see his "likeness". Just read NASA's official guidelines. Can you see his face? Can you read his name tag? What about all of the people who are also in that image (on the Earth below)? Can they sue too?

You'd think that a space explorer - one who got all of their rides into space at taxpayer expense - would be thrilled that this photo can still be inspirational today. Oddly, in looking at this image, no one probably remembers - or cares - what specific human is in the photo. McCandless' lawsuit presumes some rather specific knowledge to be in people's heads with regard to this EVA to affirm his identity. Absent that specific detailed information, no one would ever know it was him. They will only learn of his identity by virtue of this pointless lawsuit.

I wonder if Ed White's family has ever sued anyone over the use of this photo.

I am republishing the image - so sue me too Bruce.

Reader note: The Afghan Whigs released an album in '98, called 1965, with Ed White on the cover - here is the original photo. I Never heard of White's estate being petty enough to sue over a photo owned by the people of America - last I saw the photo says NASA, not an individual.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 3, 2010 11:37 PM.

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