Not so Glee-ful: Musician Jonathan Coulton unloads over ‘Baby Got Back’ rip-off!/jonathancoulton/status/294645496155344897

@jonathancoulton you aren’t coming across as Glee-ful.;(

— Mike Foley (@mikefoley) January 25, 2013

@jonathancoulton So sorry you have to deal with this kind of blatant bullshit. Artists deserve better. I’m glad you seem to have recourse.

— Erik Lars Myers (@topfermented) January 25, 2013

It’s on. Computer programmer-turned-singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton has been fuming over what appears to be a blatant “Glee” rip-off of his 2005 cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s hit tune, “Baby Got Back.” The show aired the arrangement tonight.

I love that #glee just covered Baby Got Back – slow mo and with banjos!

— Becca Obergefell (@OberBecca) January 25, 2013

#glee oh no they didn’t slow down Baby got back!! Haha! I love it!!!

— Princess Shala (@phoenixmoon3) January 25, 2013

@phoenixmoon3 Jonathan Coulton did it first, they simply ripped off his cover. #glee #babygotback #teamcoulton

— Jessica Garcia (@00jess_marie00) January 25, 2013

#glee Baby Got Back – They stole it. Melody and arrangement actually by @jonathancoulton whom they have neither credited nor compensated.

— Scott Smith (@saspcguy) January 25, 2013

Last week, after first getting wind of the cover, Coulton tweeted:

Hey look, @gleeonfox ripped off my cover of Baby Got Back: Never even contacted me. Classy.

— Jonathan Coulton (@jonathancoulton) January 18, 2013

After listening, I think that @gleeonfox may have even used parts of my recording. Do I hear a duck quack? And of course they say “Johnny C”

— Jonathan Coulton (@jonathancoulton) January 18, 2013

Fans backed him up:

@jonathancoulton @gleeonfox Wow that IS a straight up rip off. Get a lawyer on that asap.

— thesubstream (@thesubstream) January 18, 2013

@jonathancoulton It was at the ‘Johnny C’ that my jaw just dropped.

— Whit Andry (@whitneyarner) January 18, 2013

That’s a reference to a tell-tale lyric in Coulton’s version. Wired reports:

“I assume [Glee] heard [my cover] and wanted to put it in their show. Which is flattering, but also an email would have been nice — just a hi, howya doin’ kind of thing,” Coulton told Wired by e-mail.

Coulton notes that the YouTube video was not an official Fox release of the song, but the track is currently for sale on the Swedish version of iTunes, as reported by Kotaku, where it appears to be offered from the official “Glee Cast” account. The song is reportedly slated for the Jan. 24 episode “Sadie Hawkins.” Wired reached out to a Fox representative, who said that they had no comment on the matter.

Coulton immediately posted the video on Twitter side-by-side with a link to his version of the 1992 hit single, and the resemblance was beyond uncanny, even simulating quirks like Coulton’s name drop of “Johnny C.” It was so close, in fact, that Coulton speculated that the same audio might have been used, and recruited his followers to help him analyze the track.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Music fans confronted Alex Anders, music producer for the popular TV show, on Twitter after Coulton’s complaints:

@alxanders hey here’s an awkward question have you ever heard of jonathan coulton

— ellie (@blainefabray) January 18, 2013

@mrrpmurphy @alxanders @adamanders Will you address using Coulton’s version of Baby Got Back without telling him. All over media.

— gleekTO (@gleekTO) January 18, 2013

Hey @alxanders, any insight/remarks into what @jonathancoulton is talking about re: Glee stuff?

— Phil Vox (@PhilVox) January 18, 2013

Anders responded (and later deleted this tweet that was retweeted by many users):

“@alxanders: Some people can’t see opportunity when it smacks them in the face.” The sheer entitlement from this statement is sickening tbh.

— Quanita(@Flirttana) January 18, 2013

Or they purposely avoid it so they don’t get sued. RT @alxanders: Some people can’t see opportunity when it smacks them in the face.

— Kamari Diabla (pls)(@KammySanM) January 18, 2013

Coulton responded as well:

@alxanders Actually, I’m pretty sure I felt the smack…

— Jonathan Coulton (@jonathancoulton) January 18, 2013

And more music fans/Glee viewers weighed in:

@jonathancoulton @alxanders Baby Got Smack.

— Jeffrey Bryson (@jwalkerbryson) January 19, 2013

Hey @alxanders stop being a jerkface and apologize to @jonathancoulton also give him some of that mad Gleemoney

— Hexagonest Badass (@Badassperger) January 20, 2013

After Anders deleted his “opportunity” tweet, he posted this:

My comment yesterday about opportunity had absolutely nothing to do with what many of you assumed.

— Alex Anders (@alxanders) January 20, 2013


Then why did you delete it? RT @alxanders My comment yesterday about opportunity had absolutely nothing to do with what many of you assumed.

— Diabla (@Diabla_Cruz) January 22, 2013

Coulton responded:

@alxanders OK then: sorry. Internet is hard.

— Jonathan Coulton (@jonathancoulton) January 20, 2013

The #TeamCoulton movement is building as the public (and possibly legal) showdown heats up:

I’m with @jonathancoulton.

— mark mcconville (@markmcconville) January 25, 2013

@gleeonfox I’m a big fan of yours, but also @jonathancoulton. So disappointed in you.

— brigideire (@brigideire) January 25, 2013

Read that @jonathancoulton is furious over Glee. Good! I have a feeling Fox maybe getting some legal action here!

— Larry Treece III (@Lareson3) January 25, 2013

And really, @foxtv ? How did you not know that @gleeonfox had ripped off that arrangement including his own NAME?! #JohnnyC #TeamCoulton

— Menolly (@Menolly07) January 25, 2013

Spread love and awareness, #teamcoulton. Remember that disrespect will only hurt @jonathancoulton – show the world how classy his fans are.

— Jen (@antijenic) January 25, 2013

Maybe the Glee fans who don’t know @jonathancoulton will ask #WhoisJohnnyC? #TeamCoulton

— Rora Borealis (@rora_borealis) January 25, 2013

We’ll update with any further response from Anders or details from Coulton.

Until then, tuck away this takeaway lesson: Coulton has earned at least $500,000 from music download revenue, merchandise, and performances. Intellectual property rights do matter, even among left-leaning creative types and Internet geeks. Every creator deserves the fruits of his labor and deserves recourse when those fruits are shamelessly stolen without credit/attribution/linkage — from the Fox network or anyone else.

That >> Artistic theft w/o credit hurts everyone.Don’t piss on your geeky fans, Glee.You need us more than we need you. #teamcoulton

— Leo Nerd (@leo_nerd5) January 25, 2013

You did it #GLEE. Ya ripped off an original arrangement from @jonathancoulton & put it on TV without even trying to act like ya didn’t. Wow!

— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) January 25, 2013

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