Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)

By JoCo January 26, 2013

This went up in the iTunes store a lot faster than I expected (nice work there Tunecore), and some of you have already found it:

iTunes: Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)
GooglePlay: Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)
AmazonMP3: Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)

I’ve released this track as a single – it should be on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play eventually if it’s not already. It’s a cover of Glee’s cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song, which is to say it’s EXACTLY THE SAME as my original version. I’m releasing this under the same Harry Fox license I used for the 2005 release, so Mix will get all the royalties due to him. I’ll donate the proceeds from all sales that happen between now and the end of February to two charities: The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and The It Gets Better Project. (fine print: iTunes will get their cut first of course, then I’ll deduct enough to cover my licensing fees, and split the rest between the two. iTunes sometimes takes a long time to report sales, sometimes even a couple of months, so I won’t be able to do the math and make the donation until I have the numbers. But I’ll let you know when I’ve gotten the amount and made the donation.)

I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and I’m truly grateful for your support – honestly, this has been a very stressful time, and it means so much to see how many of you are behind me. I’ve been trying to figure out a positive way to channel all this energy. I haven’t asked you guys to take any specific action throughout this thing, but now I am asking: buy the track, give it some stars, leave a comment (please be civil), and tell everyone you can. Call it a form of protest, awareness raising, viral PR hackitude, whatever you like. I don’t know how big this will get, but there’s a potential to make a lot of noise this way – imagine if this thing charts! And failing that, we will create some real world impact by raising a lot of money for two great causes that are directly related to the Glee brand. There’s your win-win.

Maybe this is something that the Glee people would like to give some EXPOSURE. Though, in order to do that they’d have to make some kind of public acknowledgement that I exist. We’ll see! Maybe they’ll even want to match the gesture, and donate all their February proceeds for their version too!

I will have a lot more to say about this situation soon, most likely Monday. Stay tuned…


Matthew says

You are a beautiful human being.

Mcmax3000 says

I can't think of a more perfect response. Just bought my copy.

Konstantin says

Woo, you're awesome, JoCo!

Dan K says

Hilarious and kind; good on ya.

Remy van Ruiten says

With the way you've handled this whole debacle, I have to say that I have a lot of newfound respect for you now. This is coming from an old-time fan too. Well done.

Meanie says

This is class. Tripping of to iTunes now.

Dave says

Amazingly classy JoCo! Glee should be happy you're giving them exposure.

Alanna says

I don't use iTunes. Can you distribute it to Amazon as well? I'd love a copy.

Mason Matlock says

Would purchasing via Amazon, or your personal store have any appreciable effect for what you're attempting to do here? I would like to do so, but do not own and i-devices. Want to contribute, and am willing to buy via iTunes if that's the only possible way to get the effect, though as I don't own an i-device, it'd be kinda silly to install iTunes, do this, then uninstall it. Would be worth it, just curious if there's other ways.

Richard says

Just goes to show, though... that you've got some serious musical chops if a big network felt that they ought to steal from you.

I am curious what Sir Mix-a-Lot's view on this whole thing is... hell, i'm curious how many other musicians feel about this kinda thing.

Andara Bledin says

That is such the perfect response. Kudos to you, sir.


Teresa says

While I've never been a big fan of"Baby Got Back" I will totally go forth and buy your re-released cover-of-a-cover-of-your-cover. And maybe check out some of your other stuff, too. Seriously, big props for handling this like a professional (and not in the style of Fox or Glee).

John H Maloney says

A brilliant response. I usually try to avoid iTunes, but I'll gladly make an exception for this.

Jeremy Nickurak says

When it comes to Fox and Glee, just remember Jon: Them punks like to hit it quick, and we'd rather stay and play with you!

Jeff S. says

Purchased. Damn the man, save the empire.

Chris Brogan says

I have a lot to learn about making better responses. You win the Internet.

Grace says

Way to go, JoCo. I can't believe those people had the nerve to act like nothing happened when not only is that your instrumental arrangement, but also an original vocal melody you created for the song. Next thing you know, they'll be saying such a distinct melody was implied in Sir Mix-a-Lot's rap version and they just grabbed it from there--bunch of jerks!

I am telling all my friends to buy this btw.

Robert Iveson says

Bought, rated and commented on in the UK store. Honourable way of dealing with this Jonathan! Good Luck!

katethegreat19 (Erutan) says

So sorry this happened Jonathan. :(

I am constantly disgusted by what big corporations think they can get away with. Glee successfully stealing your exact arrangement (and original melody) and possibly your exact instrumental recording too of Baby Got Back sets a terrible and fearful precedent...

You are doing the best thing (and possibly the only thing possible) in trying to simply raise awareness. All your fans, me included, are going to help that to happen too.

Bought the track! :)

Jenn says

Thank you for giving us an outlet for our collective frustration. I'm so happy there's something I can do to show support!

Anders Nilsen says

You (and Paul & Storm) gave me the best concert experience in 2012. So the least i could do is to buy a single from itunes.

btw. I was the one who whistled "Final jeopardy" while you where hooking up the computer in Stockholm.

JoAnn Abbott says

He Glee people- Since we hear the duck quack, you should pay JoCo back!

Kerry says

What a lovely gesture! The fact that you have chosen to take the high road says a lot about you. I am a fan of yours because of your skills as a writer and singer and will continue to be one for those reasons and for your attitude as well. I have bought your songs before, and I will certainly continue to do so. Right now I have to sign off so I can buy your cover of a cover on i-tunes. Smile!

Aman says

As everyone else says, this is a brilliant and generous response: the growing good of the world is partly dependent on acts like it!

(OK, I stole that last line from somewhere. See, once Glee starts doing it, everyone will . . . .)

Track bought and rated!

Ellen Buelow says

You are a class act, Mr. Coulton! You have every right to be pissed about this situation; the way you are handling it is admirable. I've been a fan for a while, but I'm an even bigger fan now. You rock!

Vicki says

Awk, you're just awesome! :D It would be so cool for it to chart. I'll get everyone I know on it!!

elliomeg says

Bought, starred, reviewed, tweeted links, liked on the dreaded F*acebook. Thank you for making me feel less impotent in the face of Glee's sucking behaviour. You, sir, rock.

Michael Thelen says

This is a classy response to a decidedly un-classy move by Fox. Just when I thought my opinion of you couldn't get any higher.

elly says

as soon as it hits amazon mp3, i am grabbing it. you, sir, are an excellent person.


Laura S says

Done and done.

Kait says

I'm sorry (and angry) that this happened to you, but I can't help but respect the graceful and composed way in which you've handled it. I'm sure you feel awful, and I can imagine that it would be easy to give in and allow the thousands of screaming fans on the internet to go out and attempt burn Glee to the ground in retribution, but you've been calm and measured in your responses. I'm incredibly impressed--I don't know that I could do the same.

I'll definitely be buying another copy of your version of the song. As I said yesterday, "The dark side of the JoCo-Glee debacle no one's talking about: I've had his version of "Baby Got Back" stuck in my head on and off for a week now." Might as well feed the earworm!

Terry says

Bought, rated and reviewed. Not only was this version released earlier, it's also longer. Always providing the best possible value for money. :) Thanks, JoCo!

Jeff Phinney says

Well Played!

Nathan says

I was going to buy this track from you solely because of what a pile of scum Fox is, but now I have a positive reason to go along with it! Thanks, and best of luck with the campaign. I hope this gets enormous exposure. :-)

black pig says

I have posted this with links in my facebook timeline and even dropped into the Glee fan group and pointed them in this direction. There is quite a swell of outrage among the "Gleeks" as well believe it or not.

I don't know what has happened behind the internet, but publicly you have carried yourself pretty well with this.

They were right about the coverage though, people certainly are talking about you and us fans are making sure that doesn't stop. With luck this will translate into new sales from people who find you through all this.

There are better ways to get new fans, but in the end we can't blame people for how they found out about you, only welcome them to the fold and show them a place where music is made the right way.

Hats off to you sir, hats off indeed.

Kip W says

Get a haircut, hippie!

Ha ha but seriously folks.

You're right and they're wrong, and you're handling this in a much more grown-up way than they seem to be able to, and I even dropped a couple of bucks on some songs of yours (and then picked up a couple that you're giving away free. YES! FREE, PEOPLE!!) so I can now smile knowingly when my friends talk about how great your music is. I did that before, but now I won't feel like such a phony.

mikeE says

I've never even heard the song or knew about this debacle until I ended up on this page from Merlin's retweet.

I'm buying it unheard because your ability to not only turn the other cheek but embrace your adversary is an example to us all.

Angelastic says

Well played. It'd be hilarious if the Glee people tried to sue you for not paying them royalties for covering 'their' cover.

Kait: I've also had it stuck in my head.

Jason says

This music teacher is thankful for how you're responding to this situation.

Bought and recommended!

Kristin A says

I Just want to say that I appreciate the amount of class that you are conducting yourself with given this utter bullshit move by Glee/Fox.

Sharing this link everywhere I can.

aaron says

Did you ask any legal folks before doing this? My only worry is that "(In the Style of Glee)" might bring some trademark issues into play and give might be handing the network lawyers a club with which to bonk you over the head.

James Thompson says

Bought my copy. Shameless behaviour from the Glee producers. Glad you've found a way to create a positive outcome.

Renato Ramonda says

I am in Italy and don't seem to be able to buy the song on G+ (I'll try again though), is there some licensing/distribution issue?

Anyway, I left a review and will spread the word. Well done, Mr. Coulton.

Ms Burrows says

You've got more class in your little finger than the entire FOX corporation. I knew you'd find a way to make this positive.

I followed your iTunes link and am now the proud owner of one more JoCo tune.

Dan, ad nauseam says

Re: Glee donating its February royalties

Ha ha. Fat chance.

Re: Glee's brains


Steven Minardi says

Too bad that hacker group Anonymous hasn't taken any interest in this. I would love to see them take down Fox and Glee and let them suffer for while.

100 Percent behind you JoCo. I have been a loyal fan ever since you did that song a day campaign years ago. Karma will get them.

Maths Monkey says

Classy, very classy. You don't just write clever hacks, but live them. This is a beautiful solution to this problem. Your move Fox.

Jesse Norton says

Purchased for support and your message shared with friends to get the word out.

Samuel Abram says

Actually it is charting on iTunes. Check it out:

You'll have to squint though, but as of me writing this, JoCo is #8 on iTunes' Singer/Songwriter Songs chart in the US!

Steve Holden says

A brilliantly creative way to respond. If what they did to you is legal, how could this be problematic?

I especially liked your affirmative reaching out to extract something really positive from this, and will be tweeting to encourage my friends to buy as well. Here's hoping iTunes and the Glee team really get behind this and make it work

Eric Ginsberg says

Gina Mai Denn says

Boughted. Go get 'em, Jonathan!

sarah says

Awesome. Very cool way of handling things.

i hate jonathan coulton says

nobody know your name before glee , congrats you are recognized and i hate you

Sam says

Bought it (once again) and rated. It's been so frustrating watching this develop, thanks for providing us with an opportunity to do something.

hahaha... says

If I were you... I would be happy Glee stole your track, it sounded horrific

catherine says

man who's the turd in the comments who hates you
you're great, good way of dealing with this

Brie in Portland says

Awesome comeback. Don't let the bastards get you down, JoCo! <3

wolfkin says

I know Coulton from Portal. Sorry to see this is how it's going to shake out but hope Fox/Glee changes their mind somewhere.

pluto says

I really would not recommend donating to the It Gets Better project as Dan Savage, it's founder, is notoriously prejudiced against other members of the LGBT+ community, and spreads his message of hate throughout several mediums.

Seriously, he has dehumanised transgender people, asexual people, overweight people, etc. He is not a good person.

SimplyDan says

Classy. Bought it. You rock.

By_Tor says

It's not available in the UK Google Play store (yet) but I will buy as soon as it is. Stick it to the man!

Dan Russell says

Just out of curiosity, which service takes the biggest cut (pays you less), iTunes, Amazon, or Google? I'd just as easily buy from any of these, so I'd like to help you out (even a little) by picking the best one for you.

Jacko says

Awesome you're doing this Jonathan. Little confused though. Is this just a rerelease of the song with profit going to charity or is this a new rendition you just recorded?

Either way, gonna buy it when I get home from work!

Angelastic says

You might want to link to your original post from this one, so that people who come across this page first will know what's been going on. There's no obvious 'previous post' button and people might have trouble finding it in the future (especially when these are no longer on the front page.)

Steve the Meatbag says

Never having watched glee (because really, screw fox), i'm not sure if it's syndicated internationally or not.

If it is, you may want to look into bringing it to case in Europe (specifically france), under a "Moral Rights" claim.

Grace says

there's some asshole in the comments who is saying that "no one knew you" before glee stole your work. ??? is this the same JoCo that sells out an entire cruise of adoring fans every year, the one who got asked to be on an album with such famous artists as They Might Be Giants, and the one who Valve, the largest digital entertainment distributor in the world, adores?

If so, then I'm on the wrong Jonathan's website!

@JoCo: don't let the haters bring you down. keep being awesome.

much love from switzerland!

Becca Glatt says

What you're doing is amazing. I am a Glee fan, but I am appalled at what they did, especially with the stink they already caused last season with stealing their cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
There is a section of this blog post you made floating around the fandom on Tumblr, and I think you're going to get a lot of support.
Keep doing what you're doing! :D <3

TheRidGE says

I hope you understand that I am spoiling the perfection of my computer by installing iTunes for this, but I do intend on buying the song, and rating it highly, and shaming FOX in said review, in all three stores. In my mind, it's a $3 donation to two great charities for JoCo in response to being robbed. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm crazy devoted to JoCo.

Ann says

It's no Skullcrusher Mountain, but I'll buy it, just to make a point, and because I loves ya. I won't make eye contact.

Phil C says

Go JC! Have repurchased ... The only shame is I now have "Glee" showing up in my library :-) hang on in there, I hope they are shamed into doing the decent thing.

Kevin F says

So I've never watched Glee before and I probably never will but as Jonathan Coulton states above "I’m not angry at the actors or the Glee fans" (is that the correct way to credit someone?). I'm just angry at what the Network is doing, that they won't offer any official acknowledgement, and at the fact that what they are doing is bad. It's shameful and I hope the issue gets more press.

Also, to reiterate the popularity of JoCo let's bring up the fact that Wizards of the Coast, makers of Magic the Gathering, made a card called "Creepy Doll". In a post by Mark Rosewater entitled "Scary Stories, Part 1" on Monday, September 19, 2011 he talks about JoCo and the fact that his song "Creepy Doll" inspired the card and that he and Tom Lapille are both fans of Jonathan Coulton. But yeah JoCo should just be glad about that "exposure" too huh?

To show some support I've just gone on iTunes and bought the "new" version JoCo posted. I also grabbed the version on his Thing a Week One CD as I had already owned the entire JoCo Looks Back CD which Baby Got Back is also on. In addition I've also re-purchased the original from Sir Mix-A-Lot on iTunes as well. I know its not much but hopefully this is showing my support.

Cappie says

And this sir. Is why you are Winning.

Julian W says

I already donated a symbolic Anti-Baby-Got-Back-Glee Dollar through the site, just afterwards I realized that buying the JoCo Baby got Back cover would have been even better... But now this is even way better, as soon as the Amazon link is live, I will buy the song once more! :)

Jason says

Are you able to do an album of covers of their covers? That would be pretty epic if there were no legal repercussions, and you know it would sell well.

Jeff says

Already had it, of course, but I bought it again anyway.

Zrelia says

As soon as I get some money, I will definitely be buying it. You deserve all the support you can get and I for one will be one of your supporters. Love ya Joco.

Furthermore, to the person who said that no one ever heard of him before this happened. Yeah it's cute how you want to speak for EVERYONE on the planet, because, you know, you and a few other people haven't heard of him. By your logic that must mean no one ever heard of him before that. I'd say I'm astonished at how your simple mind works, but that'd be a lie.

Jessica says

You, sir, have just moved from Awesome to LEGENDARY.

Gary Hughes says

As already mentioned in the comments, it's not available in the UK Google Play Store. Will be buying it as soon as I'm able.

I really hope the sales do well and that this hits charts.

Janai says


Eleanor says

Repurchasing in support.

What total *wankers*.

Rachael says

Please don't support It Gets Better. As others have pointed out, its founder, Dan Savage, is a really disgusting and bigoted person that doesn't actually care about LGBT youth.

I hope your single does well, but as long as the money is going towards It Gets Better I can't support it.

Danielle says

Much support and love for you! I'll be buying a new copy of the single when I get home from work this evening. :)

Kieran says

My thought was, since the song is licensed from Sir Mix-A-Lot as a cover because of the lyrics, but the music is vastly different and original: re-release the song without the lyrics as as instrumental and no cover license, or even write new lyrics for the melody. Then maybe you'd actually have legal copyright on the music. Maybe?

Wesley Johnson says

I think you should put a tour together with everyone that Glee ripped off. Maybe invite them on the cruise?

Paul R. Potts says

Why not just release Glee's version under your own name using the same terms? : O

Mike Selinker says

I wouldn't watch Glee if you Clockwork Oranged my eyes open. But I do like your method of extracting revenge in the name of charity. Swell work, JoCo.

