#1 Edited by Apathylad (3234 posts) -

Jonathan Coulton, perhaps most know for Portal's "Still Alive", went on Twitter when he noticed that Glee's rendition of "Baby Got Back" sounds just like his cover of the song. This, of course, is causing people to attack Glee's YouTube video (EDIT: It turns out it's not Glee's YouTube channel, but the uploader said the song was used on Glee) for not crediting Coulton. Perhaps the weirdest part is that the Glee song still contains a reference to "Johnny C" in the lyrics. It's an ugly situation, and I'm interested to see what Fox's response will be, if any. You can hear the two songs for yourself over here:

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#2 Posted by Mesoian (1618 posts) -

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

#3 Posted by Jrinswand (1745 posts) -

I don't really know what to say, other than "That's messed up."

#4 Posted by Animasta (14820 posts) -

fuckin glee man... wonder if naya is still on the show

#5 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3876 posts) -

@Mesoian said:

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

The difference here, though, is that since Baby Got Back was a rap song, Coulton wrote the entire arrangement to make it fit into an acoustic guitar song. They are literally using music he wrote (though the music is somewhat inspired by the original), and included his lyrical changes.

#6 Posted by strangeling (1296 posts) -
@Mesoian said:

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

Sure... if you're talking copywrite. 
But let's instead talk plagiarism. Even if Coulton isn't entitled to any compensation, the creators of Glee should at least give credit where credit is due, instead of letting people think it was their idea.
#7 Edited by Jack268 (3368 posts) -

Wow that's a huge dick move 
 
By the producers/whatever of Glee that is.

#8 Posted by MeierTheRed (5019 posts) -

Plagiarism at it finest. What a bunch of dicks.

#9 Posted by Pazy (2683 posts) -

That definitely sounds more like a cover of Jonathan Coulton's version rather the Sir Mix-A-Lot original. The music sounds way too similar to his arrangements and they take his lyrical changes. I have no idea what they law's or correct words to use here (Copyright, Plagiarism etc.) but they should probably be crediting as a cover of of the Jonathan Coulton version of the song (which is a cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot). Im a big fan of Jonathan Coulton and I think he deserve the exposure. I dont think he deserves the fans of Glee though, no one deserves that.

#10 Posted by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

I'm not entirely surprised, the people who produce Glee are known to be total pricks towards musicians that refuse to sell out to them. Blatant theft seems like the next logical step.

#11 Posted by ColinWright (753 posts) -

Welp, that sure is shitty.

#12 Posted by Mesoian (1618 posts) -

@Wrighteous86 said:

@Mesoian said:

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

The difference here, though, is that since Baby Got Back was a rap song, Coulton wrote the entire arrangement to make it fit into an acoustic guitar song. They are literally using music he wrote (though the music is somewhat inspired by the original), and included his lyrical changes.

In the eyes of the law, I don't know if that matters. The copywrite laws are so broken, I believe, even though it's a completely separate arrangement, because it's still a cover, rap or otherwise, It doesn't matter and is technically still open for active use under the parody clause.

But yes, Coulton should get both compensation and credit for it. I just don't think FOX is REQUIRED to do either.

#13 Posted by TooWalrus (13333 posts) -

I wonder who decides that this is OK? Even if it's not technically illegal, would it kill them to just put his name in the credits or something?

#14 Edited by lanerobertlane (190 posts) -

They did it before - see

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and compare to

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They didn't acknowledge that it was a cover of his interpretation of the song there either. Problem is, as Damien Rice said when The X Factor butchered his song "Cannonball" for the winners song, that once the songs out in the public there's not really anything you can do to stop anyone covering it.

#15 Posted by Akyho (1818 posts) -

WOAH!!!........I synced it together and 100% the exact same almost. To be honest about 98%.

Still yup they ripped him off.

Also you can have a nice duet with Jonathan Coultan and random glee faced dude.

#16 Posted by Chaser324 (7115 posts) -

@Mesoian: @strangeling: Sorry, my OCD will not allow me to overlook this error. It's copyright, not copywrite.

Moderator
#17 Posted by theodacourt (584 posts) -

I just played them both at the exact same time and I couldn't even notice there was 2 songs at the same time until one of them finished early. Crazy copying!

