The most recent episode of Glee featured a cool acoustic cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” Too bad Jonathan Coulton had already released exactly the same arrangement in 2005. One Hypable author explains why Glee is in the wrong.

In 2005, Jonathan Coulton bought the statutory license to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” and sold a cover version featuring his own arrangement. In 2013, Glee also decided to cover “Baby Got Back” in a wonderfully creative way – by which I mean its arrangement was identical to Coulton’s. Coulton tweeted that Glee never asked him for permission, Glee didn’t care, and the Internet exploded.

So is ‘Glee’ in the right, or in the wrong?

Legally it has done nothing wrong. Glee is not required by law to credit Mr. Coulton, who did not write the original song. The show is well within its rights to spend hours and hours searching through various YouTube covers and ripping them off, rather than say, hiring someone to create original arrangements. Of course, if it has used direct samples from Coulton’s recording, there may be grounds for a legal complaint.

”jonathanRecently Coulton stated that the Glee producers had contacted him, saying:

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).

Coulton has a point (in fact, Coulton’s point is also my point). When Glee covers the original version of a song (e.g. fun.’s “We Are Young”), the band picks up exposure. This is because when I google the lyrics, I’ll see that this song was originally sung a band called fun. This might inspire me to check out (and purchase) fun.’s original version, or its album.

The problem that arises when Glee uses a cover version is painfully obvious. If I had googled “Baby got back lyrics” (prior to this fiasco), I’d see that this was a 1992 rap single by Sir Mix-A-Lot. If I had never heard Jonathan Coulton’s version (which I hadn’t), I’d probably think that Glee had thought up this new, highly original cover on its own. I’d probably be impressed. If I liked the song, I might even buy the Glee version.

So when Glee says Coulton will be getting exposure from this, let’s be clear: that’s complete rubbish. Unless he had called them out in the way he did, most of us would have been none the wiser.

What should ‘Glee’ have done differently?

jonathan coulton baby got back glee
Glee could have credited Coulton as a good will gesture to independent artists (and it still wouldn’t have had to pay him a cent). Hell, Glee could have just given him a heads up that it was planning on using it, which just seems like common courtesy and a smart PR move. It’s so disheartening that in this day and age, we don’t even expect large companies to do this. We know at the end of the day, it’s all a business, and it is all about money. But wouldn’t it be nice if they did.

Giving the arranger some love would also be ridiculously easy. Send a tweet from the official Glee Twitter linking back to the original arranger, or take five seconds to mention them in one of the many behind-the-scenes videos it drops on us each episode. As I said before – the show still wouldn’t owe Coulton any money, but it seems like the most decent way to handle the situation.

Glee itself has even set a precedent for this, as seen through its promotion of The ‘Real’ Warblers played by Tufts University Beelzebubs (who arranged and sang the majority of The Warblers’ songs), and the featuring of 2CELLOS on an episode of Glee performing their own signature version of “Smooth Criminal.” So it’s not that Glee can’t credit the arranger, it’s that it generally chooses not to.


“If this were an episode of Glee I would win. The way they’re behaving is so antithetical to the message of their show” – Jonathan Coulton


 

It’s especially frustrating in this case because Coulton’s arrangement was so far from the original, which featured next to no melody. If he hadn’t used the same lyrics, he probably could have released it as an original song.

When Glee covers fun., or Rihanna, or Madonna, I can very easily find out for myself who originally wrote that song. I don’t expect a list of credits to run at the end of every episode. But if it wants to rip off someone else’s arrangement note-for-note, I’d like to know who arranged it, please. Otherwise here’s a tip: employ your own arranger, there are plenty looking for work.

Basically Glee is the jerk in your class who listens to all of your great ideas, then writes them in his own essay and gets an A+. Technically, he’s done nothing wrong, but trust me when I say: no one likes that guy.

So ‘Glee,’ stop being a jerk just because you can

Note: Jonathan Coulton is not the only arranger to have been reluctantly featured on Glee. In fact, it happens more often than not, see Pedra Haden’s cover of “Don’t Stop Believing” and Greg Laswell’s arrangement of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” For more, check out this interview with Coulton, and this list.