Mike Selinker

Kelsie Svihura says

You know what? I would never have heard this cover if it hadn't been for Glee, and the same can be said for a lot of people. You should fucking be GLAD Glee exposed your cover instead of complaining about it. It's a shitty cover of a shitty song anyway! I'm not buying this, the original cover, or Glee's version because it fucking sucks!! Nothing illegal was done, sure it was immoral of Glee to not ask your permission first, but you shouldn't be such a fucking whiner. Get over it.

Karl Brown says

Bought the karaoke years ago (and performed it many time)and downloaded the free version from your website. There are already 3 versions on emusic but I will wait for this new single version to hit before buying it again.

Kayla says

I think what you're doing is great, but there are better, more inclusive LGBT organizations than the "It Gets Better Project" to donate to. May I suggest the HRC or something similar?

alanj says

Please, please don't let this drop. Financial compensation might not matter to YOU, but getting sued is the only thing that FOX will pay attention to and that might change their behavior. Your charity response is great - opening a dialogue is great - but that's not what will get them, and other similarly-situated bigwigs, to sit up and pay attention.

I find it difficult to believe that you don't have copyright in your original melody, just because you set Mix-A-Lot's lyrics to it. (Not that it matters if they also stole your actual recording, which it sure sounds like they did.) I hope you're getting advice from multiple sources here.

JacobBe5 says

Dude, seriously uncool of Glee.

Sure, within their rights (not talking about any possible ripping off of audio). The defense of a moral act is never 'Well technically it wasn't illegal.'

Not even so much as a tip of the hat, a head nod to the creative mind that made what they only copied.

Wishing they would die in a fire might be a bit much for this. So I hope they get seriously sunburned and have to walk around with a raccoon face for a couple weeks that is that painful kind of itchy, before it converts over to a peeling mask of shame.

They can die in a fire later.

Blackwell Junior says

I hope Glee won't sue him, cause he is using the same instrumental like in the Glee cover! He even used the same quack as in the Glee version, just increased its volume! And don't get me started on the "Johnny C's in trouble" line, copied straight from the Glee version!

Stephanie says

I'm sorry they did this...when I heard I vowed to boycott Glee. That shit don't fly...and it's becoming a shit show anyway.

Lesley says

I'm a Glee fan AND a Jonathan Coulton fan, so when I read about this I was so disappointed with the people behind Glee. The least they could've done was give him credit and they didn't even do that. But now that all this is happening, he's making something positive come out of it. This shows who the better man is, and that's JoCo. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I'll have to say "Creepy Doll" is my favorite, with "Still Alive" and "You Ruined Everything" tied for 2nd. Love to you and your dedicated fans, Jonathan. You are extremely talented, and an all-around great guy. Good luck with all this. I hope you raise a lot for these charities.

Mandy says

Rachel and Pluto--The Dan Savage involved with the It Gets Better project is a completely different person than the Dan Savage radio host. He's married to a man. Not the same guy, I promise.

It Gets Better is a great organization! Don't knock it with misinformation, please!

As to the rest of it, I'm with you, JoCo! This is a great comeback. This whole situation sucks, but good for you making the best of it. Hopefully this will get big enough to make Fox at least acknowledge what they've done.

Jeremy says

why are you so damn classy?!

Sara says

Another proof that you have more class in your little finger than the glitzy TV shows do in their whole damn lineup.

Jonathan Abbey says

Done and done. You stay classy, JoCo.

KatieK says

Nicely done Coulton. Thank you.

Rachel, Pluto - are you thinking of Michael Savage of The Savage Nation ( That's a totally different guy that Dan Savage of Savage Love (

Roderick says

Fuck Glee.

Kwaizy says

I hope you get more from Aussie sales of the single, cause even with a stronger dollar it's $1.69.
I'm not grumbling about the price, just the difference and I'm hoping that the difference isn't a bigger cut from Apple

aaron says


The fact someone violated your copyright doesn't give you free reign to violate their trademark.

And we don't know exactly what happened, maybe Glee has a habit of ripping off everything they can get away with, or maybe this was some junior employee who was up against a deadline and panicked.

It probably won't be an issue since Fox and Glee won't want to piss off the internet, but wilfully infringing on a trademark is something they could really hurt him with, and if the original incident was just some rogue employee he might have less of a case than he realizes with which to fight back.

Sarah-Jayne says

You fucking rock Jonathan... Love u dude... I'll do anything I can to help :) x x Fuck FOX!!!! See you in Manchester England again soon plz lol :)

Professor Incubus says

I know that it is for charity, but I wish that there was another way to donate to the charities. Personally I don't want to buy the song because it would be a constant reminder of how Glee and Fox screwed you over - that and the fact that I far prefer your version of the song over the Glee version.

Angelastic says

Professor Incubus: You could always buy the song (thus increasing its ranking in iTunes or wherever, which accomplishes more than just donating to charities) and then edit the tags so that the title is just 'Baby Got Back' and the album is 'Thing a Week One' and the album cover image is the one from that album. Then it would be just as if you bought the original release of the track, but it would help charity and help JoCo get noticed.

Danconn says

I just bought it on itunes. Is it already your highest selling single? It comes up first when you enter your name. That would be awesome. Everyone should buy both versions (I bought the original from your website) that way you can see a something from this corporate attack. Good luck man!

Elinor says

On iTunes the song is at 180. The glee version is not in the top 200.

TheRidGE says

Two thoughts I had today:
1) I remember in the comments of the previous post someone mentioning that across all the wikis relating to Glee, that JoCo's credit was being removed. If this were to go to a court of law, find out the IP's of whomever was removing that info. if it directs back to FOX, or anyone related with Glee, you can claim that the behavior shown there shows a least a small amount of guilt, and that they were trying to cover up that information. If nothing else, it also proves that they really do want it to be "secret publicity" and your name to never be attached to the song ever again.

2) Part of this issue is that you don't own the melody or the instrumentals to the song, so Glee had the right to simply use it. But you sell the instrumental on your site in the form of a karaoke track. Without the lyrics, it isn't involved with Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot, and therefore you at least own the rights to the instrumental that way. It's a weird loophole, but that may earn you rights to the instrumental, over the possible use of your performance. The only thing you didn't sell directly connected with the original song was the vocal melody.

Danconn says

Its up to 175 on itunes now. Keep going baby!!!

tunesmith says

I'm also curious what would happen if you re-released the song with alternate lyrics. There'd be no BGB left in it. You'd have the whole copyright then, right?

In fact, it probably *did* exist that way, assuming your vocals were recorded last.

If you recorded a version with the same background but with lyrics making fun of Fox/Glee, you could release that on iTunes without paying HFA anything.

Weirdly, if someone else found your individual tracks and then plunked them back in note for note and then sang "blah blah blah" on top of it, they could call it their own original song and not owe you (or mixalot, or fox/glee) anything.

Ryan B says

I bought this hoping that any proceeds go to helping your lawyer sue their asses - and possibly a nice bottle of wine or two your way.

mcmatz (@mcmatz) says

Please sue their asses. I HATE copyright infringement. There is no excuse for a successful franchise to crap all over the copyrights of an individual artist. Glee may have paid for the lyrics but the arrangement and melody are original works of your own. Fight it for all the little people if nothing else.

Brett Glass says

There's only one problem with saying that the track is in the style of Glee: Glee has no style whatsoever. Or class, for that matter.

Jason says

Bought it, had my brothers buy it, had some friends buy it, retweeted it on twitter, and posted it every which way I can. Also bought the original and two albums.

"I have no personal beef with any of the people who make or enjoy the show – I’m not angry at the actors or the Glee fans"

I wish everybody else would take this stand point.

Debdy says

Bouught it jonathan. I am a 60 year bb babe and love ur version and so does hubby of 37 yrs who love bb! Esp mine! Go boy!

Tom says

Bought your song. I also hope you use the proceeds to sue the shit out of them.

Shawni says


I already bought the CD from you at PAX and had no problem re- buying it to show my support for you. I am industry and told you multiple times over several years how much I love what you do for Indie Music. You are a true rock star and my kids love hanging out with you each year.

What we need is for one of you many followers to convince a friend to get this on national news!

I hope you sue and stand up for all of those who could not.

Elinor says

Up to 161 on iTunes

Courtney says

Considers himself a musician, yet YOU need to lift music from other musicians. Good luck with your bar chords and unoriginal music, Mr Independant 'artist'.

Rachel says

Bought your single as well. Good luck!

Gram says

Sorry! Music on Google Play is not available in your country yet. :(

James says

I understand the law as it has been stated - that the rights to an arrangement do not lie with the arranger but with the songwriter.

But it seems to me this was NOT an arrangement. Coulton did not simply rearrange the melody. This rap song had no melody, but was mainly spoken, Coulton wrote an original composition. Should not the copyright for that music belong to him?

Craig says

I bought the song, shared the blog post, and I also posted a short article about it on Buzzfeed:

nikki says

Totally going to buy this when I see the link on AmazonMP3, since you've got it currently marked as "not yet."

This just proves why independent artists are infinitely amazing. Stupid crap happens because a big name does something wrong (steals or wrongfully sues), and the artist puts proceeds for future sales into charity.

Sydney says

@Mandy, KatieK No, we know exactly who Dan Savage is. The guy who says I don't exist (as a bisexual). The guy who says incredibly hateful things about transgenders. A lot of LGBT people have issues with him because of his bigoted views toward his own community. There are way better LGBT charities to donate to.

JoeHz says

Why the heck even mention Glee? They didn't mention you. If mentioning them, maybe "Coulton Style, the one Glee used without attribution"

JoeHz says

Dear Sir Mix A Lot. Please make the Internetz Happy.

Refund Fox's licensing fee and cancel their licensing deal unless they give Jonathan Attribution, Credits in the Ep and standard arranger's fee :)

Travis says

You are truly a class act, JoCo. However, it's only a matter of time before Glee rips off your cover of their "cover" of your cover. This will require you to nest an additional cover that they will rip off, requiring covers ad infinitum, at which point the internet will implode.

Enjoy it while you can, people. I'm just glad I got to know the true harbinger of the Apocalypse.

BlackCatBonifide says

We've been rooting for you and will continue to do so. Re-releasing your version 'in the style of GLEE' was genius and a classy way to fight back. I commend you, sir.

Fishonabike says

I've had an iTunes account for several years. I think this is the second song I've bought through the service in all that time.

Thanks for making great music, JoCo!

Patrick says

I will actually be (pleasantly) surprised if Glee and/or Fox doesn't issue a cease and desist for stealing their work.

lorne says

Great creative use of the song, fantastic work. Sorry this happened to you. I'm a fan of Glee... but this has certainly shaken my faith...

I wish I could donate to a "Sue Glee" fund - because I'm hearing they have stolen several arrangements and not given credit. This needs to stop.

P.F. Bruns says

You, sir, rock.

I bought it again.

A.k.s. says

Just bought the song! I suppose it's too much to ask for that an artist is compensated for his work. I hope that if nothing else, the support of your fans and the good done to these charities will help counteract the wrong done to you.

PharaohKatt says

It's great that you're donating to charity, but I wish you'd use a charity other than It Gets Better. Dan Savage is an incredibly hateful person who only supports cis-gay men.
Thing is, for a lot of us it doesn't get better, and Dan Savage contributes to what stops it getting better for us.

Kit says

JoCo, you are one of my heroes. For you to take such a strong stance without causing an uproar is truly inspiring. I love that you are donating to charity, and I would love to see Fox and Glee rise to this challenge as well, it certainly would clean up a potentially messy situation. Keep making your wonderful music. I wasnt able to make it to PAX Prime this year to see you in person, but my husband bought your newest album and had you sign it for me <3 It is proudly displayed on the book case in my living room for all to see. Ill be purchasing the song, and I look forward to hearing more of your brilliant music!

Professor Incubus says

I think that what JoCo should do is, instead of putting their version of HIS song on Itunes and use the proceeds for charity, he should sue fox and use the money that he wins to give to charity. @Angelastic, even if I did all the things that you suggest, I cannot change the fact that someone other than JoCo is doing the singing - and that fact is what would make it a constant reminder of what Fox and Glee did to screw over JoCo.

kj says

I think you've entirely missed the point here; the release reference in this post is of the original recording by JoCo, not the Glee cast version. Hence it's a "cover" of their cover of his cover, since they simply just took his cover in the first place.

DJ Particle says

I had to do this... *heh*

Jack says

As I type this, the song comes in at 145th on the iTunes charts; the Glee version is 243rd, for what it's worth. (How did I get beyond the top 200? The folded-in iTunes app on the iPhone works wonders.)

Jamie says

This is up on Amazon UK now:

props to Jonathan for being a class act throughout this crappy situation!

R. Kevin Hill says


Long time fan up in Portland. But if you really want to channel that energy, you don't need to climb the charts. You need to hire a lawyer.


Kris says

Up to 144 on iTunes! I'm going to buy more JoCo songs!

grigoriguardian says

@Courtney Actually, this is probably one of the very few covers he did. He has written plenty of original music, and there are quite a few bands, famous one even, that do covers of other songs. He has written for two video games. Not only that, he has been pretty good about letting people use his songs as long as there is attribution. Glee did not attribute the cord progression to him, and that is wrong.

j2 says

thank you for never relying so heavily on autotune, mr. coulton.

Calgary Keith says

There's very few opportunities to take the high road in poop flinging legal battle. I am enamored by your decision to help charity and will gladly lend my 1$ to the cause.

Geogal says

Very sorry to hear this happened, but I'm glad to see the way in which you're handling it. Though I'd understand if someone in your situation wanted to sue, I'm glad to see another route is being taken.

OtakuTom says

Sitting well at 144 right now. I can't count the number of copies of this song I've bought over the least 4 or 5 between the different albums (or extras with said albums). I hate to say it, but I've heard that other artists have had the same thing happen to them with their covers of songs. I've never liked Glee, and this gives me another reason to keep disliking it.

TheRidGE says

The song is up in amazon:

And can I just mention how amusing it is that your version of "the cover of Glee" is available before the official Glee version on Amazon?

Amanda Cohen says

I'm a little concerned that some Glee fans won't get the irony of labeling the song as "in the style of Glee," since obviously the opposite is true.

I stopped watching Glee when it went from a cute underdog show with interesting messages of equality and interesting arrangements of classic songs to a soap opera that raced to cover each new big pop song while it was still on the radio.

NOW I've stopped watching Glee because they blatantly ripped off your arrangement that is only a "cover" in the barest sense of the word. I would argue that the music is 99% original, hardly even a variation of the song it's covering, which has no melody to speak of.

3 says

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ari says

#123 now! Keep pushing it up! :)

Scott says

I like Glee, but I don't agree with stealing your cover and without giving something back to you. So in saying that I purchased your song from iTunes.

Being in Australia, I hope you see some of that $1.69. Though like the Glee creators you will only see your share of the original 99c while the extra 70c will go into the Apple inflated exchange rates account. Money hungry bastards.

Dan says

I hear and obey. Credit where credit is due shall be our battlecry!

Chris says


Sue the sh*t out of Fox. That's what the legal system is for. I understand that there's so much frivolous litigation out there that suing is perceived as tacky... so much so, that even legitimate suits might be discouraged. If this is what's holding you back, then I would suggest that you keep doing what you're already doing--make it clear that the proceeds of the suit (or inevitable quick settlement) will go first to cover your legal fees, with any surplus going towards the anti-copyright infringement charity of your choice.

If you wanted to further shake your thing in the public eye at Fox's expense, you could publicly offer to provide new arrangements of existing songs for Glee, a) so you can handle the obviously confusing licensing issues for them, and b) because they already appear to have a taste for your arrangements.

Keep up the good work, man.

Anne-Marie says

Really, a show like Glee should know better and behave better...I wonder how many more songs and artists they've ripped off like this? I've bought your single!

Mrrix32 says

The Google Play version is not available in the UK, and I don't have access to iTunes. Hoping I'll be able to buy the Amazon version!

Joe says

Where are you guys looking up the ranking? I can only see the top 100

Feralucce says

Tunesmith: you could not be more wrong

Missy says

Amazon's version is live:

Ron Lu says

Mr. Coulton - I have enjoyed your music for a while. I loved Code Monkey and I remember sharing that with a bunch of friends years ago.

And I do like your version of Baby Got Back and I think Glee's version was horrible.

However, I don't think they have credited other "covers of covers". For example, they did Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow but didn't credit him either.

I just think the outrage against Glee is misplaced. They did give you exposure.

Although Fun! was contacted before their song was covered on the show. I point them out because their indie-fan base in NYC was HORRIFIED that We Are Young was covered on Glee. However, Fun! responded by basically letting their fans know they'd like to reach a wider audience base.

I'm not sure how the copyright laws work and how much they should pay you for covering your cover, but the exposure given to you and your song is probably worth a lot.

jeff says

@Ron Lu - The band's name is "fun.", not "Fun!". This only bothers me because terrible bands generally use ! in their name, such as Panic! At the Disco and the godawful 3OH!3

Mcmax3000 says

@Ron Lu - They didn't give him any exposure. The only reason he got any is because he spoke up about the fact that they stole his work.