#18 Posted by notdavid (859 posts) -

I haven't seen Glee in a while. Does the line "Johnny C's in trouble" even make sense in the context of the show? Like, are they talking about John Cena a lot in that episode? It's weird that they'd rid off every aspect of Coulton's arrangement, including a modified lyric that only people who know the original source of the cover would understand.

#19 Posted by Brodehouse (10520 posts) -

John Carmack is in trouble?

No problem, he'll shoot rockets at whatever it is.

#20 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3876 posts) -

@Mesoian said:

@Wrighteous86 said:

@Mesoian said:

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

The difference here, though, is that since Baby Got Back was a rap song, Coulton wrote the entire arrangement to make it fit into an acoustic guitar song. They are literally using music he wrote (though the music is somewhat inspired by the original), and included his lyrical changes.

In the eyes of the law, I don't know if that matters. The copywrite laws are so broken, I believe, even though it's a completely separate arrangement, because it's still a cover, rap or otherwise, It doesn't matter and is technically still open for active use under the parody clause.

But yes, Coulton should get both compensation and credit for it. I just don't think FOX is REQUIRED to do either.

Fair point.

#21 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (1154 posts) -

Wow... I dont like any of them but this is a complete ripoff.

#22 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3876 posts) -

@Mesoian said:

@Wrighteous86 said:

@Mesoian said:

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

The difference here, though, is that since Baby Got Back was a rap song, Coulton wrote the entire arrangement to make it fit into an acoustic guitar song. They are literally using music he wrote (though the music is somewhat inspired by the original), and included his lyrical changes.

In the eyes of the law, I don't know if that matters. The copywrite laws are so broken, I believe, even though it's a completely separate arrangement, because it's still a cover, rap or otherwise, It doesn't matter and is technically still open for active use under the parody clause.

But yes, Coulton should get both compensation and credit for it. I just don't think FOX is REQUIRED to do either.

Fair point.

#23 Edited by Rainbowkisses (519 posts) -

So they did a cover of a cover? Also, yeah, that's a pretty dick move.

#24 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4745 posts) -

Wow, Glee. And to think at one point I liked that show. The pilot was rather good. All went downhill from there.

#25 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6652 posts) -

Glee is still a thing?

#26 Edited by jsnyder82 (781 posts) -

Yeah, Glee is terrible.

Then again, so is that cover, so...eh. Kind of a wash here.

Still messed up to basically outright steal material note for note, though.

#27 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5195 posts) -

I was going to be cynical about how they stole his cover, but yeah they totally stole everything and I hope he sues them.

#28 Posted by MattyFTM (14606 posts) -

On the bright side, Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back is awesome, and if this controversy helps get more people to hear it, then this ultimately can be a good thing.

Moderator
#29 Posted by Chaser324 (7115 posts) -

I'm not 100% clear on the legality of what Glee did, but at the very least, it's pretty disrespectful to have not contacted Coulton.

It's my understanding that with cover songs, you aren't actually required to obtain any sort of permission from the copyright holder, but you are required to pay a royalty fee for each time the song is sold. If you do contact the copyright holder, they can actually elect to give you the rights for free or at a royalty rate below the maximum allowed by law, but if you don't contact them, you just pay them royalties at the maximum rate.

What might complicate this situation though is that it's a cover of a cover. I'd say that both the original artist and the cover artist are due royalties, but it's entirely possible that the FOX lawyer's have devised some defense that lets them get away with paying Coulton nothing.

Moderator
#30 Posted by Mushir (2631 posts) -

There was some confusion as to whether this song was going to air or not since it got pulled from the US iTunes store. Seems like they aired it anyway. This is fucking disgusting.

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#31 Posted by audioBusting (1742 posts) -

Jonathan Coulton responded by making a cover on Glee's cover on his cover, selling it on iTunes and promising to send the proceeds to charities (link). Pretty classy response!

#32 Posted by Thompson820 (417 posts) -

@Mushir: Pretty interesting that the version in that video is a bit different to the version they had previously, it even specifically removes the "Johnny C" line.

