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Glee rips off Jonathan Coulton

Glee Rips Off Jonathan Coulton

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yww4BLjReEk?feature=player_embedded]

Musician Jonathan Coulton’s arrangement of Baby Got Back was taken nearly note for note by the popular show Glee.

The popular FoxTV show features the misfit members of a high school glee club is known for it’s song covers. One would think that with being on a major network, that the show would secure all the rights and permissions before filming.

However, that doesn’t always seem to be the case with Glee.

Singer/Songwriter Jonathan Coulton, of Portal fame, discovered last week that Glee’s cover of “Baby Got Back” is the exact same arrangement that was created by him. The musician expressed his outrage on twitter:

Jonathan Coulton

At the time Coulton was unsure if the song was actually going to air, which it did in last night’s episode of the show. For your edification, here’s what Coulton’s arrangement sounds like:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCWaN_Tc5wo]

Coulton may not be able to do anything about it either, since he isn’t the person who owns the rights to the song. Legally, the only leg he might have to stand on is the fact that it appears that Glee may have used actual audio from his recording. However it remains unconfirmed if they did.

This isn’t the first time Glee has been accused of straight up ripping off a cover. Musician Greg Laswell also claims that his arrangement of Cindy Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was ripped by the show. Compare them below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fugv9kja-2I]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k_vSH2MV0g]

According to sources, the network refuses to credit Coulton or Laswell, stating that they should just enjoy the free publicity.


Do you think it’s okay to rip off the arrangement of a cover even though that person is not the original artist? Why or Why not? Let us know in the comments below!