Otherwise most people would have no idea it was his. Heck, most people that watch Glee probably still have no idea.

DanK says

It's not just musicians. Glee is doing it to choreographers too.

Ms Burrows says

If they don't credit you, it's not exposure. It's taking credit for your work.

Melissa says


I downloaded it from I am a fan of both you and Glee, and am horrified that they would do something like this without giving you any credit. I saw the story on, and am glad that it is getting a lot of press. Hopefully all the lawyers can step aside for a few moments so someone with some common sense can give you an apology and at least some credit.

Mark says

It's the middle of the night and I only just saw this. bought, rated etc as the Supreme Monkey Overlord demands!

I'll get friends/etc to do the same tomorrow when they all, you know.. wake up.

Code Monkey best get back to coding login page.

Mike Selinker says

As I've said elsewhere, I wouldn't watch Glee if you Clockwork Oranged my eyes open. But I do like the passive defense of releasing a cover of a cover of a cover. That's just brilliant.


Tammy says

You' re a class act, sir.

Jonathon says

I don't know if it's just me, but I can't work out how to get the Play Store page to work with purchasing in the UK, and Amazon seems to be giving me a bit of trouble too despite having a .com account. I'll buy it on iTunes, but I thought it was worth noting that there is some trouble.

meanderling says

You're a class act, Mister Coulton.

This may or may not have been the first song I've bought from iTunes, ever. Here's to hoping for fame (for you) and infamy (for Glee).

Jaws says

Always loved our work. Please, please, please do us all a huge favor and sue that Glee crap right off the air.

Jaded Empath says

You made me reinstall iTunes! :D (only ever had it to get "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along-blog"...hmm, see a pattern? ;) )

I love the ironic fact that GleeCo.™ sells a TV program in which a recurring theme is the underdog triumphing...and they themselves regularly quash little people in the performing arts industries to make said 'inspirational episodes'.

...but you can call me cynical that the ONLY thing they cared about in all this debacle is maximizing the ratings for that episode (so GleeCo™ can charge FAUX Network more for future episodes, and then FAUX Network can turn around and charge more money for the advertising slots around the show). Business As Usual...who cares about being seen as morally and ethically bankrupt, if it still makes the haters tune in each week...

Sacha says

@Ron Lu - The producers of Glee did NOT "give [Jonathan Coulton] exposure." By not crediting Coulton for his work on the cover of "Baby Got Back," Glee effectively took credit for the cover and opened the door for Glee fans to assume that Coulton was the one who ripped off of Glee's work and not the other way around. The only way one could reasonably say that Jonathan Coulton got exposure from Glee is if his name was listed for the composition and arrangement of the song - and Fox is doing everything they can to keep from doing this.

The ONLY reason Coulton is getting exposure for his work is because a legion of his dedicated fans are making sure that the right person is getting the credit. Not Fox. NOT Glee. His fans.

Jessi says

@Ron Lu: That they didn't credit for other "covers of covers" doesn't mean it wasn't wrong; it just means they ripped off other artists too. Maybe they can justify not paying royalties for a "cover of a cover", but not giving *credit* for someone else's arrangement is absolutely *sleazy*. The *only* reason to not give credit in a case like this is if you want people to believe that the arrangement is your own.

The only "exposure" Mr. Coulton has received for this is the exposure he created himself by discovering that they ripped off his version, beat for beat and note for note.

Using lowercase-fun-period as an example here doesn't work for that very reason. Their song wasn't a cover, so they were contacted, likely received royalties, and certainly was credited for their work. Therefore, Glee *did* give them exposure. Glee fans who watched and liked the song could watch the credits and find out who the original artist was if they were interested. In the case of this cover, they would (I assume) see Sir Mix-A-Lot credited, but no mention of the arrangement being Coulton's.

As someone pointed on another thread, FOX's actions of using the Coulton's arrangement without giving credit, and then saying "you should be happy for the exposure" is the same justification a 14-year-old art theif on deviantART uses when they post other people's artwork in their gallery and accept praise for it. Only in this case we're talking about a major entertainment network and making actual revenue off of it. So, I guess actually it's more like a 14-year-old art thief on Cafepress.

And finally, I feel this shouldn't be considered just a "cover of a cover". Coulton's version of Baby Got Back is a whole new composition with the exception of using the original's lyrics and title. I find it absurd that anyone feels Mr. Coulton isn't entitled to at least *credit* for the melody and instrumentation he wrote for this song.

FOX may have a legal argument. They may have the "our lawyers can beat up your lawyers" edge. What they did, however, is absolutely wrong. Unethical. Sleazy.

Remember kids, Intellectual Proprety exists to protect the artists! Unless, of course you are an independent artist that makes something a large, corporate network wants to use. In that case, suck it, artists.

dan says

@DanK according that article the person responsible for music licensing on Glee is (was?):

Mike Selinker says

@Jeff: Don't forget Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

dan says

I should clarify, Spirit seems to license music for the show, and other shows, I have to think there are many such companies that do this, and are not an exclusive source, so they may well have nothing to do with this particular situation. A journalist would have to dig a little deeper.
Do read that article linked by DanK though, similar attitude:
Snipped from story:
On October 30th, Landers reached out to Glee through The Scissor Sisters' manager to confirm whether his choreography would be used and if he would be credited. Fried's response, dated November 14, is as follows:
"[Glee's producers] couldn't confirm if their choreography copped the Scissors ‘Kiki', but said almost all of their choreography since inception has been a loving homage to the source material - from West Side Story and Singing In The Rain to many of Madonna's and Britney's videos. While [producers] never give credits (which roll by on screen in a half-second) they note that theist [sic.] popular show blogs often identify the source choreographers and this reaches hundreds of thousands. We'd be happy to help on this campaign."

Mouse says

You're a class act, Coulton! Purchased.

Jean MacDonald says

I just want to add my name to the list as a Glee fan who will not be watching it anymore. I know that Glee isn't everyone's cup of tea, but Glee's quality or entertainment value is not what's at issue here. It's artists' rights, and really basic fairness. Thanks, Mr. Coulton, for standing up to a soulless corporation and reminding them that real people are their viewers.

tunesmith says

Looks like it's up to 111 on iTunes now. Funny also to see that it's one of the only $0.99 songs in the top 125. Almost all the others are $1.29 .

Tim Smedinga says

You brilliant man, you.

I don't have a credit card, so I am practically unable to buy the song right now. Please, if there is anyway I could buy this song from you without a credit card I would love to know what that is so I can support the hell out of you.

In the meantime I would like to offer you all the internets.

Hali says

Jonathan, you've been one of my favorite artists for years. I saw you in concert in GR last year. I was outraged when I heard that this monstrosity of a tv show ripped you off so blatantly. My heart goes out to you, because obviously this must really suck. We all love you, and what you're doing is an amazing thing. Thank you so much for being such an awesome guy.

Pharlain says

I'm not sure if this matters to you at all, or if it had anything to do with Glee itself, but Hulu's description of the episode on their front page after it aired included a line about "Baby Got Back in the style of Jonathan Coulton." So it seems at the very least someone at Hulu wanted you to have exposure.

Anyhow, I'm a little torn about this. It's not like the tracks that glee sells reference the original artist. They say "The Scientist in the style of Glee." The only place you can see the artist is in the composer field. In the past (As in Girls just wanna have fun) they've chosen to put the original composer there rather than the cover artist. This was a slightly different case since yours wasn't a cover so much as a new song that borrowed the words, so I could see why they wouldn't be sure which person to cover and so they just went with their standard rule.

The fact is this *has* brought you a lot of exposure. I've seen this story posted by loads of people who had no idea who you were before this. Glee fans know that none of the songs are original and many of them go out of their way to track down the original songs. It's hard, if not impossible, to not find out that the cover Glee was covering was yours if you do a simple search for "Glee Baby got back.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be fighting for what you think your rights are, or that the way their offices handled your complaints weren't tacky (they very well might have been). But when all is said and done you will end up ahead on this, so don't let it ruin your day/week/month. I'll go ahead and buy your "glee cover" to support your cause (even though I already own your track) but try not to lose too much sleep over this! Not worth it :)

Kohan Ikin says

@TimSmedinga: try running down to your local supermarket and see if they sell iTunes gift cards. If so, you can buy one of those with cash, then setup an account on iTunes and buy the song using your gift card credit!

Samuel Abram says

@Pharlain I think I'll respond to your post, paragraph by paragraph:

I’m not sure if this matters to you at all, or if it had anything to do with Glee itself, but Hulu’s description of the episode on their front page after it aired included a line about “Baby Got Back in the style of Jonathan Coulton.” So it seems at the very least someone at Hulu wanted you to have exposure.

That's true, and many people on #teamJoCo have praised Hulu or whoever works at Hulu for doing that for crediting Jonathan Coulton. Hulu isn't the issue here.

Anyhow, I’m a little torn about this. It’s not like the tracks that glee sells reference the original artist. They say “The Scientist in the style of Glee.” The only place you can see the artist is in the composer field. In the past (As in Girls just wanna have fun) they’ve chosen to put the original composer there rather than the cover artist. This was a slightly different case since yours wasn’t a cover so much as a new song that borrowed the words, so I could see why they wouldn’t be sure which person to cover and so they just went with their standard rule.

Granted, Jonathan Coulton's version was technically a cover, but one can argue that JoCo's cover of "Baby Got Back" was original enough to merit crediting the cover artist (as was Greg Laswell's cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"), not to mention that the Glee versions were 98%-or-so identical to the original covers.

The fact is this *has* brought you a lot of exposure. I’ve seen this story posted by loads of people who had no idea who you were before this. Glee fans know that none of the songs are original and many of them go out of their way to track down the original songs. It’s hard, if not impossible, to not find out that the cover Glee was covering was yours if you do a simple search for “Glee Baby got back.

Glee refusing to contact, credit, compensate or even acknowledge the existence of Jonathan Coulton didn't give him an ounce of exposure; the ensuing controversy emanating from all that did. JoCo and his fans had to generate publicity to provide all that exposure, because it sure as hell wasn't going to come from Glee and/or 20th Century Fox!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be fighting for what you think your rights are, or that the way their offices handled your complaints weren’t tacky (they very well might have been). But when all is said and done you will end up ahead on this, so don’t let it ruin your day/week/month. I’ll go ahead and buy your “glee cover” to support your cause (even though I already own your track) but try not to lose too much sleep over this! Not worth it

Keep in mind that the reasons Jonathan Coulton came out ahead is because

1. JoCo was wronged,
2. Fox/Glee acted like superjerks the whole time, and
3. JoCo acted with class.

That made Mr. Coulton win a resounding victory in the court of public opinion, regardless of whatever legal recourse he may have ahead…

Emily says

you're awesome! Maybe it was Fox's secret plan the whole time to give you exposure via the righteous indignation of your fans! Hmm....

Anthony says

Forbes also has an article on this now:

I wonder how long the people with Fox and Glee will continue to behave as if they did nothing wrong.

Allison says

I find it odd that the word "plagiarism" doesn't show up anywhere in this discussion, because that's the name for Fox's ethical violation. It's a good example of the difference between copyright violation and plagiarism... Copyright is a legal issue about who owns the right to reproduce something, and our copyright laws are strange. Plagiarism is an ethical issue about not taking credit for work that you didn't create. Fox clearly plagiarized the song.

Anyway, sending support to you, Mr. Coulton! This whole flap reminded me that your music exists and is awesome.

Pharlain says

@Sam Abram

See this is exactly why I'm torn on this whole issue. You responded to my post paragraph by paragraph, without really bringing anything new, or arguing anything I said. I mean you were having an argument where there was no argument to be had. This righteous indignation of the fans isn't really helping anyone. The argument that I was making about crediting the composers wasn't that JoCo shouldn't have been credited, just that I could understand where there was some confusion when they were filing the paperwork for itunes. Helpfully pointed out when I said "so I could see why they wouldn’t be sure which person to cover and so they just went with their standard rule. " I'm trying to be understanding and giving Glee the benefit of the doubt. This is all very new, and it's quite possible that the whole story hasn't been told yet. Let's give Fox/Glee a week and see how this actually shakes out. I mean it's a weekend right now. We would probably never have heard anything until Monday regardless.

Like I said, I'm glad JoCo is doing what he believes is the right thing to be done, but this isn't a David versus Goliath situation. JoCo is an incredibly successful musician, not an indie garage band. It's just as possible that there's a huge issue going down at the glee offices, that people know that mistakes were made, it's even possible someone was fired. However we can't know that, and they can't say that for legal and procedural reasons. Actually I'd really like to see the actual response JoCo received because it's possible, and likely, that it was much more polite than we're imagining. I realize that for confidentiality issues that won't happen.

When I was working as a pastry chef it was pretty common to see people's recipes 'borrowed." Copyrights and intellectual thefts are a whole tangled, tragic web in the Restaurant world. Often times people did get ripped off, but then maybe they ripped someone off before that. It's not like you can credit all of your recipes on the menu. Sometimes it sucked, seeing your creation somewhere else. But when it came down to it they had to recreate your dish in their own way and it became their dish. Yeah you weren't credited publicly, but on the other hand most chefs are more than willing to credit their inspiration when asked. It's not like Fox is denying that it was a cover of JoCo's cover. In fact there's no question of that, they even left in the "johnny C" line (which I'm guessing was a nod to JoCo rather than the stupid mistake people are assuming), so it would be stupid of them to do so. They're just (as of now) declining to credit him on itunes (Something that would open a whole can of worms for their world, possibly forcing them to resubmit a large number of their catalog to itunes just to avoid further issues, or to pay out royalties to artists who claimed the glee version was more similar to their cover than the original, something some artists might take advantage of). I don't think this was quite the pointed slight everyone is making it out to be ( I mean maybe it was, but at this point we're just making assumptions that it was). My Guess? At best it was in fact a loving homage (It seems likely to me that the person who picked the song is a big JoCo fan) and at worst it was a stupid and rude oversight.

TL;DR; does this suck for JoCo? Yeah it probably does. But at a certain point you either have to waste all your time and energy fighting and being angry, or just accept that sometimes imitation really is a form of flattery and actually brings you more than it takes from you. This will shake out the way it shakes out. My opinion is just that there are better uses of the internet's rage.

Anyhow, I'm out. I hope that however wrong you think I am you know that I love JoCo, I've met him several times and he's always been super sweet, and I really want the best for him. Sometimes the best is not sweating the small stuff, being the bigger person by moving on gracefully, and keeping on being awesome.

Linty says

Credit where credit is due. Will always remember you were here first. Thanks Jonathan

Krud says

Interestingly, underneath that Forbes article Anthony posted, I saw a link to the Top Money-Making TV Shows, and guess who #4 was? (Hint: It rhymes with "Twee" and sounds a bit like "Greed" minus the R&D.) And it says Glee's cast now ranks among the top ten selling digital artists of all time.

Krud says

I still don't understand the part where, if they didn't outright steal his audio files, doesn't that mean they deliberately and meticulously, and possibly with malice of forethought, mimic every tiniest detail of Coulton's musical performance/composition? If the goal isn't homage, or to give credit, or some other actual exposure, then that just seems like the only point was to be a d*ck toward JoCo, at which point is there some sort of harrassment/defamation of character or something?

Kim says

Yeh, a lot hinges on if it can be proven that Glee used some of the actual audio. It seems that they did remove the "Johnny C's in trouble" line for broadcast, which indicates to me they didn't even try to alter JoCo's arrangement until it was pointed out to them that he might actually like some credit. As for the "be glad for the exposure" response he received, (if it really was worded that way), since whoever wrote it had to be aware that they didn't credit him, it seems to be a snarky comment on the controversy (it could almost be followed by "and we would've gotten away with it, too, if not for your crazy obsessive fans!")

Karl Brown says

Didn't wait for it to hit (although it has versions from Thing A week, JoCo looks Back and Best Concert Ever). Just bought it from and left a review. Note: still has a link to the "free" version labeled "Here is the song:" but it's dead. I used that link when I bought the karaoke in 2008. You should also release the karaoke audio on amazon and iTunes; I'm sure that Glee will, as they release karaoke in mp3, iTunes and mp3+g formats for most of "their" songs.

Geoffrey says

Others have quite rightly noted that the only "exposure" JoCo got out of this was through his own efforts and those of his supporters, NOT thanks to any attempt by Fox to credit him.

But let's leave that aside for a moment. Suppose Fox HAD credited JoCo to make sure he did get exposure out of this. Would that have made this okay?

Hell no. They're still using his work without permission and without paying for it. They might believe that the resulting exposure will be good for him, it might even be true... but it's not their decision to make. It's his work and he gets to choose.

If JoCo were to take songs from 'Glee' and start selling them on iTunes, does anybody seriously believe Fox would be saying "thank you for the exposure!" and not "we sue you now"?

Thortok2000 says

I agree with Pharlain.

I watch Glee. I tend to like it, although it has its ups and downs. I couldn't call myself a big Coulton fan, although I loved his work on Portal, and since this happened have listened to a couple others of his (Code Monkey and Creepy Doll) and think they're good. Also like this version of this song.