#33 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (3694 posts) -

I could not care less...or is it more? Oh, well let's just say I DON'T CARE. I even wonder if Jonathan cares, this is the first time I have ever heard of him, and my guess is this is the first time most people even heard his name. He's going to get about three or four times the fan base, and he is getting it because they DID'T ASK. He is getting it from playing a part very theatrically. He isn't hurt or injured...this is the musical equivalent of making an NBA style flop of the parquet floor.

#34 Posted by AssInAss (3060 posts) -

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

I could not care less...or is it more? Oh, well let's just say I DON'T CARE. I even wonder if Jonathan cares, this is the first time I have ever heard of him, and my guess is this is the first time most people even heard his name. He's going to get about three or four times the fan base, and he is getting it because they DID'T ASK. He is getting it from playing a part very theatrically. He isn't hurt or injured...this is the musical equivalent of making an NBA style flop of the parquet floor.

He would get even more exposure if he was properly credited.

You clearly care enough to leave about a post about it, though.

#35 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7596 posts) -

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

I could not care less...or is it more? Oh, well let's just say I DON'T CARE. I even wonder if Jonathan cares, this is the first time I have ever heard of him, and my guess is this is the first time most people even heard his name. He's going to get about three or four times the fan base, and he is getting it because they DID'T ASK. He is getting it from playing a part very theatrically. He isn't hurt or injured...this is the musical equivalent of making an NBA style flop of the parquet floor.

uh.. I take it you've never played Portal? And yes, he cares.

It's true he isn't exactly well known outside of the "geek" fandom, but ripping off his song and not giving him any credit isn't going to help make him more well known, is it? They're making money from his work and giving him zero compensation or credit, that is the pure definition of hurting an artist and the only reason this is helping his exposure is because people are so outraged. Rightfully so, I might add. Get your head out of your ass.

#36 Posted by JeanLuc (3795 posts) -

Sadly the average person that watches Glee will never know Coulton made this and will think Glee is clever.

#37 Posted by EchoEcho (842 posts) -

@audioBusting said:

Jonathan Coulton responded by making a cover on Glee's cover on his cover, selling it on iTunes and promising to send the proceeds to charities (link). Pretty classy response!

Ugh, the comments on that are nauseating. Too many people bitching about how Jonathan Coulton is "whining"; claiming Glee is wonderful and didn't do anything wrong and he should just be happy for the exposure instead of complaining about it. Yes, because he'd get so much exposure from being completely uncredited. I don't even listen to Coulton's music (I don't think it's bad or anything, it's just not something I actively give a fuck about) and I want to smack all these people upside the head. How so many people are incapable of understanding why it's ethically repugnant to rip off his arrangement wholesale and not give any credit, whether or not it's illegal, is just baffling to me.

#38 Posted by Trilogy (2705 posts) -

@Mesoian said:

Yes, they stole it, but It's an odd thing when you get into copywrite issues over covers.

Pretty much how I feel about it. It is really fucking blatant, though. You can play those two videos together side by side and there's hardly any difference. I guess it's less of a legal thing and more of a poor form thing.

#39 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (866 posts) -

I wish I gave a fuck about Glee or Coulton but I don't

#40 Posted by SSully (4660 posts) -

@Mushir said:

There was some confusion as to whether this song was going to air or not since it got pulled from the US iTunes store. Seems like they aired it anyway. This is fucking disgusting.

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I can't believe people watch, and enjoy, this shit.

#41 Posted by vikingdeath1 (1090 posts) -

Oh Glee!

#42 Posted by Nilazz (732 posts) -

Glee has turned to shit anyways.

#43 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (3694 posts) -

@AssInAss said:

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

I could not care less...or is it more? Oh, well let's just say I DON'T CARE. I even wonder if Jonathan cares, this is the first time I have ever heard of him, and my guess is this is the first time most people even heard his name. He's going to get about three or four times the fan base, and he is getting it because they DID'T ASK. He is getting it from playing a part very theatrically. He isn't hurt or injured...this is the musical equivalent of making an NBA style flop of the parquet floor.

He would get even more exposure if he was properly credited.

You clearly care enough to leave about a post about it, though.

No, we would not even been talking about it if he were credited. This would be a none issues and people would have said, "Meh, it wasn't even the best song of that episode." It would have been a non-event. Moreover, I was saying I don't care about his whining. He is merely him playing his part by flopping on the floor like a B-ball player hoping the ref will call a foul.