Last week, a new song from the TV show Glee was released online, an acoustic cover version of Sir-Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” that used the same melody, arrangement, and even some new lyrics from musician/comedian/internet superstar Jonathan Coulton’s 2005 cover of “Baby Got Back” without paying or crediting Coulton and without his permission. Coulton took to the internet about the plagiarism and a ton of people came out in support of him over the blatant theft of material. The episode with the song in it aired last night, and Jonathan Coulton has an update on the situation after talking to the folks at Fox (via his blog):
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.
This is pretty despicable, and hopefully, Coulton’s attempts to prove they stole his audio pay off because there should be at least a tiny amount of justice in this situation.