I've often heard interesting arrangements on Glee. I assume it's imitating a cover of some sort. In fact, in the history of Glee, I don't think they've ever done an original cover, they've only done 'standard' covers and mashups. They just pick more unique covers of covers to do, such as this one.

When I watched it on Glee last night, I thought "This is cool" and figured someone else had done it and Glee was covering it. I never assumed Glee did it, but at the time I wasn't too curious about who had actually done it. After realizing who had actually done it (from a Kotaku article), I read a bit more, and now I'm here. =P

I also don't see that Glee really credit anyone, ever. (I'm not on iTunes so I don't know if they credit there or not.) They pay the fees that they have to pay by law, but I don't see that they really credit the artist either. Occasionally the show will make reference as to who the artist is (Pink, Madonna, Britney Spears, etc.) but a lot of the time, most of their songs don't mention the original artist, much less the artist that did the cover.

If you go back and look, almost all their songs try to 'copy' (a kinder word would be 'imitate') the source material. I think of LMFAO song once that even had the drummer with a box on his head, or "Let's have a Kiki" that had the exact same choreography as the original, or various Madonna or Michael Jackson or Britney Spears "tributes" they've done.

So it really isn't that they didn't give credit that bothers me, because ultimately people will Google it and find out who the original artist is. I think it's stupid, petty, greedy, selfish, and mean for them to not give credit, but it doesn't really 'hurt.' They're pretty fair in that they don't really give credit to anyone, equally.

No, the biggest things that I have a problem with are:

1 - They did not notify JC that this was going to happen, much less ask permission. Sort of a "Hey, we chose your song to be on Glee, are you excited?" or "Is that cool with you?" kind of thing. Didn't happen.
2 - They seem to have taken the exact copy of the back track, they didn't even bother to try to replicate the music with their own instruments and musicians.

And it's really #2 that bothers me the most. That's just outright plagiarism.

Ultimately the intent is for it to be an homage or tribute. I think the majority of the people that were involved in this production (the actual singer for instance, the people working on choreography, the actors, etc.) intended to honor the source material, in this case JC's work.

However, when it comes to giving credit where credit is due, they totally fail the mark.

I do think pressure needs to be put on FOX to get this to stop. Even if it's just something in the credits after the show, there's a reason why they call them CREDITS. Credit needs to be given where credit is due.

And the plagiarism? Whoever's in charge of that needs to be fired. /If/ you're going to do a direct copy like that, at least get permission first. Which they didn't.

So yeah, JC, keep up the good work. The 'cover of the cover of the cover' release was brilliant. I do think you should take them to court over the blatant plagiarism though. To me, it's not the lack of credit that's the problem, it's the lack of getting permission to do it in the first place. You could have easily said "Yes, if you give me credit" and not even ask for money and they could've counteroffered or declined. Instead they just went ahead and did it anyway.

I've spread the word to all my friends to try to bump up the sales on your 'glee style' cover. Good luck!

Audrey Nickel says

I think the point also needs to be made that this isn't "just" a cover that JoCo's done. Usually a cover isn't substantially different from the original. In this case, he took the lyrics (legally, with the lyricist's permission) and wrote his own tune and arrangement. THAT'S what Glee ripped off. A substantial amount of the work that goes into any song is the tune and arrangement. It's also sounding like they may have used his actual backing track as well, which is patently illegal.

If Glee had simply used Mix-a-lot's original rap, that would have been one thing, since they apparently DID bother to get permission to do that. But using JoCo's music, arrangement, and recording without permission and due credit is just plain wrong.

Bpkurtz says

In addition to buying the MP3 single with proceeds to charity, and his "JoCo Looks Back" greatest hits album to support the artist, and writing positive reviews for both on amazon, I thought it might also be helpful to contact my local fox station - Fox19 in Cincinnati, OH - and politely voice my dissatisfaction. In case anyone else is interested in doing something similar (feel free to copy and paste any parts you think are relevant), I thought I would print the text of my letter. I tried to be extremely polite, since I think JoCo is setting a classy example with how he is handling it. I went to the website of my local fox affiliate and found the programming and operations manager.


Hello Mr. Oliver,
I am writing to you as the head of programming and operations manager at Fox19. The reason for my email is that I have a complaint I wanted to voice to the station in a polite fashion. On the most recent episode of Glee, "Sadie Hawkins", the producers of the show used arrangement of a song called "Baby Got Back". The original rap song by Sir Mix-A-Lot is from 1992, but in 2006 an artist named Jonathan Coulton released a version of the song (with Mix-A-Lot's permission and paying royalties to him) where his lyrics are set to an acoustic rock-style tune. Now, the producers of Glee have lifted this arrangement -- literally note-for-note -- and put it on their show, with no credit to Jonathan Coulton at all. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsuprisingly), one of the few lyrics that Coulton changed from the original -- from "Mix-A-Lot's in trouble" to "Johnny C's in trouble" -- was kept in the Glee version, despite the fact that it makes no sense in the context of the show because there is no character on Glee named Johnny C.

From what I am hearing, it seems that even though there was theft of intellectual property here, the producers of Glee may not be legally exposed to a copyright infringement suit because Coulton's arrangement was a cover in the first place.

You can find out more about this issue by going to Coulton's website,

Coulton deserves credit for his work. My purpose in writing this email is to politely ask that feedback be given to Fox from management of network stations that this kind of arrogance by the producers of an otherwise beloved program taints the image of the program, the station, and the network. This ethical lapse by the producers of Glee means I will no longer be watching Glee until the show credits Coulton.

If my email would be better sent to another person on the station, please feel free to forward it or let me know and I will be happy to contact that individual.

Thank you for your time.


Wyoming, Ohio

DosCapos says

Stay sane JoCo. We're behind ya 100%.

Jay says


Fess up! used a time machine in 2005 to go forward in time to 2013 and ripped off Glee's cover of Baby Got Back! Where can I buy the time machine that you used? ;-)

Kathryn Reeve says

For those in the UK and want to purchase the song - link is

Jim Bass says

Dude, you made Forbes! Kinda awesome move with the royalties.

Elyse says

What really we should do, is try and get other artists to cover Glee covers with only giving credit to the original artists. See if we can get Glee to try and sue them for doing to them what they did to you!

Jennifer Owen says

I don't watch Glee but I am a Jonathan Coulton fan. After you download his version of "Baby Got Back", go find "Ikea" which I've had on the iPod. Very catchy and great lyrics. Keep up the good music Mr. Coulton!

bill says

Quit whining be thankful they used it and your getting a ton of publicity by whining about it.

tt says

"Quit whining be thankful they used it and your getting a ton of publicity by whining about it."
thats like a zen koan.
i am going to meditate to that.

Jesse says


Who's the bigger whiner? The whiner or the whiner whining about the whiner?

Doug says

Hey Jonathan,
I like Glee. At the same time, the decision makers behind the show have committed a reprehensible sin in the artist's community. The show's victorious underdog theme seems to be a philosophy that exists solely for the purpose of ratings. Behind the scenes you have money grubbing a-holes that don't want to share the credit with the artists who actually make the music happen.

I don't know if this will stop me from watching the show, but it definitely has me looking at it in a new light. I will make sure that everyone I know who watches Glee, understand who actually arranged Baby Got Back on that episode. At the very least you will get credit by word of mouth. It is not nearly sufficient for what you deserve, but it is at least something. I also bought your cover of glee's cover of your cover of Baby Got Back to show my support. Thank you for being an awesome performers, and please don't let this stop you from being an awesome person. The show must go on.


andiyar says

Bought the single Jonathan - duplicate copy, but well worth it. I'm a fan of Glee as far as it goes, but I'm very unimpressed with the blatant purloining of your work here, and even less impressed with the response from FOX.

Hopefully they respond in an appropriate way, ie. apologies and publicly acknowledge that they are in the wrong here. Fingers are crossed for you.

All the best,


bill says


Making a statement about someone isn't whining. But blogging about it, giving interviews and posting all about it all over the internet is whining. Get a clue.

The definition of "whining"

1. To utter a plaintive, high-pitched, protracted sound, as in pain, fear, supplication, or complaint.
2. To complain or protest in a childish fashion.
3. To produce a sustained noise of relatively high pitch:

I made a statement about what he was doing, people make statements in reply to a issue. You cannot hear any pitch in my voice because it is in a written form.

But to make statements all over the web and have all your "followers" complain all over the web does no good whatsoever, if you dont like what someone does, go to Fox and file a complaint with them or file a lawsuit, dont threaten, DO IT. Otherwise it is whining.

My advice GROW UP, and take it your complaints to Fox otherwise all your whining wont do any good at all.

Tom says

You made /. and cNet. Although I'm not sure the author of the latter uses english as his first language.

Donovan says

Wearing my Artificial Heart T-shirt in protest and because its awesome, and continuing not watching Glee and telling people how morally bankrupt they are. Also buying your cover of a cover song! Keeping being awesome Jo Co!

Simon J Stuart says

Bought it on Amazon UK, and got over a dozen of my friends to buy it too!

We're all long-time JoCo fans, and although we already own the track... any opportunity to help out JoCo, any opportunity to help out charity, and - almost more importantly than both of those things - any opportunity to raise the middle finger to Glee (a show I despise for the constant raping of the autotone)

filkertom says

As always, sah, you rock. Track purchased (again) and signal boosted!

doggans says


//But to make statements all over the web and have all your “followers” complain all over the web does no good whatsoever,//

He's made statements a FEW places, which may have been QUOTED all over the web, but he's hardly running around "whining" to everybody.

He's not "having his followers complain". His friends and fans are drawing attention to this issue out of their own free will, because they passionately believe that what Fox did was wrong.

//My advice GROW UP, and take it your complaints to Fox otherwise all your whining wont do any good at all.//

From the sounds of things, he already DID take his complaints to Fox, and they were dismissive. So the "whining" is the only thing that CAN do any good. If Fox won't admit what they did to the public, SOMEONE has to.

And how is donating proceeds to charity a REMOTELY childish response?

bill says

@ doggans

THEN TAKE IT TO COURT, but commenting on it all over the web wont change ANYTHING. If FOX wont do anything go to court otherwise your not doing anything to fix the issue and giving money to a charity to promote your own song dont fix anything either. your doing nothing to fix the problem.

rawr says

Hey, just purchased your cover from Amazon MP3. Thank you for your efforts in contributing to charity.

It's funny that producers of Glee, who make episodes about anti-bullying, end up bullying on their own then they steal another's work. And like bullies, they don't even see their own actions as anything wrong in the slightest.

Craig says


This is how Journalism works in the 21st Century; a couple of sites pick up quotes for a story and most of the other news sites rewrite the story and give their own spin using the same quotes. Maybe what you should do is complain to those news & entertainment sites that ran this story.

Also, please do something to fix your grammar, then maybe you can tell other people how to run their lives.

Me says

A great response to a bad issue. You've handled it with class, unsurprisingly.
Just bought the song :)

Markita says

I'm buying your version again! I can't believe this whole mess is actually happening! Well, I've always been showing my friends that you are amazing and awesome. In a way, I'm glad Glee thinks you're awesome (enough to steal from, uuugh) too?

CrissyG says

You go JOCO!

sara says

@bill How do you know this isn't being taken to court? I get the impression that all legal avenues are being pursued, but not talked about publicly because that would be...whining.

JoCo would like credit for his work on this cover. Judging by the comments I've seen, speaking about it publicly is succeeding in getting him some of the acknowledgement Fox/Glee refused to provide. I'm hard pressed to see how that doesn't constitute a change.

There's also the larger issue that Glee routinely appropriates the work of small independent artists without credit, and that's the root of the "commenting on it all over the web" you so despise. It's not as though JoCo ordered legions of followers to make this go viral. This is an example of genuine widespread outrage at behaviour by a large corporation that FEELS unfair.

Whether the controversy will result in any change of policy at Glee remains to be seen, but it has been a boost in profile for a number of artists whose work has been used in the past without credit. May not entirely fix the problem, but it's a start.

Lauren Elizabeth says

Mr. Coulton, your creativity, generosity & above all CLASS are undeniable. Thank you & best of luck in this kerfuffle, you've already won in the court of public opinion.

Emma Bull says

Yep, you're still made of 100% weaponized high-density awesome.

Margaret says

I've been a big fan of Glee, and this is *very* disappointing. I hope they will turn around and take the opportunity to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, I *love* that *you* are doing so. I'm buying your song on iTunes to support your voice and your donations to charity. Keep up the good work!

Quirkybutterfly says

I was a fan of yours before I was a fan of Glee. I have just purchased this song for the second time. Showing my support for JoCo and my disappointment in the Glee empire.

Jane says

The original of Baby Got Back didn't have a melody so I don't understand why Jonathan Coulton didn't copyright the melody (which he obviously wrote.) Unfortunately, he didn't. And the law that protects lyricists and composers, does nothing for the work of arrangers.

Legally the producers of Glee are within their rights. Morally, they are not. While they are not required to pay for the use of the arrangement, it would have cost them nothing to give credit where credit was so clearly due. Such credit would help JoCo, and other artists they have treated similarly, in terms of media exposure, bringing them to the attention of potential new fans.

I will buy JoCo's cover of Glee's cover of JoCo's cover of Sir Mix a Lot's song to help make this point to the producers of the show.

Henning says

Really glad there's at least SOMETHING we can do about this whole sordid mess. Also, great charities you picked out! It'd be great, though, if you could put up a comment how non-US-residents can get in on it - we are, unfortunately, banned from using the links you provided.

Tom says

@Jane, what do you mean "didn't copyright". If you write it, you have copyright. I doubt this works any different in the US

And indeed, as Henning says, can't buy it from not-US it seems...

Carlos Garcia says

Totally off-topic: Wonder why the download is not available in Spain through Google Play, only through Amazon...
At least is a good thing that with three alternatives one was available.

Angelastic says

"I just think the outrage against Glee is misplaced. They did give you exposure. "

The exposure was a direct result of the outrage. They only got him exposure indirectly by doing something so outrageous that a lot of news outlets ran the story; if he and his fans had just sat back and thought, 'Oh, how nice of them to give some anonymous exposure' then he wouldn't have got any exposure whatsoever, and then there would have been no reason to think that it was nice of them.

It's a bit of a suicide bomb of exposure, since they're only giving him as much exposure as they get bad exposure. It would have been so much easier for them if they'd just contacted/credited/maybe paid him in the first place.

Angelastic says

Oh, and for what it's worth, it is available to buy in the Swiss iTunes store, so that's at least something outside the US.

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Geogal says


I'd disagree, I'd say getting the information out there on the internet IS doing something. Filing a lawsuit isn't the only avenue people can take in situations like this, as JoCo has shown. I think people knowing what Fox did, and using the issue to raise money for charity (rather than for himself) is quite an effective route to take.

It doesn't always have to be about making people "pay" for committing wrongs against you. I find it a little sad actually that you jumped to "lawsuit" as a solution so quickly.

Fabio says

Already hated Glee, and loved you, so of course I bought the single ;)

William says


Grow up and stop whining, bill.

Jordiana says

Are you seriously going to all this fuss? This is ridiculous. I am a huge fan of glee and I loved their arrangement of 'Baby got back'. And a lot if the time I hear music on glee that I've never heard before and I check out the originals. And I would have done this if it wasn't for your idiocy all over twitter and glee blogs.

Glee is a multi-million dollar show with a huge fan base. The show means something. The music means something. The characters mean something. The storyline means something to every underdog. People say that they use that prowess to attract the viewers, yet it's been that way since the beginning. That's what the show is, that's what it stands for. It means something.

And now you're going to try and tell me that this song means something to you? Well of course it did. I mean it must have been your pride and joy when you wrote and composed that song.. Oh wait.

Don't try and pretend like you're the victim here. Because you know who the real victim is? The people who want to go happily about their lives, whether they're glee fans or johnathon fans. I and a lot of others don't want to hear you whining all over the Internet.

Thank you for your time.

Nigel P says


"I am a huge fan of glee and I loved their arrangement of ‘Baby got back’"

No, you didn't. You loved Jonathan's arrangement of Baby got back. Obviously you have no idea of the issues here. Oh, and stop whining - it's not about you.

Anonymous says


"I am a huge fan of glee and I loved their arrangement of ‘Baby got back’."
It wasn't their arrangement, it was Jonathan Coulton's arrangement.

"The show means something. The music means something. The characters mean something. The storyline means something to every underdog."
The only thing the show means is a fat paycheck to its creators and FOX. They could care less about what you think.

"I mean it must have been your pride and joy when you wrote and composed that song.. Oh wait."
Maybe you should listen to the original song from Mix A Lot. Beside the lyrics, it is a COMPLETELY different song. Coulton added melody to the words and entire instrumental arrangement in the background. How is this any less his intellectual property than one of his original songs?

"Don’t try and pretend like you’re the victim here."
How about you stop spewing hate, and go about your business? Your negativity is not wanted here - or anywhere.

Geogal says

@Jordiana it's not Glee's arrangement; they used JoCo's arrangement. They did nothing new or creative with the song.

The show means something? What's that? That it's ok to copy someone else without so much as a word of credit for who they copied? That plagiarism is ok?

