January 18, 2013

Re-Stating Glee's Stealing of Johnathan Coulton's "Baby Got Back" Tribute.

Baby Got Back Rip-Off
If you haven't heard the news, the hit Fox show Glee decided to rip off a singer I like quite a bit.  Quite some time ago Johnathan Coulton did this awesome bluegrass-ish tribute version of Sir Mix-a-lot's Baby Got Back.

Today word has spread like wildfire that Glee also did a "tribute" of Baby Got Back.  The rub is they didn't do their own twist to the song, but instead whole-heartily ripped off the Johnathan Coulson version.  At first I figured maybe they just decided to do a way-too-similar version.

Nope.....they took the whole thing.  They even kept the "Johnny C" that Johnny C put into his version.  I wouldn't be surprised if it comes to light that they even went so far as to use his actual mp3 in this version, just singing over Coulton's playing.

A lot of people, myself included, are a bit PO'd and some others are arguing that Glee has done nothing wrong and if anyone should be upset it is Sir Mix-a-lot.


Coulton wrote a new melody for Sir Mix-a-lot's words, got a license to distribute his version.  Yes, he has used the Creative Commons license when releasing his version, but that was for non-commercial use.

Producing a television show is most definitely commercial use, and just flat out wrong.  For those of you who cannot seem to get your head around this, let's inject this series of events into a story.....a story about a man and his car.

Years Ago
Johnathan Coulton
Gee, Sir Mix-a-lot....that is a nice ride you have there.  Do you mind if make another car based off of your idea there?  I have a few ideas to tweak it out to meet my own needs.  It will be based off the same chassis, but I got some awesome ideas of my own and your vehicle is perfect for the base.

My ride?

Johnathan Coulton
Yes, your ride.  Here is some money for permission to make a new ride based off of your chassis.  I'm going to let some other folks use my car to do stuff as long as they don't use it to make money.

Cool.  People will be able to recognize my chassis though, right?  I mean it will be based off of my work after all.

Johnathan Coulton
Definitely....there is no way people won't know you created this.  I'm just taking your design and putting my own spin on it.


This Morning
The Internet
Dude!  I just saw your car being driven by a bunch of strangers.

Johnathan Coulton
I let a lot of people use my car....no big whoop.

The Internet
But, they are saying it is their car and they are using it to make money!

Johnathan Coulton
What?!  .......they didn't even ask before they took my car.  Wait a minute...are you sure they have my car and just not one that looks like my car?  I've let people copy my modifications to Sir Mix-a-lot's vehicle for fun as long as they follow the proper license procedures.

The Internet
Dude....I'm telling you....it's your car!  You are still rolling with the "Johnny C" vanity plates....right?

Johnathan Coulton
Not cool......

Throughout the Day
The Internet
Hey guys, it is not cool that you are using JC's vehicle without his permission.

GleeWe aren't doing anything wrong.....

The Internet
I'm calling bullshit.

Na-na-na-na-na-na I can't hear you!

2013.01.20 Update:
Glee's Response

For the record, I did check the Tweet feed to make sure this was actually tweeted.  I was shocked to see another Tweet from someone who had played the songs together, one in each channel.  The vocals waiver just a bit, but the instruments are synced.  It appears (to me at least) that Glee actually ripped off the karaoke version of JC's Baby Got Back, which was just the instrumental tracks of his song.

1 comment:

Dave2 said...

I guess the producers got tired of artists having the gall to say "no," so now they don't even bother asking. That's pretty lame, and I can only hope that the lawsuits start piling up.

I don't know if you've seen it, but the ever-brilliant Dave Grohl (from Nirvana and The Foo Fighters) encapsulated the entire Glee drama perfectly...

“[Murphy] is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his f—ing show… f— that guy for thinking anybody and everybody should want to do Glee… Slash was the first one. He wanted to do Guns ‘n’ Roses and Slash is like, ‘I hate f—ing musicals. It’s worse than Grease.’ Then [Murphy's] like, ‘Well, of course he’d say that, he’s a washed up ol’ rock star, that’s what they f—ing do.’ And then Kings of Leon say, ‘No, we don’t want to be on your show.’ And then he’s like, ‘Snotty little assholes…’ And it’s just like, Dude, maybe not everyone loves Glee. Me included.”