Star TrekApparently all you have to do to legally download new movies – not just with the government’s blessing but with their assistance in copying, reformatting and uploading requested titles – is leave the planet. Last Friday, according to New York Times blogger Rebecca Cathcart, three astronauts – from America, Russia and Japan – watched J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek movie from a node in an International Space Station, where it was “beamed up” after Michael Barrett, the American, requested a screening.

Writes Cathcart: “Michael Barratt, the American astronaut, requested the film before boarding a space-bound shuttle in March, said (NASA spokeswoman) Ms. Cloutier. He told NASA officials that he was a lifelong admirer of the TV series and did not want to miss this latest big-screen installment while off-planet. It was beamed up to them – really – after being reformatted by NASA technicians in a five-hour procedure…”

I wonder if copywright laws apply in space? DVD region codes? It could have been these guys who leaked X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Perhaps they picked up the red phone to NASA, requested a work print and, rankled by Hugh Jackman’s acting and the lack of outer space action scenes, took their revenge by uploading it onto piratebay (utilising presumably excellent connection speeds).

It seems a tad odd for astronauts in space to be watching a blockbuster speckled with nasty aliens, planet-sized explosions and ships being zapped to smithereens.  Still, better they watch Star Trek then, say, anything in the in-space-people-go-cuckoo genre – i.e. Sunshine, 2001 and Duncan Jones’s upcoming Moon.