As for checking out the originals, if this issue had not been brought to the attention of the public, the only people who would have known where to look for this particular arrangement of the song would have been JoCo fans. All you'd have found is the original rap.

It saddens me that people worship such an unethical show.

Sophie says

You have handled this situation with such class, and because you are donating the proceeds of your rerelease to charities many people will benefit from that. You deserve a public apology from the producers of Glee and a big cheque. They have behaved unethically and they need to own up to that. Also I hope their version of the song bombs.

G.R. says

It's really sad to see an independent artist treated so shabbily. Even sadder to see some people defending the corporate rapacity and amorality responsible. Hang in there Jonathan. I'll buy a copy even though it's not my favorite JoCo song.

nalf says


"Glee is a multi-million dollar show with a huge fan base."

Yes they did spend millions of dollars on the show and it would cost them nothing to give credit to Coulton. They didn't to foster the misconception that they wrote it.

"The show means something. The music means something. The characters mean something. The storyline means something to every underdog."

Do you a underdog like a indie music artist having their intellectual property stolen by a massive corporation? What the show means is massive profits for Fox.

"People say that they use that prowess to attract the viewers, yet it’s been that way since the beginning. That’s what the show is, that’s what it stands for. It means something."

Here is the problem... the show SAYS it stands for those things, yet it's actions proven otherwise. The show claims to stand for the underdog and for supporting the arts. Yet has stolen from many indie music artists and choreographers. They even bully large artist if they refuse to lend their music to the show.

"And now you’re going to try and tell me that this song means something to you? Well of course it did. I mean it must have been your pride and joy when you wrote and composed that song.. Oh wait."

Yes he used Sir Mix-A-Lots lyrics... don't believe anyone has denied that. What he did do is create an original instrumental arrangement . The current laws don't allow for a copyright on things such this but that just shows how antiquated our copyright laws are. Laws change all the time and hopefully some of the good that can come out of situations like these is that these laws get reviewed and changed.

"Don’t try and pretend like you’re the victim here. Because you know who the real victim is? The people who want to go happily about their lives, whether they’re glee fans or johnathon fans. I and a lot of others don’t want to hear you whining all over the Internet."

We are bringing this to peoples attention and bringing unethical practices to peoples attention is how we enact change. Whether that change is in business practices or in the laws that allow for such practices. To simply bury our heads in the sand does no one any good except those that would use or would like to continue to use unethical practices for profit.

Contact Fox and tell them to resolve the situation in acceptable manner. Fox's, although legal, unethical actions is what is driving this.

bill says

The key issue is the LAW. You can bitch and moan and say how unfair it all is, but what does it do unless you CHANGE THE LAW. To change the law you MUST GO TO COURT. You must go to your congressman/woman and get them to write a bill to change the law. But you can sit there day in and day out and bitch about it but that wont change a thing. Fox already said they were within the law in what they did. So all the bitching you do online isn't going to change it, go to court, get you congressman/woman to write a bill to change it.

Another part of it is to me he still used a part of someone else's work. Maybe he did write new music for it, but he still used most of the words, in the writing world that's called plagiarism and you can be fired for it or sued and will lose. Why if he is such a good artist does he need to take someone else's song and change it so he can make money off of it?

To the person who says "if he wrote it, he has a copyright on it" is wrong, you have to register it with the US copyright office and until then you have no control over it at all.

Avedon says

Stop saying it's an original "arrangement". It's Mix-A-Lot's lyrics and Coulton's melody. Coulton is not just the "arranger" of this version, he's the composer of the tune behind Mix-A-Lot's lyrics.

Drew says

All we know for certain is that one of the following things happened:

1) The Glee Producers independently of JoCo came up with an original arrangement of the song that happened to match his arrangement. They were then able to record the arrangement note for note, matching the original version.

2) Taking JoCo's arrangement they were able to duplicate it exactly.

3) They took the karaoke version and just laid the different vocals over it. Using the "We're a major network TV show and we can do what we want" defense.

I'm not a musician or statistician, but the probability of two different people coming up with the identical arrangement with an identical recording is astronomical. Every time a musician plays a song it's going to be slightly different. Minor modifications in tempo, a guitar string looser this time around. Little things.

Finally, the time that would be required to duplicate the song so closely tells me they lifted Jonathan's track and used it without any modification.

nalf says


It doesn't have end in a change in the law. It can be a change in business practices. Take the 2010 Greenpeace campaign to stop Kit Kat from using palm oil from Indonesian companies that destroyed the rainforest. No laws were changed there. The company changed its policy and source only rainforest-sustainable palm oil by 2015.

Ash says


//Another part of it is to me he still used a part of someone else’s work. Maybe he did write new music for it, but he still used most of the words, in the writing world that’s called plagiarism and you can be fired for it or sued and will lose. Why if he is such a good artist does he need to take someone else’s song and change it so he can make money off of it?//

Uhmm... JoCo has credited Sir Mix-a-Lot with the original. Mix-a-Lot gets the royalties. Did you not read the article that you're here to slam?

Samantha says

It is amusing to me how Bill is spending all this time being so argumentative about something he knows nothing about. That's the internet for you: I'm right and so talking about it is good, you're whining so talking about it is bad.

Whining is the new "I don't like your tone" argument, I guess.

nalf says

@ Samantha

If he doesn't like it he could... I don't know, ignore it. That's his choice.

I like sports, but I don't go to sports pages or forums and tell them to stop talking about it.

nalf says

*I don't like sports, but I don’t go to sports pages or forums and tell them to stop talking about it.

Thortok2000 says


The law is definitely being talked about and discussed and lawyers are involved.

However, there is such a thing as the court of public opinion. (Feel free to look up that term.)

When something is obviously morally and ethically wrong but the law doesn't (yet) agree, the court of public opinion can often get you satisfaction that the law cannot.

Right now the internet is putting a bit of pressure on FOX to step up and do something they aren't legally obligated to do, to save face. If there was no pressure, there'd be no face to save, and they'd have no reason to do anything else. Without that reason to change, there would be no change.

You said previously that even if the law changed it wouldn't be retroactive. This is not so in the court of public opinion.

One thing that's impressed me most about Jon's behavior has been how little he has been dirt-slinging at FOX or Glee. He's stuck to the facts and his own emotional responses, he hasn't made nasty accusations or assumptions about Glee or the makers of it at all. As many people have said, he is showing lots of class.

So right now there's at least a little bit of pressure for FOX to do the right thing and fess up.

Finally, it's ironic that you use the word plagiarism when that's exactly what Jon didn't do and exactly what Glee did. Jon got permission and even paid for the right to use SMAL's lyrics. Glee completely ignored that Jon existed and copied his performance straight out of his recordings, erased his voice and replaced it with their own, and made a couple other slight tweaks.

There was a really good analogy I saw on another forum discussion.

Imagine that Jenny owns a cool looking and unusual house. Bill comes along and thinks that it's a pretty epic house and more people should know about it. He also has a unique vision for how to get people more interested in this house, since most people just pass it by or have forgotten about it. Bill asks if he can take a picture of that house and sell the picture. Jenny says sure, if you pay me royalties. Bill says okay, takes the picture (in a very unique way that he puts a lot of effort in), sells it, and pays Jenny royalties. Plenty of people are now enjoying the house all over again in a fresh new way.

Later, Glee comes along and asks Jenny if they can also take a picture of Jenny's house. Jenny says sure, if you pay me royalties. Glee says okay, pays Jenny the fees, but then uses Bill's picture instead of making their own. They then take Bill's picture and spread it as far and as wide as they can, merchandising it, putting it on everything, trying to make as much money as possible off of Bill's picture. And they don't credit Bill for it at all, to all intents and purposes they ignore that Bill exists (and tell him that he should be 'grateful for the exposure'). When people see that picture, they think that it's a picture that Glee took and that Bill is plagiarizing Glee and not giving Glee the credit for their picture, so of course if Bill does nothing then they're more inclined to buy Glee's version and not Bill's. If Bill were to try to sell his picture anymore, he runs the risk of having it taken down or having to pay fines for copyright infringement because he's "copying the picture that Glee took".

How do you think Bill would feel in that scenario? This is the entire reason copyright law came about in the first place.

The law does need to change to prevent something like this from happening, and court is the place to do it. How do you know that isn't being investigated? It's been what, three days since it happened? Four? Court takes months, sometimes years, to effect change. Hence, again, the court of public opinion is a good start.

If you can't see how Jon has been acting with class throughout all this, and you can't empathize with him at all, I kinda feel sorry for you.

bill says


so what he credited it to him, big deal he still took someone elses work and made money off of him, write your own stuff, compose your won music and you wont have to deal with this problem

bill says


Didnt Glee do exactly what Coulton did, they went to the people who did the ORIGINAL SONG got permission and did their own tweaks to it and then showed it on tv, same thing Coulton did but they are wrong and he isn't? Fox did what they did LEGALLY and they said they were in the right to what they did. Even if Fox apologized, whats to say someone else wont do the same thing Glee did, thats why you get the law changed.

nalf says

"the law changed it wouldn’t be retroactive"

Are you sure that is true? Seriously asking.

nalf says

"You must go to your congressman/woman and get them to write a bill to change the law. But you can sit there day in and day out and bitch"

And who is to say we haven't been writing our congressman/woman? Posting on the internet doesn't exude you from contacting your congressman/woman. You can do both. That's the "Magic of the Internet".

nalf says


SaintToad says

Class move, sir.

Geogal says


I swear it's like you haven't read about a single thing that's being done.

Geogal says

"Didnt Glee do exactly what Coulton did, they went to the people who did the ORIGINAL SONG got permission and did their own tweaks to it"

No...they didn't "do their own tweaks to it" they did JoCo's tweaks to it.

Mason C. says

Hey JoCo,

Longtime fan. I've been with you since Thing-A-Week was a thing. Needless to say, this whole situation got my feathers ruffled.

Just dropping in to tell you as of my last checking, you're currently ranked in in iTune's Top 100 Songs. Congratulations!

Bpkurtz says

A quick update: I emailed the Director of Programming and Station operations for my local Fox station (here in Cincinnati, Ohio) and asked that feedback about this issue be given to the network, and he wrote me back saying:

"Thank you for your message. We will pass your comments along to the Network. However, if you wish to contact them directly to express your comments, you can do so at
Thanks for watching FOX19."

I will email that address of course, and encourage you to as well, but my hunch is that it means a bit more if affiliate stations give Fox flack for upsetting their customers than if people send the network angry emails directly. I could be wrong.

So, if you get a chance, go to the website of your local Fox affiliate and look for how to contact their management, and let them know that this is an issue that reflects poorly on the show, the station, and the network.

Craig says

'Glee' vs. Jonathan Coulton and 'Baby Got Back' update: If you can't beat 'em, outsell 'em:

Derek Berner says


Thanks for the idea.

I sent the following to my local affiliate, and will be sending a similar message to

"A Nashville resident since 2006, I have long enjoyed tuning in to WZTV to enjoy your quality prime time programming. In particular, my wife and I watch Bob's Burgers every Sunday and we love the unparalleled comedic writing and timing combined with lovable, relatable characters that give the show incredible depth.

Which is why I was deeply saddened and offended to learn that independent artist Jonathan Coulton, of whom I am a longtime fan, has reported that the makers of Glee used his own arrangement of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" on their show, refused to credit, compensate or acknowledge him for it, and were rude and dismissive to him when he asked for comment. I investigated the matter further and there is particularly damning evidence that FOX may have actually used Coulton's own audio track from his arrangement on the show.

I also understand that the network is refusing to provide any official comment to multiple news outlets who have picked up the story, including NPR, Wired, CNN and Forbes.

This type of move is beyond reprehensible, and antithetical to the theme of Glee, which champions the plight of the underdog against the establishment. For the makers of Glee to champion such a cause with their right hand, and with their left hand employ the very subversive, unethical, greedy tactics that they decry on the show, is utterly hypocritical.

Though I am a huge fan of some of your programming, I will regretfully be joining other fans of Jonathan Coulton in a boycott of all FOX programming until the FOX network agrees to publicly apologize for using an independent artist's work without acknowledgement or compensation.

I hope you understand my frustration here, and look forward to your help in a timely resolution of this matter. "

Thortok2000 says


"Didnt Glee do exactly what Coulton did, they went to the people who did the ORIGINAL SONG got permission and did their own tweaks to it and then showed it on tv, same thing Coulton did but they are wrong and he isn’t? Fox did what they did LEGALLY and they said they were in the right to what they did. Even if Fox apologized, whats to say someone else wont do the same thing Glee did, thats why you get the law changed."

Except they didn't do "their own" tweaks, they did /Joco's/ tweaks. Have you even listened to the three versions of the song? (SMAL's original version, Joco's version, Glee's version.)

If Glee had simply done a cover of SMAL's version, and even if they changed up the melody, even if they put it in a similar genre to the melody that Joco did, they'd be making their own tweaks.

Instead, they /copied/ Joco, down to literally copying his performance and plagiarizing him and using his backtrack as if it was theirs, note for note.

I agree that the law needs to be changed and the only way to change it is to take it to law. But I repeat, what makes you think that isn't also being done?

Uncle J says

Well, for what [slice of the post-iTunes/licensing fee pie] it's worth, I just bought your latest and greatest track - and appreciate and respect the high ground you're taking with this inane situation.

More power to ya - thanks for being great.

Bpkurtz says

@Derek Berner -- very nice. I tried to strike a similar tone, basically that I want to watch your network because (some of) your shows are good, but it tarnishes Fox's brand to not admit when a mistake has been made.

Maybe my glasses are too rose-colored, but I have to think that if enough pressure builds this can't really be swept under the rug forever, and Fox and the executive producers at Glee will apologize?

(Okay, reading that statement, I realize how naive it sounds.)

Mattface says

Everyone loves a good David vs. Goliath story. You'd think the producers of Glee would understand this, since it's basically the premise of their show. It's proved a solid formula for them to appeal to the Davids, so you'd think they'd make an effort not to cast themselves in the role of Goliath in this story.

Karl Brown says

I'm talking off the top of my head, but here goes: I hope you sue for the unauthorized use of your audio. I know lots of attention has been paid to the duck quack, but here's another suggestion. I know your rhythm on banjo, mandolin and guitar is very good, and I like to think my ear is pretty good, and it sure sounds to me like you are playing right on the beat. However, both of us are human, so it is very likely that at least a few of the notes actually come a few microseconds before or after the beat. If it can be shown that the corresponding notes on the Glee version are off by the exact same amount, that should nail it!

Rhiannon says

This is wrong, the big guy steam rolling the little guy. What I want to say, those for the most part has already been said; with maybe one exception... I spend the majority of my time about twenty minutes away from Georgetown Delaware (where fox is incorporated). The expenditure of gasoline and time even the flowing fees (about 40 bucks the last time I looked) Would be a welcome donation to the cause. I would even be willing to find their offices around here. Just let me know.

Jason says

I'll let folks more versed with the law comment on the legal junk. I hope Fox and Glee make good, one way or the other. I bought my "In the style of Glee" copy. :)

Jordiana says

Considering you're all going on about ethics and morals, maybe you should think twice before spamming others with hate. This is why shows like glee exist.

Renee says

Excellent response to a bad situation. I will happily purchase the track. You're a class act, Mr. Coulton.

Cole says

You wrote that melody and chord progression Jon. You own that part. Don't give up.

fancycwabs says

It's currently charting #41 on Amazon. Ahead of Adele, Bieber, and fun.. If the momentum keeps up, you could make the Billboard hot 100.

Geogal says


Shows like Glee exist to what? Make money off the creativity of other people?

Joe says

102!!! Keep pushing guys, let's get to the top 100!!!

Bpkurtz says

@Mattface -- totally agreed, I think that your comment does the best job of succinctly capturing something we've all been scratching our heads about.

ZSandmann says

#84 and rising! Purchased this even though I already had it.

Patrick says

I certainly do not condone the spewage of hate. However, the majority of posts on this topic that i have seen from people supporting Jonathan Coultan have been nothing but positive. People just want a solution to this mess that gives the author of the musical arrangement credit for his work.

Ki says

Why not take this one further and contact local radio stations to ask them to play JoCo's version?

Craig says

@Ki & for anyone in the NYC area, here's a list of NY radio stations:

Jim MacQ. says

You really need to record an instrumental version and file for copyright on your original melody. That's your property.

Joe says

itunes version dropped from 102 to 105. Quick people, let's fix this!

Rob says

As a usually mild mannered person, this whole FOX episode angers me to no end. The JoCo cover beats anything they have ever come up with in terms of originality and wit. So....... they just take it. Arrogance of power. Danger to many. I bought the download. Glad to contribute to the cause of decency.

Mary Ellen says

I just bought the song, even though I already had the original cover. Always happy to support the good guys!

Reldan says

Picked it up on Amazon (again). Great idea.

Craig says

@Joe I see that he's at #84 (in the US store):

What chart are you looking at?

Craig says

Oh wait, on iTunes he's #112

Joe says

I'm looking at the list of top songs on the list on the itunes program. It says 112 now, but if the itunes website says 84 then even better :) 33 on Amazon too!

