What The Huh?

By JoCo April 27, 2006

Well this is odd: http://www.cafepress.com/sparehead

I can’t really tell if this pre-dates my song or not, but it would certainly be weird if it did. Is the phrase “Code Monkey like Fritos” just a common thing that people say maybe?


Chrisb says

Seems like a pretty direct rip-off to me... Coincidence is possible, but it seems like a stretch.

-D says

Looks like something of a rip-off, but not direct. The monkey is too cheery for the person who did the art to have heard the song. Still, it doesn't change the fact that JC coined the phrase "code monkey like fritos".

Eric says

You're such a friggin' weirdo! But, alas, I suppose that's why we love you.

The Dan says

Enjoy your Creative Commons licensing terms ;-)

Tulio says

I believe it was ripped off the song. The reason is simple: The song is great!

A big hello from all programmers here from Brazil!
Nice job!

Debbie says

I think it means you need to get busy and produce Code Monkey shirts of your own ... because now I want one, and I'd rather give you the money than some random guy on CafePress.

I figure if I'm going to go around saying "maybe g-d manager wanna write login screen himself", I might as well do it with style!

Mythgarr says

I'd buy it. Hell - I might buy 2 or 3.

Len says

Hey Jonathan:
If you want to do an offically licensed "Code Monkey" shirt with my artwork, I'd make it up for you. Just let me know.

Mythgarr says

Just realized something that I neglected mentioning. Common sense would dictate that you should make at least one 'business casual' shirt - ie: button up with a stitched pocket or golf shirt.

Tim says


IANAL, but I think these T-shirts probably qualify as dirivative work, and selling them certainly qualifies as commercial purposes.

Now, what you want to do about that is entirely up to you. I would certainly rather buy Code Monkey merchandise from you, if it were available (especially if the monkey wasn't so cutesy).

I second the polo shirt idea. Every programmer I've shared this song with has instantly loved it. If you pull this off right, we could be looking at the next great Internet phenomenon. Look out, 'all your base.'

Matthew says

Code Monkey is actually a really old term - you can see it in the jargon file at http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/C/code-monkey.html

But I very much doubt that "code monkey like fritos" is not a ripoff or even "code monkey like you". But you never know, and I even though I doubt it it wouldn't totally surprise me.

webjones says

I've been a code monkey myself and have now managed them for a number of years. BTW, since I shared your song with them 'maybe g-d manager wanna write login screen himself' has become the default response to any inquiry I make about project status. :-)

Code Monkey has indeed been around for a while, but not 'code monkey like fritos'. Dude has most certainly heard your song. He (she?) needs to give props at least.

J0e says

Then there was this.

It's called "Dance, Monkey, Dance!"


It just screams JONATHAN COULTON!

Dan says

Being a code monkey, I know myself and many co-workers would buy a polo code monkey shirt. Great song by the way!

Larry says

Considering there are shirts that say both "Code Monkey like Fritos" and "Code Monkey like you", it's pretty clearly a rip-off.

Bob says

Looks like a ripoff to me.

CafePress wants to know if their users are violating other people's copyrights. Info on how to contact them can be found at: http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/help/iprights.aspx

Ian says

Yeah does this violate the Creative Commons license or not?

It sure looks like buddy is trying to make a dime off of your work, dude. Me no likey that. You best get Len's artwork on your own CafePress shirts PRONTO!

Mike the Unemployed says

Definately a ripoff IMO. He's got a third of the lines from the song on his T-shirts. Ya can't copyright Code Monkey, but you can say "Code Monkey like Fritos" is yours and not his.

BTW FWIW I'd buy 2 or 3 shirts from you if you were sellin' and they weren't so dumb looking as this ripoff guy's shirts.

Here's to you, from one slashdot-reading socially awkward code monkey to another!


Larry says

... and yes, I too will buy a Code Monkey shirt from you (and not from them!). And one for my wife.

hugh says

Hmmm. I wonder if this person bothered to pay for the Monkey Image.

