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Hypable

Jonathan Coulton, the artist whose original arrangement of “Baby Got Back” was aired on  Glee this week, has updated fans that the executives at Glee and Fox have contacted him regarding their use of the song.

To fill you in, we reported last week that Jonathan Coulton’s version of “Baby Got Back” was used on this week’s “Sadie Hawkins” episode of Glee. Coulton claims he had no idea that the song was going to be used and that he was going to have his lawyers research the copyright law regarding its use.

Over the last week, Coulton has been updating his fans on his website about the investigation.

Today, Coulton once again updated fans after the “Sadie Hawkins” episode aired last night on Fox saying that executives at Glee has “got in touch with [his] peeps” and asserted that they were within their legal rights to use the song. Here’s Coulton’s full update from today:

MORE MORE UPDATE 1/25: Well, they aired it, seemingly unchanged. And it’s now for sale in the US iTunes store. They also got in touch with my peeps to basically say that they’re within their legal rights to do this, and that I should be happy for the exposure (even though they do not credit me, and have not even publicly acknowledged that it’s my version – so you know, it’s kind of SECRET exposure). While they appear not to be legally obligated to do any of these things, they did not apologize, offer to credit me, or offer to pay me, and indicated that this was their general policy in regards to covers of covers. It does not appear that I have a copyright claim, but I’m still investigating the possibility (which I consider likely) that they used some or all of my audio. I’ll write something longer and more detailed about this when I can get my head together about it probably in a couple of days. Thanks for your support, but please continue not to burn anything down.

No official word about the usage of the arrangement has been made to the public by Glee or Fox.

Though we understand Coulton’s interest in being credited, Glee has never made a public announcement thanking any of the original artists (whether they’re Jonathan Coulton or Madonna) for the use of their music on the show.

Do you think Glee should include a shout out to the artist either in the script of the show or in the credits from here on out? Leave your thoughts about the JoCo situation below!

  • Anne

    “Glee has never made a public announcement thanking any of the original artists (whether they’re Jonathan Coulton or Madonna)”
    the difference is that they asked madonna permission to use her music before actually using it.

  • Marie

    I think at least including it in the credits would be nice, even if they don’t ask permission or pay him.

    Also, he still has more people knowing about him now than before. I’d never heard of him until this. So, I still think it kind of works in his favor.

  • BlueBronze

    I think they should ALWAYS credit the artists. Some of these artists are so big they don’t have to worry about it (like Britney and Madonna), but now that Glee is delving into the Indie and youtube artists, they definitely deserve all of the exposure they can get.

    I dislike how snobby Glee is about giving credit. It reminds me of when Kings of Leon denied them “Use Somebody”, and Ryan Murphy was a jerk about it, like they should have been grateful. They’ve probably only gotten worse, since fun. became mainstream material after Glee covered them. ugh.

    • http://hypable.com John Thrasher

      How has Glee been snobby about it? Just curious!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000155424105 Chiles Spencer

        How are they not? “Oh, you should be GLAD we used your song. We’re GLEE. You’re NOBODY. You should consider it an honor “

      • http://twitter.com/heat15sw heat15sw

        u really blind follower of glee, love the show but stop after half way through season 2 the show was more on who song will be next next the story

  • http://twitter.com/mxd mason

    How about they just credit Sir Mix-a-Lot, who wrote the song and won a Grammy for it.

    Both Jonathan Coulton and Glee deserve nothing, as they’re both ripoffs.

    • Marie

      Well, Coulton’s version is significantly different from Sir Mix’s, whereas Glee’s is basically the same as Coulton’s.

    • b

      And yet JoCo got permission from Mix-A-Lot. Weird.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yinyangmama Becky Fathers Cook

    Weird Al has always gotten permission from a singer or band before he makes a parody of their song. He does this not because he HAS to legally, but because it is the polite and right thing to do. (there have been 2 notable occasions where this has gone awry, but i won’t digress…)

    Is it so hard for Glee’s producers to have some common decency?

    • http://twitter.com/Merina2 Merina

      AMEN, sister!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000155424105 Chiles Spencer

      Actually, Weird All doesn’t have to do anything. The law is different for parodies tan covers. Weird All just gets permission because he thinks it’s the right thing to do.