And never fear, nice guys still exist. If you buy Coulton’s version of “Baby Got Back” before the end of February, all profits will be donated to The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and The It Gets Better Project.

Images: Dale May, Fox

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

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Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017

Maisie Williams freaks out over ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 scripts

"Nothing will prepare you for this."

7:45 pm EDT, August 22, 2016

Maisie Williams finished reading the scripts for Game of Thrones season 7, and totally lost her sh*t on Twitter.

Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is no stranger to shocking moments on the HBO epic fantasy series. But it seems like the events of Game of Thrones‘ penultimate season are so intense, even the seasoned young actress is left flabbergasted.

Earlier this evening, Williams summarized her experience of reading the Game of Thrones season 7 scripts on her Twitter feed. Suffice to say, the stream reads something like a thrillingly ominous preview of what fans will experience when the show returns next year.

Read full article

Maisie Williams finished reading the scripts for Game of Thrones season 7, and totally lost her sh*t on Twitter.

Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is no stranger to shocking moments on the HBO epic fantasy series. But it seems like the events of Game of Thrones‘ penultimate season are so intense, even the seasoned young actress is left flabbergasted.

Earlier this evening, Williams summarized her experience of reading the Game of Thrones season 7 scripts on her Twitter feed. Suffice to say, the stream reads something like a thrillingly ominous preview of what fans will experience when the show returns next year.

At first, Williams warned fans to steel themselves for the epic events to come.

…but apparently, no amount of mental toughness will be enough for season 7.

To summarize, Game of Thrones fans the world over are now sizzlingly jealous of Maisie Williams… and also, apparently, well and truly screwed.

With George R.R. Martin’s next installment in A Song of Ice and Fire still achingly absent, there’s almost no way to predict the major events of Game of Thrones season 7. Our only theory is that we should probably say goodbye to the feelings we managed to resuscitate after Jon Snow came back to life.

Williams isn’t the only member of the cast hinting at madness to come. Maisie’s on-screen sister Sophie Turner revealed that she too had advance knowledge while pondering Sansa’s future.

“I’ve actually just got the scripts for seven,” Turner tells Variety. “So I don’t want to say too much, because I’ll probably end up slipping some truths out!”

Seven forbid, Sophie. Seven forbid.

Game of Thrones season 7 will air some time in 2017, but not soon enough.

What madness do you think ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 has in store?

Netflix adapting ‘Anne of Green Gables’ for new TV series with additional themes

Anne Shirley is returning to our screens!

2:45 pm EDT, August 22, 2016

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables book series is being adapted for television by Netflix and Canadian network CBC.

The new series will begin filming next month in Ontario, Canada. Though CBC will be airing it in America’s neighbor to the north, Netflix will be distributing it in the United States and the rest of the world.

Breaking Bad writer and producer Moira Walley-Beckett is penning the entire eight-episode series and will run the show. It is expected to air on the CBC in 2017, and presumably it’ll run on Netflix around the same.

Read full article

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables book series is being adapted for television by Netflix and Canadian network CBC.

The new series will begin filming next month in Ontario, Canada. Though CBC will be airing it in America’s neighbor to the north, Netflix will be distributing it in the United States and the rest of the world.

Breaking Bad writer and producer Moira Walley-Beckett is penning the entire eight-episode series and will run the show. It is expected to air on the CBC in 2017, and presumably it’ll run on Netflix around the same.

The eight-book Anne of Green Gables series has been adapted numerous times over the years (including the well-known, two-part 1985 televised miniseries), but this will arguably be the biggest adaptation to date thanks to the potential audience Netflix could pull in.

anne-of-green-gables-book

According to Deadline, “the coming-of-age series will focus on a young girl who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, is mistakenly sent to live with an elderly spinster and her aging brother. Over time — and thanks to her unique spirit, fierce intellect and brilliant imagination — 13-year-old Anne will transform their lives and eventually the small town in which they live.”

The new adaptation “will honor the foundation of the book, but will incorporate new adventures reflecting themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”

The series will be set in 1890. The first book was published in 1908 by Lucy Maud Montgomery and has gone on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide.

Will you watch Netflix’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series?

If you’ve ever been interested in reading the series, now’s a great time to start!