Chloe says

As a New Zealander am I able to buy any of these? If I do will it even add to the charts count?

I'm not to keen on downloading iTunes to find this out :P I know we don't have GooglePlay music yet and from memory I've been not able to buy stuff from Amazon before.

abedisbatmannow says

Here's an idea for all of you who have a desire to "stick it" to Glee: boycott the show. "But abed," you say, "we can't boycott Glee. We love the show too much." Ladies and gentlemen may I introduce you to the wonderful world of torrents. And as an added bonus: no commercials! The only thing you have to sacrifice is watching the show at it's broadcast premiere. But your message will ring loud and clear to the people who can actually make a change at Fox because it will hit them where it hurts them the most, their wallets.

tl;dr Boycott Fox, torrent Glee. Win-Win

Jay says

I think they do covers of covers for a probably costs less! ;-)

nalf says

Petitioning GLEE / FOX
GLEE / FOX: Give Jonathan Coulton the credit he is due.

Ahem.. says


Because of my misguided youth, I happen to know there is a Fox News Anchor who can perform Rapper's Delight, complete with all the lyrics about "Super Sperm".

License it. Then I'll tell you who's voice you should spoof. He/She probably can use the publicity.

Javy says


If you're saying a cover song costs less in terms of time, may be on to something. Writing a song takes time as you have to come up with lyrics, the melody, the music itself, as well as the arrangement, before you set foot in a recording studio.

On the other hand, with a cover, the melody, lyrics, music, practically already done. You only spend time on making a different arrangement. Or you spend far less time on things like melody and lyrics if you're modifying those parts of a song.

In terms of money, a cover certainly does not cost less. Right off the bat you have to pay a licensing fee to the writer of the song, as well as a licensing fee to the publishers. With a song you wrote, none of that. As a matter of fact, YOU are the songwriter so YOU get the licensing fees if someone covers it!

Joe says

@Nalf, I, and I'm sure everyone else, appreciates the petition you made and the effort you put into it, but there's already been petitions going around, with purposes that address the larger problem rather than this small one. JoCo getting his music stolen sucks, but the primary goal isn't to get him credit from Fox, the episode has already been aired. Fox could make a statement, and that would be a great additional outcome, but the primary goal is to prevent Fox from screwing over other musicians in the future, while simultaneously spreading the word that it's Coulton's work over the internet. Sign this petition that was posted a few pages back, it has more of a long-term goal:

Joe says

@Ahem..., Why would JoCo want to make thing worse by ripping off an anchor who happens to work for the company but had no involvement in this whole mess?

Dylan says


The problem with your argument is that you are ignoring the fact that while Jonathan didn't write the original lyrics, he did write an original melody, arrange it, record it, and play all the instruments on the track. He paid licensing fees to the original composer and publisher of Baby Got Back just like he was supposed to. What he actually produced was actually a mostly original work that borrowed from copyrighted source material. What the producers of Glee did, in essence, is ignore his contribution to this process and stole all of his original work and passed it off as their own.

Craig says

#132 in iTunes, but still ahead of the Glee songs.

Sir Mixed Metaphor says

Don't get your panties in a cat of creases.

nalf says


I didn't make that petition it was just one that was linked to me. I didn't know there was another one going around (hadn't see a linked for it here or on Facebook).

Thanks for the link!

Lynn says

So T-Mobile seems to be heavily sponsoring Glee. Anyone want to join me in a letter writing campaign to T-Mobile to let them know that their association with Glee is tarnishing their brand?

Joe says

@Lynn: T-Mobile and Glee probably have a long term contract that would take a long time and many lawyers to break. Even if they do find this a worthy reason to break the contract (which it probably isn't, because business), they're not going to abruptly stop sponsoring them because of a bit of controversy in the news. They'll probably wait to see how this plays out (assuming they even know what's going on, it's highly possible they don't) before making any big decisions.

If instead we boycotted the companies sponsoring the show, we could pressure them into ending the sponsorship as soon as possible to save the business, leaving the show underfunded. However, it would take a HUGE percent of their market to be on our side for this to work, and I don't see that being the case. Plus, we can't just hurt other companies for being a long-time sponsor to a show that recently did something wrong.

We're not trying to hurt the show, that would be extreme. We're playing defense here, trying to protect independent artists from all big corporations, not just Fox and Glee, in the future. To do that, we just need to build up support on our side, enough that the legal system will be pressured into making a change that will protect smaller artists.

Lynn says

Joe, I work in marketing and do get how long-term contracts work with regards to both sponsorship and advertising. I also have a pretty good idea of what moves companies to make a change in how they do things: 1) money 2) annoyance for C-level execs.

My though here is that we could pretty easily just let those companies know that we think it's damaging their brand. A significant number of people writing would mean that it would at least head up to the VP or CMO level and would annoy that person. Are they going to break contract? God no, but they might have someone give a call to Fox to point out that they are getting annoyed by this as well. In all likelihood, for a sponsorship like this, there's a contract that requires that neither side can say anything disparaging about the other in public, which means they wouldn't make a public statement, but they don't need to.

Additionally, I didn't call for a boycott of the businesses sponsoring the show. Though that might be where the money is, we don't have the numbers to actually make a dent in the money for the type of companies that can afford to put advertising dollars toward prime time network TV. Our best bet is being a vocal minority and going the annoyance route. Thus my suggestion.

I can't say that I think it's that extreme to choose not to buy from companies that put their advertising dollars behind a show that has recently (and throughout most of its history) decided to exploit a legal loophole that lets them not pay or credit the artists whose work they are using. Of course that's based on conjecture, because Fox won't make any statement, which is why I thought we could annoy their execs a little more.

Blake "Digitalnight" Wilson says

I know where glee got the track, and so should you JoCo. "JoCo Looks Back" came with the source material for some of your favorite songs. It's a damn shame they would steal that material from you.

Joe says

@Lynn: Sorry about the boycott part, that actually started as me thinking it was a good option instead of writing letters, but then I changed my mind mid writing it and...well you can read how that turned out :P. Your plan to get them to contact Fox is great, and I may write a few letters to various sponsors later.

Andrew says

Current Amazon ranks:
Coulton #41
Glee #9672

Andrew says

I also find it interesting that the Glee version has a "unique purchase identifier" because nobody should be able to copy it without paying. That wouldn't be right. ;-)

ScoBraDo says

You're an upstanding individual, Jonathan.

Leah says

Gotta say, it's 100% asshole-y what FOX did. They didn't even give credit and it's so painfully obvious they stole your melody. I listened to the two side by side, except for the glee cast voice, it sounds 100% the same.

Erik Wright-Olsen says

Speaking of JoCo Looks Back, I'm late to the game but would love a chance to do my own remixes. And so far I haven't been able to Google my way into a good link for it.

I, [state my name], do solemnly swear or affirm that I will suitably donate either to JoCo or Creative Commons if I am able to get these files.

Daniel K says

You're a classy dude, JoCo.

Wayne From The UK says

Happy to buy again Jonathan. Thing a Week brought me to Coverville and I know we are both very grateful for that. Best of luck Jonathan. We all support you!

Cats says

Much Love Jonathan.

Happy to help out. Rock on :D

Blackwell Junior says

@Erik Wright-Olsen:
You can get those files here, it's a torrent, but in this case actually a completely legal download ;D

jennifer says

Sir Mix-A-Lot and John Roderick were on the local Seattle NPR station yesterday morning and they mention this Glee issue. The interview with them starts around 36 mins in and the discussion of JC/Glee starts around 48 mins in.

I heard the end of the interview yesterday, but missed the best parts and I went back to go listen to it today and was pleasantly surprised to hear them bring it up.

Marisa says

What's been concerning me about this whole thing is the impact this could have on Creative Commons licensing--if an entity can disregard or disrespect it because they have the money, power, and resources to be able to, what kind pf precedent does that set? I don't know the solution to that or what to do about it, but maybe this is just my ire against Big Media...and with big, entrenched interests beating up on harmless little guys. Kind of a metaphor for the geek experience, I guess. My thinking is, the best revenge would be to write a song about it and hope it goes viral.;-)

Anyway, I hate that this might end this way, but the charity idea is not only big of you, it's also clever.

And when it all boils down to it, you're no longer a code monkey, right?;-)

Keep rocking, Jonathan!

MarkB says

Sir Mix-a-Lot: "Do not underestimate a cat like Jonathan with a million followers. He will wax that ass."

h/t jennifer

I sense a new album cover...

Blackwell Junior says

...we could all wax our asses and tweet Jonathan the pictures to show him our support.

Best. Idea. Ever.

G. Racer says

Purchased the song again to help the cause. I just hope that something can be done legally before Fox releases the season on blu-ray/DVD -- that would really mess with them!

Tom says

Blackwell, if I'm going to send a picture of my waxed ass to anyone, it's going to be the production staff of Glee.

Erik Wright-Olsen says

@Blackwell Junior--yeah, that was the first place Google took me. But I've tried from a couple of different machines on different networks, and using both the plain torrent link and the applet, I have yet to initiate a transfer. Not even once.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm running dangerously low on asswax.

nalf says

I thought it was FOX/Glee policy to not credit cover artist?

"Old Rachel and New Rachel perform 'Torn' by Natalie Imbruglia in tomorrow night's all-new Glee. Watch it now!"

"Torn" is a song, originally by alternative rock band Ednaswap from their debut album Ednaswap (1995).

Prodigious Jay says

Jonathan, I have to say, the way you're handling this is very mature and upstanding for the industry (and people) you are currently dealing with. It is unfair to have your material taken and used, with the "Johnny C's in trouble" line still in, and then blow you off.

To be fair, Glee is already dying as is. They have been picking crap songs and their plot lines have become rather hack level. To them it's always been about the money, yet as this trend has caught up with them, they have to step on a few toes. I wished there was a hard spot to hit to get them to give even a nod in your direction, but the gentlemanly thing to do would be help get your version selling more, promote it, and hope we can raise enough money for charity.

Also, I can hear the faint sound of a duck in the song as well, you are not alone.

radiocynic says

JoCo's solution here was typically thoughtful and brilliant. I love the circular justice in this whole charity single thing.

Currently #80 on Amazon's top 100 downloads.

Mix's comment -- not only an album cover idea. If you heard the audio of his quote on KUOW, it was imo highly sampleable for future musical use.

Simon says

I'd like to buy this on Google Play, but they won't accept my credit card as payment (which is how I usually pay there). Any ideas as to why?

Name (required) says

Be sure to check out John Cheese's article on In it he lists all the reasons JoCo should be grateful that Glee robbed him blind. Great stuff.

Twily says

Found out about this initiative via John Cheese's article on; brilliant response, Mr. Coulton, really well played. Picked up this track and JoCo Looks Back for good measure. It'll be nice to be able to listen to your work without youtube or the like. Certainly seems like good use for the iTunes gift cards I've been sitting on because I'm not an Apple person.

Fata Morgana says

I already bought this song from JoCo at least once, but I just now went and bought it from him again. :)

Michael says

I'll confess: I liked the Glee version enough to buy it. What can I say? It was a nicely done song.
To balance the karma scales, I also purchased the original JoCo version at the same time.
And to tip the scales, I just bought the "new" JoCo version.

Dr.Cocktail says

Hey Jonathan, Ted, here. I've been following your travails with my other industry - the film biz - with interest, More than interest, actually. You've seen CNN's coverage, no doubt. The message boards to the article have been aflame, and i'm gratified how many supporters have seen fit to stand for you there. I'm by no means sheepish to say I'm one of them. There I'm labeled 'Skeptacular.' You've dealt with your injustice with much wisdom but it seems as though with the legal protections parodies are afforded, you might find advocates willing to give Glee just a little harder a time. Call me vicariously vindictive, but I'd like to see you succeed - especially if at their expense. And then I'll make us both a drink - no Malort in the recipe.

Zrelia says

Hey Jonathan I just got it from Amazon ^_^, and I'm proud to have paid $.99 for the ORIGINAL than the $1.29 for the rip off. Team JoCo all the way.

Lynn says

I find Your response to make you seem like a jerk. I personally know little about you and your music. When you google glee's cover of your song, your song comes up too. That's great free publicity for you. Instead of being a baby and whining about it take it as a compliment and celebrate more publicity for you. When I first heard it was originally done by you, it made me want to hear more songs. Then to read the reaction you are having. You are coming off as a big baby. Fans love their idols, no matter if they are right or wrong. Just look at armstrong's history. In this case you are wrong to be whining. Glee brings songs to people that haven't heard them before and makes them want to hear more of the artist. Instead you just turned me off and I think your head is too big for you body. Go ahead psycho fans...attack me like the good followers you are.

Joe says

@Lynn The only reason his song came up when you googled Glee's is because of his response. Most of the matched results came from comparison tracks and his newly released cover of a cover of a cover. And I don't know where you see him whining or acting like a jerk. The most emotional thing he's said was "I'm pretty angry". And now his response is donating to charities, more specifically charities greatly supported by Glee. So go on, tell me what's absolutely horrible about being charitable (other than the selection of It Gets Better, but that's a different argument)? Glee does bring songs to people who haven't heard them before, and it exposes fans to the first artists to use those lyrics. However it completely overshadows the ones who worked hard to create the new musical track, with JoCo being just one of multiple cases of this. This isn't an attack on Glee, it's cast, or it's fans. This is a movement to change the music industry as a whole, to stop the little guy from being trampled on in the future. We don't want to shut down Glee or anything like that (although I admit some of the people on our side DO claim to want something like that, but they are people with a preconceived opinion about the show who are twisting our attempt at a movement into their own vendettas, and the majority of us including myself do not agree). We just want to create an industry that's fair and just. Is that so wrong?

J_Jammer says

What high road?

The road where he glows in the publicity that came from what? Glee singing the song.

And where's his credit to them?

Right. I see how what's good for the Goose sure the hell ain't good for the Gander.

J_Jammer says

Again...high road? Your minions are running around trashing everything like this is some sort of internet riot. They must all live in LA.

CJD_Fan says

I love that JoCo is turining this into a positive thing! Benefit to charity, some publicity for our beloved music maker, and you even gave glee credit in the title of your song haha!

While I adore your music JoCo, I became a fan because of the awesome guy I found sitting behind it =)

J_Jammer says

What Glee did (or whoever is in charge of music did...blaming everyone in the entire cast and crew is retarded) was douchy. What you're minions are doing is also douchy. Who is going to be the bigger douche when it's all said and done.

And as a person that sees different areas of the internet where your "fans" have made their "point" (a little too much like following a dictator) I've decided it's best to call them CULTons than what they're calling themselves.

I'd respect what is going on more if people were actually doing as they were preaching. They're not. So I can't.

It's funny that people want credit for taking something that wasn't theirs. Transforming the music still doesn't make the song yours. Altering a lyric still doesn't make the song yours. Without the original what you have done means absolutely nothing.

It's like a person who writes fanfic. What are you actually creating? You're giving what you love a different face. It's also like taking your favorite shirt from your favorite store and changing the color and claiming ownership and if anyone changes the same shirt to the same color they owe you more than the owe the shirt maker.

Your version of the song is awesome. And I like it. But I cannot support you and I won't. Because (in short and in mocking of you) you're not behaving as I want you to.

Ogre Jehosephatt says


"What you’re minions are doing is also douchy."

What are they doing, other than informing people of the injustice? How is reporting moral violations douchey?

Also, it's "your".

Further also, we aren't very good minions since he's specifically asked us to calm down. You use words like "dictator" and "minions", but they don't apply to this situation at all. I don't know what compels you to delude yourself into thinking this is somehow analogous to Nazis marching on Poland.

"Transforming the music still doesn’t make the song yours."

Coulton's arrangement is completely different from the original song. There's no obvious path that takes you from Mix-a-lot's version to Coulton's. I mean, I can see someone doing their own acoustic ballad cover of the song, but there's no reason to think that it would be at all similar to Coultons. Writing the actual music part of songs is much harder than coming up with lyrics (for the most part). I would not be at all surprised to find out if Coulton worked harder on his version of the song than Mix-a-lot's when he was coming up with the original.

Coulton wrote a completely new song. When I would play Coulton's version for other people, they didn't realize it was a cover of Baby Got Back until the chorus, when most people are incapable from singing along with the first few lines of the song when they hear the original.

If you remove the lyrics from Coulton's version, you have a beautiful, original acoustic instrumental song. If Coulton were cynical enough to think that someone would blatantly steal his work, he could have easily copyrighted the his arrangement separately, and then release a second version of the song with the ironic pairing of the song and the lyrics from Baby Got Back.

You generally seem like a lucid person-- what's keeping you from seeing this?

"I’ve decided it’s best to call them CULTons"

Arrgh! You've pierced me in my heart!

AndysDrawings says

“Transforming the music still doesn’t make the song yours.”
“Coulton’s arrangement is completely different from the original song.”

The problem is, it's not a subjective issue, it's a licensing one. From what I gather from looking around the Interenets, against all common sense, the distinction between "recording a version of someone else's previously recorded and released tune" (in which case the original artist retains copyright on the whole thing) and "recording your own tune, inspired or based on someone else's previously recorded and released tune" (in which case you'd be able to claim copyright on the parts you added - google "derivative work") is nothing to do with how similar they are - it depends solely on what license you secured from the work's copyright holder. Given how quickly Mr Coulton's lawyers folded, I would guess he only secured the former.