      • ChrisBurkhardt

        That’s what Becky said…

  • Tyler

    I don’t think they should have to ask this guy…. its not his song, he just changed it. Any he clearly doesnt have a copyright

  • ben

    hated glee before and hate it even more now. what a low thing to do.

  • http://twitter.com/Merina2 Merina

    Maybe there’s no exact legal issue, but I still firmly believe there’s an issue of just plain decency and respect. The Glee version literally sounds identical to JoCo’s. It’s not ‘just another cover’, but more of an ‘exact, total and utter reproduction of a cover’. I’d have thought that, at the very least, they would credit JoCo as having a hand in the arrangement.

    In short: Glee keeps doing this, and I personally just don’t think it’s cool.

    How hard is it to just plonk an ‘Based on/inspired by Jonathan Coulton’s arrangement’ notice up somewhere?!

  • Lol

    You think people watching Glee actually care about a shout out at the end for the artists…no. They enjoy the show and not just for the music. They ask for permission to use the song by the ORIGINAL artist not some stupid cover….and how bad that slowed down version was I have no idea why anyone would take credit for that.

    • BlueBronze

      Except Glee is a show that is almost ENTIRELY covers. You’d think they would respect others who make covers as well.

  • ben

    No one cares! No one actually knew him before this. Glee fans do not care…they just hated the song because the character who sang it. They do ask permission to do the songs by the person who wrote the song. So you want to try and ruin a show that people like? People look up to those characters…lesbians, gays, feeling like you don’t belong, being in a wheelchair, and a lot more. This is over a stupid song…if that was me I would be ever so lucky that a show covered my song.

    • Z.

      I knew him FAR before this. I’ve (and a lot of other people, he does have a huge geek/nerd/gamer following) been into this guy since 2007. So saying “No one actually knew him before this” is simply not true. Furthermore, no one is trying to ruin the show, they just want Jonathan Coulton to have credit for something that they ripped off.

    • http://twitter.com/scarlet_fever Eleanor

      He makes about half a million dollars a year and runs his own cruise. It’s more about having the decency to ask for permission. And I agree that people look up to these characters, I think some of them spread a great message, but FOX has contradicted themselves by stealing from an independent artist and saying he can suck it because what they’re doing is legal. If anything, the people responsible for stealing the song (because he wrote all the original music) have let down what they claim is the core message of the show and the actors responsible for creating the characters. Also, I have a problem with Glee because they seem to think male bisexuality is a myth, but that’s my own problem with it.

  • comment

    why should they credit him, he didnt write the music or the lyrics to the song. Permission should be gained from the original persion and then can be mixed anyway they want.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000155424105 Chiles Spencer

      …….He did write the music.

    • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen

      He wrote the music for this arrangement, and used Sir-Mix-A whatevers original lyrics.

  • Teranel

    It would literally take them like 5 seconds to put “[song name] based on the cover by [artist name]” in the credits for anyone that was interested. I would be one thing if they both did similar covers of the same song, but when it’s literally taking the audio from someone else’s cover and replacing the vocal track, credit should be due somewhere.

  • http://blackrapture.tumblr.com/ thegoodshipdestiel

    After watching last night’s episode, I care even less about these shenanigans. I thought the slowed down version of Baby Got Back was super-weird and not something I would want attributed to me anyway. They shouldn’t have used it because it sucked, really.

  • Vanj203

    I had never heard of this artist before the Glee controversy but it seems like Glee should always list the original songs and writers/performers in the end credits of their shows.

  • Andy

    If someone does a cover of a song, their own arrangement or not, they do not own the rights to the original song. Was it a shitty thing to do? Probably. But they’ve done it before. And there is nothing they have done legally that they are at fault for. It was a terrible arrangement and a ridiculous performance anyways, I have no idea why this guy is trying so hard to get his name attached to it!

  • http://twitter.com/TrueKlainer21 InASteamyCar

    I feel like this Jonathon person is kind of a butt..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1840730980 Michael Vartanian

    The scene was creepy and weird anyways so…yeah.

