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

Quiz: Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

9:02 am EDT, September 29, 2016

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

Read full article

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

You go, Glen Coco!

Let’s play! Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

Play Mean Girls in the Episode app today!

Note: This quiz was sponsored by the advertiser.

WB has revealed that it will take the threat of an alien race, The Dominators, to unite the heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

With Supergirl entering the Arrow-verse, she will be bringing aliens along — though it remains unclear how her Earth will integrate with Earth-1, where the casts of the other three series reside; Barry visited Kara’s Earth on Supergirl last season when he ran fast enough to open a portal.

“This year, for our mega ‘Arrowverse’ crossover, we’re taking inspiration from a DC crossover from the late 1980s known as Invasion!, which featured an alien race called the Dominators, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Superheroes,” Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow EP Marc Guggenheim says in a press release.

Read full article

WB has revealed that it will take the threat of an alien race, The Dominators, to unite the heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

With Supergirl entering the Arrow-verse, she will be bringing aliens along — though it remains unclear how her Earth will integrate with Earth-1, where the casts of the other three series reside; Barry visited Kara’s Earth on Supergirl last season when he ran fast enough to open a portal.

“This year, for our mega ‘Arrowverse’ crossover, we’re taking inspiration from a DC crossover from the late 1980s known as Invasion!, which featured an alien race called the Dominators, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Superheroes,” Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow EP Marc Guggenheim says in a press release.

“We’re using cutting edge prosthetics and computer effects to achieve a feature film-quality look which is faithful to Invasion! artist Todd McFarlane’s interpretation of the characters.”

The Dominators

The Dominators, collectively known as the Dominion, are an alien race from the farthest reaches of the universe. A technologically-advanced species who specialize in genetics, their society is extremely hierarchical, with status depending on the size of a red circle that appears on their foreheads.

Invasion! was a major, three-issue crossover event in 1989 that featured the Dominators joining an Alien Alliance to wipe out humanity due to the threat the meta-gene that allows for humans to develop superpowers presents.

When they traveled to Earth, heroes and villains alike teamed up to fight to protect the world. The Dominators were also an enemy of the Legion of Superheroes in the 30th century.

It’s also worth noting that Arrow‘s 100th’s episode will air during the crossover, so we should definitely expect something special.

Are you looking forward to the crossover between ‘Arrow,’ ‘The Flash,’ ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ and ‘Supergirl’?

Need a little extra dose of Gilmore Girls music in your daily life? Then you’re going to want to put this Gilmore Girls playlist on repeat!

When it came to music, Gilmore Girls really had its finger on the pulse of amazing music, both modern and otherwise. From The Bangles to The Shins to Elvis Costello, the show incorporated an eclectic yet fun mix of music into every episode of every season.

To celebrate the show’s impeccable choices (in addition to our undying love for the show itself), we’ve carefully crafted a Gilmore Girls music playlist. Relive all of the ups and downs in each of the seasons and perhaps throw an impromptu dance party with these tunes. With our Gilmore Girls playlist, you can now indulge in Gilmore Girls 24/7.

Read full article

Need a little extra dose of Gilmore Girls music in your daily life? Then you’re going to want to put this Gilmore Girls playlist on repeat!

When it came to music, Gilmore Girls really had its finger on the pulse of amazing music, both modern and otherwise. From The Bangles to The Shins to Elvis Costello, the show incorporated an eclectic yet fun mix of music into every episode of every season.

To celebrate the show’s impeccable choices (in addition to our undying love for the show itself), we’ve carefully crafted a Gilmore Girls music playlist. Relive all of the ups and downs in each of the seasons and perhaps throw an impromptu dance party with these tunes. With our Gilmore Girls playlist, you can now indulge in Gilmore Girls 24/7.

Hypable’s ‘Gilmore Girls’ music playlist

‘Where You Lead I Will Follow’ by Carole King and Louise Goffin

What better way to kick off a Gilmore Girls playlist than with the show’s famous theme song? It’s the perfect opening song. (And if you choose to play it on repeat, that’s completely acceptable.)
 

‘This is Hell’ by Elvis Costello

It makes perfect sense that Jess’ first impression of Stars Hollow would be narrated by this song. After all, the starry-eyed small town life can be kind of overwhelming at first.
 

‘There She Goes’ by The La’s

Fact: This was the very first song played on Gilmore Girls! It accompanied an introductory look around Stars Hollow before introducing our favorite gals. Oh, the memories!
 

‘Then She Appeared’ by XTC

What a perfect song to mark Rory and Jess’ first kiss. It’s perfectly sweet and tender and just oh-so-totally them. It’s hard not to imagine the scene when listening to this song.
 

‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ by The White Stripes

This was one of the songs that Hep Alien played at their very first gig! Sure, it wasn’t really a great night for Jess/Rory or the band, but it started out well enough!
 

‘Reflecting Light’ by Sam Phillips

As if Luke and Lorelai weren’t cute enough together at Luke’s sister’s wedding, they had to go and dance beautifully to this tender song.
 

‘Human Behaviour’ by Björk

What would a Gilmore Girls playlist be without including a song from one of the girls’ biggest inspirations? Just take a listen and think of their famous snow creation.
 

‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles

Make one of Lorelai’s favorite bands one of your favorite bands by listening to this track on our Gilmore Girls playlist on repeat!
 

‘One Line’ by PJ Harvey

“I love you, you idiot” is probably one of the most quotable lines on the show. This song just set the mood and really made it that much more memorable. It’s nothing less than perfect.
 

‘So Says I’ by the Shins

Who could ever forget the spring break scene where Paris tries to make out with Rory on the dance floor? The fact that The Shins were playing this song live during the scene just made it so much better.
 

‘Time Bomb’ by Rancid

Not only did Lane dance to this catchy tune in Rory’s room toward the beginning of the first season, but Hep Alien eventually covers it during a performance later in the series!
 

‘When You and I Were Young Maggie Blues’ by Bing Crosby and Gary Crosby

Watching Rory and Richard bond over this song in the hospital room is still one of the most memorable scenes of the series. Pour one out for the wonderful Richard Gilmore. We miss you, friend.
 

‘Inside Out’ by The Mighty Lemon Drops

The Gilmore Girls series finale was such a bittersweet episode, but this song definitely made for one of the most memorable moments: Luke and Lorelai kissing!
 

‘If I Could Write’ by Sam Phillips

This emotional song sums up the Gilmore girls’ love for each other perfectly, especially in times of sadness. Who could ever forget this song playing as Rory packs for a grip to Europe with Emily after fighting with Lorelai?
 

‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ by Cyndi Lauper

Lorelai and Emily Gilmore walking a catwalk to Cyndi Lauper’s greatest hit? Classic. Though they may not have gotten along often, at least they could bond over this song.
 

‘O’Oh’ by Yoko Ono

Remember that time when Rory skipped school to walk through New York with Jess, stopping for food and record shopping? This song was the perfect accompaniment for their adventure.
 

The La La Tunes by Sam Phillips

Okay, so these aren’t really actual songs per say, but Gilmore Girls wouldn’t be Gilmore Girls without them (and so neither would the Gilmore Girls playlist)! They’re so iconic!
 

‘My Little Corner of the World’ by Yo La Tengo

We decided to end our Gilmore Girls playlist on a cute note with this sweet song. The mental image of Rory and Lorelai runing at each other from across town during the season 1 finale is enough to make anyone smile.

 

What song(s) would you add to our ‘Gilmore Girls’ music playlist?

 
Related: Everything I know about Gilmore Girls I learned from pop culture (and my crazy friends)