Margaret Bobb says

I bought the iTunes version to support, but here's ANOTHER IDEA......

When Glee uses an artist's songs they usually give in "The Brittany Show". As they seem to like his music so much, they should do a "Jonathan Coulton" episode where they use his songs to score the whole show. It would actually be the most honest Glee show ever, as Jonathan's songs embody the "geek culture" that Glee originally set out to celebrate. Jonathan is OG (Original Glee/Geek). I think Jonathan is reluctant to pursue a lawsuit, but maybe the Glee producers still have enough moral fiber left that they would entertain this idea? I can see Rachel and Kurt singing IKEA as they shop for furniture.....Oh, I see SO much potential for so many songs.....!!!

Margaret Bobb says

When Glee uses an artist’s songs they usually give credit…as in “The Brittany Show”. As they seem to like his music so much, they should do a “Jonathan Coulton” episode where they use his songs to score the whole show. It would actually be the most honest Glee show ever, as Jonathan’s songs embody the “geek culture” that Glee originally set out to celebrate. Jonathan is OG (Original Glee/Geek). Maybe the Glee producers still have enough moral fiber left that they would entertain this idea? I can see Rachel and Kurt singing IKEA as they shop for furniture…..Oh, I see SO much potential for so many songs…..!!!

Craig says

Jonathan Coulton Gets The Last Glee-Ful Laugh (from Buzzfeed):

Karin says

You are awesome. Downloaded and want to play your version at our wedding this Fall.

Erik Wright-Olsen says

@J_Jammer--the R-word? Really? Are you from the past? Not cool, chief.

Rimbo says

You probably already know this, but if they did sample your work, there's quite the bevy of historical lawsuits that should back you up.

Queen/Bowie v. Vanilla Ice
Rolling Stones (ABKCO Records) v. The Verve
Van Halen vs. 2 Live Crew
Shoot, Sammy Hagar got some crap-ton huge settlement out of Van Halen for merely mixing in a bit of his voice in "Me Wise Magic."

Most of these end up settling out-of-court, but there's quite a precedent here that Fox's claim that they are "within their rights" is absolute horse pockey.

Of COURSE they'd say they're within their rights. They aren't. There's a reason almost every one of those examples I listed ended up settling. Fox screwed up big-time from a legal perspective, and behind their big words, they are absolutely terrified, because you can pretty much rob 'em blind at this point.

Nafoja says

I have a confession. I'm not a fan of Firefly. I don't like Serenity. Don't get my started on Angel or Buffy. This would seem odd if you knew me as I'm a fan of generally similar things.

I personally despise Joss Whedon. I find him arrogant, unpleasant to look at, and thankfully I've not heard his voice, as I'm sure it would make me feel ill. I've not seen The Avengers as a result of this, as anything created by him makes me angry that it exists.

Why should this matter in this discussion? Because, besides watching about ten minutes of Firefly, and half an episode of Angel, and about two minutes of Serenity, and of course Toy Story, I've never actually seen anything by Joss Whedon.

This is not because of anything Joss Whedon has ever done in his personal life, his career or indeed anything at all.

It is because of his fans.

I hate Joss Whedon's fans so much that anything relating to them, is by proxy, tainted. Even if I could force myself to engage in looking upon anything Joss Whedon worked on, and somehow found enjoyment in it, that enjoyment would never be pure. I would always fall back upon, "Yeah but "he" made it." I know this because once I found out he worked on Toy Story, I started to dislike it.

Prior to this whole thing breaking, I actually liked Jonathan Coulton. I've listened to a few of his songs, including the one being at the heart of this matter. I liked them. I liked him.

Now that is ruined. Not because of anything he said or did, though I'm rapidly starting to dislike just looking at his face. No, it's because of his fans. I know I will no longer be able to listen to anything he's done, without finding it painful.

Why is this?

I enjoy watching Glee with my wife.

It's one of the few shows I can just sit, and enjoy with someone I love.

Now because of things I've seen Jonathan Coulton's fans say in regards to people who enjoy Glee, I've come to connect liking Jonathan Coulton with being a hateful and hurtful person. That has tainted his music for me.

Do I feel for his situation? Yes.

Do I think what the creators of Glee did was wrong? Yes.

Does it change the fact that several songs I used to like now make me feel uncomfortable and angry? No.

The next time you rush to defend your favorite artist or creator against fans of another media, remember that you may not be winning any hearts or minds. You might be turning them away.

nalf says


I'm sorry to hear that but it's a two-way street. Some of the things both side have said were out of line. If the actions of the fans is what causes you distance you from something. Why doesn't what some of the things Glee fans have said turn you off from the show?

One post I remember on Facebook said "i hate you so much go and kill your self please". Or how about "he rock ? he is just a little bitch he send to his fans to fight for him". On this site alone? Jonathan has been called a jerk, douche and a whiner(this is just from this last page).

It's important for both sides to remain civil.

Dr.Cocktail says

@Nafoja, I want to personally apologize for all the people who insult the show and the good people who watch it. I'm in the film too, on another cable show, and I know all of these shows want to please their fans and work hard to do so. Any show that wins your heart is worth defending, certainly - but YOU must know the feeling of anger at a show you love killing off your favorite character. How many fans have shunned a formerly favorite show for that transgression?

I think it is incumbent on we thoughtful folk to have the same reaction when our fave entertainment does something unscrupulous....something that spits in the face of its own premise. Unfortunately I personally do not think we as a civilized society have evolved quite that far. It's outside the breaks the fourth wall.

I think you know what I mean. Coulton fans are much like Glee fans, and they are as likely (but no more likely) to say cross things to anyone they associate with their adversary from whom they wish to defend their hero. They all go too far, we all know that. Even the fact that Fox is Goliath to Jonathan's David is not enough to dissuade Glee's admirers from feeling attacked and thus saying things that inflame feelings on the JoCo side, and vice versa.

That said, apologies in place for the passionate on both sides, it's hard to imagine finally not taking the strong adult position of judging right from wrong. If you really, seriously look at that, what at its core ought to happen?

That's all any mature person need ask....what's right - what's wrong. Given that determination, entertainment and quality time with one's mate is unencumbered. If still in the midst of a venal dispute, it never will be and fairness takes a back seat to pleasure.

Am I wrong? What do you think?

MissEponine says

I plan on writing a thank you email to Hulu for giving credit where it's due. Their splash page for the Glee episode in question includes the summary "Female empowerment rules the school as the Glee club revamps and Jonathan Coulton-izes 'Baby Got Back.'" If anyone else would like to as well, this is the only contact info I found on the site (if you find a more issue-specific way to contact Hulu, please let me know).

I clapped...yay Hulu!

MarkB says

Blackwell, Tom, and Erik,

I was thinking more along the lines of a drawing of a cat that looks like JoCo waxing the rear end of a startled fox wearing a jerk-like corporate suit.

Do what you want, but I'm not waxing my ass.

gottabekiddingme says

Nafoja, you must have a rough life to have your enjoyment of things so easily spoiled just through guilt-by-association. Maybe you should toughen up and judge things on their merit. There's an old saying, "Would you jump off a cliff just because your enemy tells you not to?" Well all right, actually I made that up. But what if I got a bunch of Coulton fans and Whedon fans to cheer on the practice of not jumping off cliffs? Your whole experience of not jumping off cliffs would just be *ruined* for you! Such a shame!

Fata Morgana says

@MissEponine Maybe Hulu used to have Jonathan Coulton in it's description of the episode, but I just checked and the current description says "Female empowerment rules the school." Fox must have threatened.

Fata Morgana says

@Nafoja Ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh wow. "How DARE anyone criticize Glee for stealing, I'll never like JoCo again!" That is the most amazing sentiment ever written down. I tip my bonnet to you.

Cecily says

In case folks haven't already seen this, it's incredibly snarky and jabs Fox as many times it can.

MissEponine says

@Fata Morgana,

The reference was on the Hulu main page where they tease to the newly added episodes, that section changes pretty often. Found a screen cap online here:

Scott Simmons says

Michael wrote: "I’ll confess: I liked the Glee version enough to buy it. What can I say? It was a nicely done song.
To balance the karma scales, I also purchased the original JoCo version at the same time.
And to tip the scales, I just bought the “new” JoCo version."

That's a good point! I think I'm going to save a little money, though, and just buy one of the JoCo versions and make three copies.

Some Guy says

Man, straight fuck Coulton.

Richard Cheese did Baby Got Back in 2002 on Tuxicity.

Duznot says

Yes, because that's what everyone is discussing: the fact that Coulton is the only one ever to cover Baby Got Back and no one else has ever covered it ever.

J_Jammer says


--What are they doing, other than informing people of the injustice? How is reporting moral violations douchey?--

How is it a moral violation? Do you like when people say you're immoral for having sex?

--Also, it’s “your”.--

And? You knew what I said. Is this how pious reads? Yes.

--Further also, we aren’t very good minions since he’s specifically asked us to calm down. You use words like “dictator” and “minions”, but they don’t apply to this situation at all. I don’t know what compels you to delude yourself into thinking this is somehow analogous to Nazis marching on Poland.--

I don't care if he asked you to do anything. He knew what would happen when he brought this up. He's just as at fault as his douchy minions. Awww, dictator fits. Morally and however else I want.

--Coulton’s arrangement is completely different from the original song. There’s no obvious path that takes you from Mix-a-lot’s version to Coulton’s. I mean, I can see someone doing their own acoustic ballad cover of the song, but there’s no reason to think that it would be at all similar to Coultons. Writing the actual music part of songs is much harder than coming up with lyrics (for the most part). I would not be at all surprised to find out if Coulton worked harder on his version of the song than Mix-a-lot’s when he was coming up with the original.--

Good god that's wordy.

hahahahah....worked harder on a version that's not original. No. He needed the originals lyrics. He didn't work harder nor is it so different one wouldn't know what song it was. Nice try.

--Coulton wrote a completely new song. When I would play Coulton’s version for other people, they didn’t realize it was a cover of Baby Got Back until the chorus, when most people are incapable from singing along with the first few lines of the song when they hear the original.--

Then you know retarded people. I knew from the very first line.

--If you remove the lyrics from Coulton’s version, you have a beautiful, original acoustic instrumental song. If Coulton were cynical enough to think that someone would blatantly steal his work, he could have easily copyrighted the his arrangement separately, and then release a second version of the song with the ironic pairing of the song and the lyrics from Baby Got Back.
You generally seem like a lucid person– what’s keeping you from seeing this?--

It's NOT his work.

Until legally shown, he doesn't own it.

I see that he did the changing. I also see a hypocrite. I also see his fans are the worst kind of fans. I'm fans of bands and specifically one band that started on YouTube and I don't see their fans going all hell bent if one of the songs that band covered went mainstream on a TV show without credit.

Last year on So You Think You Can Dance they played one of their songs. And without seeing the credit, I knew who it was. And I was excited for them. And for those that didn't see the credit they'd search for who sang that song and find out themselves.

This is anger over NOTHING. This is acting like the Producers of Glee murdered someone instead of the ACTUAL comparison which is not saying thank you. They were rude. That's it. Legally he has nothing. And quite frankly if the media cover of him and this event continues, he will have less of a legal leg to stand on. If I'm on that jury and I see the evidence of how much exposure he got from this...I see no harm no foul.

--“I’ve decided it’s best to call them CULTons”
Arrgh! You’ve pierced me in my heart!---

You can't unread CULTons.

J_Jammer says


That's because he heard Cheese's version and created one. Making him copy and not crediting Cheese. The horror.

Joe says

You know what the core problem is here? Music has become defined by lyrics, and therefore matching lyrics make this and Mix-a-lot's song look like the same thing in that modern lens. That thinking sickens me. The instrumental part of a song is just as, if not more, important than the vocals. Purely instrumental songs are just as good as ones full of lyrics, and sometimes can even tell a better story if you're willing to think about what the melody, pitch, tone, etc are saying. But no, that kind of analytic thinking is disappearing in favor of music where the meaning is spelled out in the lyrics, and now it's screwing over people who put work into original music but just borrow lyrics. If anything good comes out of this whole mess, I hope it's a shift in how we look at music.

J_Jammer says

@Erik Wright-Olsen

Oh, you mean retarded.

J_Jammer says


You know what else is sickening, thinking you created something original when you use someone else's hard work to get what you have.

J_Jammer says


You're missing out on the shows you don't like. I don't base my like on fans. I base it on the person themselves. In the case of Jonathan Coulton, it's based on his response as to why I don't really like him at this moment. The idea he just wants credit makes me laugh. He's got credit. He just doesn't have it from the source he claims he cares to have it from. Seeing how he's taken the opportunity to show how good at heart he is by donating money to a charity...I don't see how he can be so self-righteous in hating what they did.

I like his version, but I like Glee's more. And this shouldn't bother him. The reason he created his version was in hopes of it being liked better than the original so he could get some attention.


If you can't take the attention, you shouldn't step into the light.

Gert says

"How is it a moral violation? Do you like when people say you’re immoral for having sex?"
Sex is a completely different kind of morality, so that argument doesn't really help your case at all. Plagiarism is immoral to make things fair for people who do their own work, sex is only immoral so it can be used to control the masses. Also, the whole situation just screams of hypocrisy.

*dictator stuff*
Godwin's Law isn't an easy argument to take seriously, on account of it plays on people's post-WWII fears. Its too full of insults and emotional reactions, and not nearly enough intellectual reasoning. Also: saying JoCo should censor himself and essentially not have the right to state his opinion actually makes him look like the *victim* of a dictator.

"...nor is it so different one wouldn’t know what song it was. Nice try."
Actually I didn't know what the original song was until I looked it up on YouTube, so nice try but but it IS that different. Listening to JoCo's cover, I couldn't tell what it was a cover of. Armed with the clues that it was a cover and it was about butts, I made the connection for maybe half a second before I rejected the possibility on account of it sounded too different. After listening to Glee's version which sounded equally unlike the original actually made it harder to believe they were related until I looked it up.

"Then you know retarded people. I knew from the very first line."
Uh-huh, you and you alone are representative of the general population? And everyone who isn't like you, well their opinion doesn't matter! That's just a setup to argue for the sake of arguing, and its gong to be very difficult to take you seriously if you invalidate all other points of view with a "retarded person". Try some critical thinking.

As far as knowing from line 1, you're going to have to realize that recognizing things gets harder when they change form. Its like reading - I'm sure that I could read say, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" in pretty much all fonts on my computer excluding webdings. I can also handle most handwritten versions. But there are people out there with such different (in this case bad) handwriting that I just wouldn't be able to tell if they wrote "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", regardless of my literacy.

Or if you'd prefer a closer (audio) analogue: Try speaking to people with accents. Understanding people in my second language (without making them repeat themselves a lot) is near impossible if they have an accent I wasn't taught in. But that's irrelevant because it's my second language and I'm *clearly* a retard at it, right? Well, then take my first language. Change it enough with a heavy accent and that's hard to understand too. And I deal with enough broken English that I can auto-correct grammatical issues, so it's not just a case of the other person sucking at English.

"It’s NOT his work. Until legally shown, he doesn’t own it."
Work and ownership are two totally different things. People work on projects that are owned by other people all the time, and don't get to claim any legal ownership over the final product. That doesn't forbid them from telling future prospective employers "That's my work" in order to prove their competence.

"I see that he did the changing."
"the changing" = his work. He put some elbow grease into a project, he's got the product of his work. Now whether his work counts for anything, that's the legal issue.

"I also see a hypocrite."
These exist on both sides of the argument. Even without going into the piracy parallels, there's the Sectional argument I've seen floating around FB which actually goes into Glee specifically, and not just Fox/The Media/Whatever in general.

"I also see his fans are the worst kind of fans."
Again, personal insults are not going to get you anywhere. It may make you "win" in that nobody can refute your arguments because anyone who tries doesn't matter, but it won't make you win in the sense of having decent arguments that convince people you're right.

"And for those that didn’t see the credit they’d search for who sang that song and find out themselves."
Well yeah, So You Think You Can Dance is sorta focused on dancing... There's no implication whatsoever that they wrote the songs, so you'd expect to be able to look it up. In this case, the implication is that the arrangement was made specifically for Glee so what's the point in even looking it up? I thought the mash-ups were done by Glee (now I'm not so sure...). Regardless of who did them, I wouldn't have looked it up, because I had no expectation of finding results. And yes, I know that now even looking up Glee Baby Got Back (without anything like "who arranged") will lead to JoCo, but that's only because he spoke up - If he had stayed silent as you wished, his results wouldn't be as high as they are.

"And quite frankly if the media cover of him and this event continues, he will have less of a legal leg to stand on."
This makes no sense to me at all. Unless he's being outright slanderous or giving away evidence prematurely so counterarguments can be formulated... How would being on the media make his argument weaker? For MegaUpload/Kim Dot Com, I'm pretty sure the media coverage actually helped them... That's not to say that it happens in every case, but coverage itself doesn't inherently hurt the situation.