  • http://twitter.com/TheRealSandraOh Sandra Oh

    Seriously all this hubbub is over Baby Got Back???? LOL. JC has gotten so much more PR out of this by playing victim than if they would have thanked him in the first place. There’s no copyright for using a similar arrangement of a song and I hardly doubt Glee would have sampled his actual version. Enjoy the attention and use it for your next song … preferably an original. Leave the remakes to no talents like Puff Daddy.

    • Soulbot

      ‘Similiar arrangement’ are you joking? Glee even left the line ‘Johnny C’s in trouble’ in their fucking vocal trackings… Is there even anyone on the show named Johnny C? They clearly ripped it off verbatim…

  • mirna

    Why does this guy want credit? That was the worst arrangement of Baby Got Back ever, even worse than the original and that’s saying something!

    But I see his point…glee did acknowledge the 2Cellos for Smooth Criminal so they should for this as well, although its nothing to be proud of

  • http://twitter.com/RyanHBP Ryan Floyd

    I just think that this whole thing is really funny because the day before this story broke we listened to a Jonathan Coulton song in my class on Copyright Law.

  • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen

    “Though we understand Coulton’s interest in being credited, Glee has never made a public announcement thanking any of the original artists (whether they’re Jonathan Coulton or Madonna) for the use of their music on the show.” <- This is why I am done with this show. They are making money off of someone else's work, without even acknowledging the original cover. It is legalized theft in my opinion. I'm done with it.

  • cl

    The funny thing is, the Glee execs did the exact same thing with the Kiki episode. They used Brad Lander’s original choreography from The Scissor Sister’s music video without permission or credit. There’s a great article about it here http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/12-2012/glees-kiki-drama-why-would-fox-deny-choreographers_63859.html

  • Flitzy

    Oh my gosh, who cares. The song was just.. bad (with no disrespect to Glee or the actors – they did what they could with a bad song).

    This guy should be happy that people are actually talking about him. >_<

  • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen

    JoCo released his own cover of Glee’s cover of his cover of Baby Got Back on Itunes. He is donating all the proceeds to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and the It Gets Better Project. http://www.jonathancoulton.com/2013/01/26/baby-got-back-glee-style/

    • jen

      See, to me that just makes him seem like a ridiculous, petty child making a mountain out of a molehill all in an effort to be the “winner” of some stupid non-issue and masking it as charity. Lame.

      • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen

        It is “some stupid non-issue” to you, because it has nothing to do with you, but it means something JoCo, who put the time, talent and effort into creating the arrangement, and Glee copied it without giving him any credit. He can do whatever he wants with the he cover created. I’m sure you would feel the same way if someone plagiarized your work. (Oh and good job calling someone lame for donating to charity. Ethics are soooo overrated.)

  • Bryan

    Why not just throw the name in the credits? It’s doesn’t cost the show anything. And in an age when artists are struggling to be recognized more than ever, to have your work showcased on a national tv network without even a nod is devastating and completely unacceptable. Shame, glee. SHAME.

    • Bryan

      not to mention completely contradicting the show’s message about respecting the underdog…

  • Beyonce

    I like Glee. it exposes me to new artists and songs, if they don’t show names I look them up. I used to like the premise, but it’s not the same anymore.

    I don’t like the way they treated Mr. Coulton because even if they don’t need to get permission, giving credit is only the right thing to do (both to Mix-a-lot and Coulton).

  • edwardelricisshort

    it’s just the decent thing to do to ask for permission. even if it’s not legally binding or anything. The fact that they used to arrangement without even a ‘thank you’ or ‘we would like to’ is insulting to the artist – no matter who they are.

  • noisyhearts

    It blows my mind how anyone could be on the side of Glee in this whole debacle. I’m glad they’re getting called out for their bad attitude, I hope this prompts them to do the decent thing and to find better ways to credit the artists whose work they are using in the future.

  • Akiranar

    It is not his song, the second he covered it and released it, it becomes fair game when someone else licenses the song from the original artist. JoCo is being an ass for waning recognition for a song he doesn’t even own. If this was Still Alive or Want You Gone… I would side with him. But his attitude and pettiness to the whole thing screams “Attention seeking jerkass.”
    If he was as Classy as everyone claims he is… then he’d just have said “Hey look! Glee likes my version of the song enough to use it! Awesome!”
    That would have shown much more class than his calling of the whaaaaambulance.

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