RJ says

Your choice of CC license includes non-commercial and attribution. Both of these are being ignored by people other than you selling derivative works. Even if they weren't selling them, they would have to give you mention. Since they aren't, I would guess that they are intentionally breaking the license, and thus copyright law. If it wasn't a direct quote from your material it might be a slipperier situation, but this seems pretty clearly exploitive of your work.
Report this abuse to cafepress. Tell the infringer to desist, or cut a deal to license to them for this use if they provide you a fair cut of previous sales and agree to a cut of further sales. Cafepress should be able to assist- they'll know the numbers.
I both highly regard your decision to license your music thus (my firend just sent me the link, and I of course re-posted) and hope you reap what you deserve. Hope this works out, and thanks for the music- I'll be watching for an official shirt!

Jim Boggia says

Sue these f-ing bastards. Not only are they unethical, they also have no sense of a catchphrase. OBVIOUSLY, the keeper of the song is "Maybe manager wanna write goddamn log in page himself"

Maybe JoCo wanna sue goddamn cafepress himself.

Dennis says

Wouldn't it be the height of irony for someone like Coulton to sue anyone for making those shirts?

Bob says

Dennis said:
> Wouldn’t it be the height of irony for someone
> like Coulton to sue anyone for making those shirts?

You apparently have the same tenuous grasp on the concept of "irony" as Alanis Morresette does. :-/

OmniGeek says

Copyright infringement, fer sure. Yours at minimum, possibly Stock Photo as well. Certainly sending a Cease and Desist letter is worthwhile; possibly also worth checking whether DMCA offers remedies here (though just recommending DMCA to anyone, for any reason, makes me feel unclean).

Add me to the list of folks who would DEFINITELY buy a shirt from you.

JoCo says

Yes, to clarify how CC applies here, it doesn't. Protection from copyright is still in effect despite the CC license, which only allows non-commercial use of the song. Though I'm not sure to what extent this represents use of the song - it's really use of a lyric. If I were Sony I would probably send a cease and desist just to throw my weight around. As it is, I suppose I will contact Cafepress and see what they say.

But does copyright really apply to these shirts and mouse pads? Couldn't I make a shirt that said "I want to hold your hand" if I wanted to?

Ian says

If Apple Computers can get sued by The Beatles for selling mp3s, then I would recommend against selling the aforementioned lyric on a shirt, dude. Copyright applies whenever someone is trying to make a dime off of your effort.

I'd write more, but I have to get back to scanning Hodgman's book to post on Usenet. ;)

Wixenstyx says

I don't think the 'Code Monkey as an Internet Phenomenon' is something to be aspired-to at this point, as I'd say it's already there.

A Google Search of 'Code Monkey like Fritos' turns up exactly nothing that isn't JC related.

hugh says

Ian: You're working too hard. Simply place the book on top of the disk drive and wait for it to replace the drive contents with itself. Mind you, you'll have to dump the raw data from the disk and for god sake, make sure there's nothing valuable on there like your pr0n. For the same reason NEVER use money, a credit card, or your driver's license as a bookmark in that book.

Kymm says

I think the funniest part is the logline "I am now selling a number of products with unique graphics on them" when both the image and the words are apparently stolen!

matt says

Make a "real" JC-codemokney t-shirt (or polo, or both!). I almost bought the cafe-press one due to how much I love the song, but I much rather have my codemonkey cash go to Jonathan.

Raphael says

My gf thinks the song is cute and I think that's the audience that seller's going for... Len's pics are way cool, but maybe he could try a really ridiculously "cute" version of his Code Monkey?

Isha says

I agree with Raphael... I'm all about the cuteness. Don't get me wrong, the design is sweet, but not quite my style. Under creative licensing (or with permission) could I make my own code monkey shirt for personal use?

Also, you may consider selling hoodies. Everybody loves hoodies.

In other news, I think that you have reached a moral victory. I went to the link for the rip off shirts and the store was empty. Maybe they decided to stop being shady and making a dime off someone else's creative genius.

Jody LaFerriere says

Actually, having run into this with CafePress myself, their bigger problem is that they use the word "Fritos" and I'm guessing that's why the product(s) got pulled. (I wasn't allowed to use the word "Disney" in a blank book that I was making called "My Disney Vacation")