"If I’m on that jury and I see the evidence of how much exposure he got from this…I see no harm no foul."
If either you or I are on that jury, we'd best get off it ASAP on account of we're biased. We're not allowed to stay on it. Also how much exposure he got doesn't mean anything - There was no agreement made that he'd be paid in exposure. Exposure isn't acceptable compensation for say... Piracy and Plagiarism.

And lol, you'd be surprised how easy it is to unread misspelled things. Hell, my mind usually auto-spell checks, which can be an issue if I'm reading a story where the author attempts to make incredibly stupid puns that look like legitimate mistakes ("Be a deer" VS "Be a dear")

J_Jammer says


It's not his song. You're losing track of that.

Godwin's Law is a cop out. You mentioned Hitler. I did not. I never said he should shut up. I said he should be smarter. He handled this poorly if his fans went around being douches. Fans are an extension of your persona you've shown them.

You can't dictate what is moral and not. You're not a god. Therefore using the MORAL argument is stupid. Pick something else. It is cute that you try to justify your actions as okay for you to tell others what is moral. haha.

Critical thinking isn't with the one that dictates morals when they justify their immoral behaviors.

So you're saying you're not quick enough with hearing to catch on to what song it was. Understandable. Not everyone is good at hearing. Actually listening. You heard it but couldn't grasp what was being said.

Yes it does. It's not your work. You worked on that project.

Oh right, so that attitudes of the fans don't matter, but the attitude of Glee's Producers does. Hypocrite.

I never thought they did their own mashups. I also didn't say the dancers made the music on so you think you can dance.

If he had stayed silent then he would be right where he was before they did his song. No change. So he had to speak to gain the publicity he wanted. And it is all about the attention. Don't lie.

Because he's asking for credit and he's getting it constantly through the stage Glee provided for him. If he continued to use it, then he's getting what he wants. And really what more would he have gotten if they had said his name in the credits? Nothing like this.

CULTons isn't unread.

You still remember it.

V says

As I understand it:
there are hints Glee actually used Coulton's recording of the song, rather than just recreated it, which is a separate issue from the composition/arrangement.

Joe says

Ok, how about this: JoCo also released a Karaeoke version of this track. It was purely instrumental, no lyrics. JoCo made everything in this version except the lyrics. So that would make the Karaeoke version his work. End of story.

J_Jammer says


There's not hints of anything other than speculation geared up by Coulton to gain some legal footing he didn't have prior. He needs it to be lifted so he has a fighting chance at anything. Right now, legally, he has nothing but scorn feelings. That's not going to fly in court. He needs them to have taken something of his. And as far as I can hear, he doesn't even have that.


Karaeoke version of a song he covered? Yeah....and how is that going to go through the legal hoops?

Craig says


I suggest you listen to JoCo himself explain it on the NPR show 'On The Media.' It's very enlightening:

Joe says

It's going to go through the legal hoops just fine, because without the words being sung it's his song!

Craig says

Weird Al's Super Bowl prediction:

Craig says

Blerditorial: On “Baby Got Back”, Tipping, and the Slow Death of Civility:

Cheryl says

Do you have a FB page? Easier to spread the word via FB.

Sam says


From what I've read, you are confusing "work" with a "product." You can say "I made that" and not own the physical product. That's pretty much the way trade works. The ownership of a product may be transferred, or licensed, but work is an action performed by an individual and does not transfer. The product, in this case the arrangement of "Baby got Back" appears to belong to Mix-A-Lot, but the work was done by Coulton. Coulton also appears to own the recording he made of a specific performance of the tune as well.

If you don't like the idea of arguing morals, since they may imply religion, how about societal standards then. Plagiarism is defined as "the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own." By definition, Fox is plagiarizing Coulton. Plagiarism is pretty much negatively viewed by the American society, evidenced by the fact that plagiarizing in schools will mean at a minimum you get no credit, but you can be dropped or expelled for plagiarizing. Given nearly everyone goes through at least some level of school, this qualifies as a societal standard of behavior that plagiarism is not acceptable. Fox/Glee is in the wrong with regard to plagiarism.

You are right, he wanted attention. That's why all of his songs are licensed under Creative commons by-nc, meaning they can be used freely as long as it is non-commercial use and BY ATTRIBUTION. Attribution is the currency of internet musicians. Otherwise, nobody would be able to find the creator of a recording, and the musician would not survive as a musician, which Coulton clearly has.

He's not getting ANY credit from Glee. It's all from pretty much every source BUT Glee. He's not using anything Glee "gave" him because they haven't given him anything. They haven't even acknowledged his complaint publicly. So yes, his fans are fighting for him, and for a general dialogue about copyright law. It's because they care about him and love his work.

And arguing hypotheticals about what would have happened had they attributed him is moot. The entire situation would have unfolded completely differently. In this situation, there are people who had never heard of him before who are starting to listen to him and there are people who had never heard of him before and have decided they don't like him, some even without having listened to any of his original work. Had they attributed him, things would have unfolded differently, but there is no way for you to say for sure how it would have happened. Because it didn't happen that way and can't happen that way now. You can argue probabilities all you like, but there's no certainty in what would have occurred.

I hope at some point you decide to give his other work an unbiased listen. To me, it's much more musically complex and interesting than most newer music out right now.

Ogre Jehosephatt says

We need to stop responding to J_Jammer. Clearly, Jammer is either too stubborn, irrational, delusional, stupid or some mixture thereof OR JJ is a troll. In any case, replying to JJ does nothing but waste energy.

J_Jammer says


It. Is. Not. His. Song.


More media coverage for the man that got no credit? How...apt.

Hahaha... defiantly white. Ohgoodgod. Where's the defiantly black? Oh, right...racist.

this interview is awful.

The best part he has no quarrel with the fans or the creators of Glee. Something his fans don't seem to understand. At. All.

Sympathetic rage? hahaha...he needs to look around everywhere. It's not sympathetic.

Nothing at all useful in this interview.


Nope. He doesn't own any of it. His arrangement isn't his. If they lifted the same file as the audio file note for note, then he has a case. If they took his arrangement and used their own people to recreate it...he has nothing to argue about. Legally okay.

They're not plagiarizing since that's for written word and note notes. Otherwise Richard Cheese could come out and say that Coulton stole the idea of covering and making it slower. Because that's what you're arguing here. Music is a tricky thing. It's not as cut and dry as you're trying to make it.

He got attention. And without Glee's doing the song he'd have no more attention than he has now. And to suggest any different would be lying. Really he got what he want and he got it through his own hard work. Who was really harmed here?

No it's not moot. He would be as obscure as he was before. And if he wasn't obscure then it's not the little wee man vs big mean station. If they credited him in the credits, no one in Glee's audience would have even seen it or cared to see it. Fact.

I don't want to listen to someone that can't do as he preaches.

Joe says

Ok, how about us giving you statements, we give you a question: how do you define a song?

J_Jammer says


Lyrics and music.

Music without the lyrics = is just a score.

Lyrics without music is just a poem.

Singer doesn't matter. You can sing a song and own your voice, but not the lyrics or the music.

J_Jammer says

Actually...I've know of him for a while. That's because I knew of him when he was doing a song a week and during that time I got some of his songs. I was wondering why his name sounded familiar.

Some Guy says

I don't have a problem with Coulton covering this or any song. But those who trumpet open source/collab/sharing/yaddayadda (me, for one), have to accept both edges of that sword. Coulton's idea was not original, not an upgrade from other superior takes on this tune (Richard Cheese), and someone ran with his idea which was not his idea, but rather a hand-me-down of a hand-me-down.

Copy (homage) of a copy (homage) of a copy (homage) of someone else's tempest in someone else's teapot.

Nothing original about Coulton's arrangement, nor the source, therefore what is the basis for his complaint?

Some Guy says

Having said all that, since we know Coulton is an artist with integrity, I'm sure we can look forward to him crediting Richard Cheese on all upcoming releases of "his" version of Glee's version of "his" version of Richard Cheese's version of Sir Mix-a-Lot's song.


Sam says

You are objectively wrong. He does own the actual recording he made of it. A sound recording's copyright is separate from that of the underlying music. And if you read what I wrote, you'll see I say it appears that he doesn't own his arrangement, and differentiate between that and the recording itself. You are right, if they actually performed their own version, it is legally ok. Still not ethical in my opinion.

Plagiarism is not restricted to written word. --

Are you a musician? If you are, then you would be familiar with the concept of musical themes and ideas. This is plagiarism of those, if not an outright sampling of Coulton's own audio. Whether or not that happened has yet to be shown. Also if I cite even part of a sentence of a written work and don't credit it, that is plagiarism. So taking part of a musical theme without crediting is plagiarism as well. Most of (but not all) of the glee recording is note for note, beat for beat, the same.

And slowing something down is not a "creative" idea. Changing tempo doesn't constitute a new idea, musically. This ties into the legal idea of "obviousness", which takes into account several factor to determine if it is a new, defensible idea (admittedly a very limited recap, but I'm not going into the complete description and case law here).

And a lounge singer version =/= a folksy version, so that doesn't fly either. Go ahead and send the three recordings to any music composition teacher/professional in the nation and ask them if Coulton plagiarized Cheese, and if Glee plagiarized Coulton. Please. Let me know what they say. My guess would be they would say Glee did and Coulton didn't. Feel free to try and prove me wrong, though.

"He got attention. And without Glee’s doing the song he’d have no more attention than he has now. " - no one is arguing this, surely? It's that they did it with no attribution to the creator of the arrangement that has people upset. To forestall you, yes, he doesn't own the arrangement, but he still created it. Those two facts are not in question. It's hard to say how much anyone was harmed here, since it is unknown what would have happened had they attributed him.

"No it’s not moot. He would be as obscure as he was before." - You cannot prove this, since you cannot with certainty say what would have happened, because, AGAIN, it didn't happen. Something having a high probability does not mean it's what happens every time. Please try to prove it, though, but only using observable facts, and not saying "'A' certainly would have happened" or "'B' has happened before, so it would have happened again." Those statements are logical fallacies. So, yes, it is still moot.

"If they credited him in the credits, no one in Glee’s audience would have even seen it or cared to see it. Fact." - You and I have differing definitions of fact. Please prove your statement. Surely you'll agree the burden of proof lies with you with regard to this statement, as you are making an assertion that cannot be verified by actual events? I can tell you some people do read the credits to a TV show, or go to IMDB to look up this info, so I think you'll have a hard time.

"I don’t want to listen to someone that can’t do as he preaches." - Please elaborate. I haven't seen him being hypocritical.

"Lyrics and music." - Your answer to "how do you define a song." If this is your definition of a song, Coulton's was different from Cheese's and Mix-A-Lot's, and all three were different songs, as the music was different. You're contradicting your own arguments.

Joe says

"Music without the lyrics = is just a score."


I just looked up the definition of a song. You actually are right here. Music without lyrics is called a score, not a song. But that means we should just be changing our argument, and I think you just made it easier for us to explain. Glee legally purchased the lyrics, or "poem" as you called it. However they ripped off the score. And when you combine legally obtained lyrics and a stolen score, you get...this big mess. And it's up to the courts to decide how they want it to be. However, the high level courts that could do something about this are very busy, and can't look into every case, which is why we as fans need to constantly be bringing this up, so that the media can see it, and then by extension the courts. That way, this case will actually get to legal point it should be and the court will have to make an absolute decision on how laws for covers of covers in the future.

Craig says

"The best part he has no quarrel with the fans or the creators of Glee. Something his fans don’t seem to understand. At. All."

Thanks for arrogantly telling me I have a quarrel with Glee fans, but I'm going to continue to not have a quarrel with them if it's all the same to you.

Mattface says

So... is it "Monday" yet?

As entertaining as these straw man arguments, and hypothesizing ad nauseam are I would really love to hear more from Jonathan about what is actually happening.

In the absence of any further information from anyone actually involved, I'm prepared to say Glee did a morally reprehensible, and possibly illegal thing in copying JoCo's score, and likely just using the recording with the lyrics stripped. In the absence of legal recourse, Jonathan did a great thing by capitalizing on the controversy, and donating the proceeds to charity.

If nothing else happens, Glee wins, because another show has already dropped, and their fans have mostly forgotten the controversy. The only people still talking about it are trolls on either side of the issue. Jonathan wins too! Because in spite of Glee not acknowledging his work, with the help of his fan base managed to turn the controversy into some actual exposure, and shed some light on the problems still endemic in our current copyright system.

Sure I wish for an outcome that would leave Glee, and anyone else inclined to think again before performing similar plagiarism in the future. That outcome may indeed be forthcoming, and perhaps this small chapter will play a part in that outcome. One can hope.

Mattface says

Also tangentially related:

I watched Searching For Sugarman last night. If you haven't seen it DO! Among other things it made me really think about the hundreds, thousands of artists from every generation who never never became famous, who never received any recognition, who never were seen or heard by a wider audience. Rodriguez was one artist who was raised out of obscurity if only for a moment due to an accident of fate, but how many more have we never heard about. Rodriguez lived less than 10 miles from my house when I was growing up. I would have loved his music, but I never heard it. Meanwhile in South Africa, he was literally a legend, but no one knew anything about him except for his music. That was the 70s. Now we are blessed to live in an age where the means of distribution are accessible to a much broader range of people, so that anyone with a song to sing, or something to say, or a vision to share has a means to be seen and heard by a much wider audience. JoCo is an excellent example of what can happen. Rodriguez is an example of what might have happened.

J_Jammer says


Egotistical to think you're every fan.


Nope. Legally he signed over the score to the owner of the song when he covered the song itself. He said so in the interview from NPR. The only way he has any legal leg is if they actually used the ACTUAL track. Meaning they did not create their own.


No one thinks of music when you say plagiarizing. And no one uses it that way either. Obscure use doesn't make the word the best choice. This coming from a writer. The problem with Oliver is that he ignores how he feels about protecting and tries to be what he isn’t.

Go ask random people who are not your friends and they'll tell you that they believe plagiarism is words. They'll say nothing about the rest of the definition. Meaning, you are using a word in an argument that doesn't hold the same meaning to all as if it should just because the definition says so. Like using gay to tell me what mood you're in.

It doesn't matter if it's beat for beat the same. Unless they lifted the track exactly as in his track, he has no case.

I don't need a history of case law.

They sound similar and that's all the jury would care about. Music teachers don't make up a jury. Sorry.

It is known. Do you know who wrote the first Glee episode in the first season? In any season? NO ONE READS THE CREDITS....unless their your mommy.

Therefore the attention he would have gotten for the song would be the same as if they never did it.

Yes I do. Credits don't get read and therefore what he wanted is what he got right now, not what he would have gotten. And he's attributed on Wikipedia's page for Glee episodes. THAT'S one reason why wikipedia is useful.

Please prove you read credits. Reading credits on IMDB is not the same as reading them from the show. It's like looking up ingredients online to suggest you look at ingredients before you buy a product IN THE STORE.

-----“I don’t want to listen to someone that can’t do as he preaches.” – Please elaborate. I haven’t seen him being hypocritical.------

He's not giving credit as he suggest should be done to him.

Mocking isn't credit.

---“Lyrics and music.” – Your answer to “how do you define a song.” If this is your definition of a song, Coulton’s was different from Cheese’s and Mix-A-Lot’s, and all three were different songs, as the music was different. You’re contradicting your own arguments.---

He plagiarized the idea. DUH.

maletero says

Hey, everybody, why don't we all stop feeding that troll? If we ignore him, he just might go away.

And back on topic, I'm looking forward to seeing how this shakes out, and how much we of the Cult of Coulton will have raised for charity by the end of the month!

Sam says

"Obscure use doesn’t make the word the best choice." - Word choice is based on their definitions. Uncommon use does not mean wrong.

"Meaning, you are using a word in an argument that doesn’t hold the same meaning to all as if it should just because the definition says so." - Word meaning is decided by definition, so yes, plagiarism is the correct word.

"Go ask random people who are not your friends and they’ll tell you that they believe plagiarism is words." - I disagree, and believe most people would say it's about ideas. Just because you're a writer and so the "written word" aspect applies to you, doesn't make the word use wrong. Plagiarism is the STILL correct word.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s beat for beat the same. Unless they lifted the track exactly as in his track, he has no case." - confusing ethics with law again. He may have no legal case, but there's an ethical question that the law as written doesn't address.

"They sound similar and that’s all the jury would care about. Music teachers don’t make up a jury. Sorry." - No, but digital audio can be forensically analyzed. I think most juries would be swayed by evidence, regardless of profession. (assuming the complaint about lifting the audio track is proven to be true and this even goes to court).

"It is known. Do you know who wrote the first Glee episode in the first season? In any season? NO ONE READS THE CREDITS….unless their your mommy.

Therefore the attention he would have gotten for the song would be the same as if they never did it.

Yes I do. Credits don’t get read and therefore what he wanted is what he got right now, not what he would have gotten." - It's easier to argue things when you make up "facts," isn't it? By the way, it should have been "unless THEY'RE your mommy," but I'm sure as a writer you knew that.

"And he’s attributed on Wikipedia’s page for Glee episodes. THAT’S one reason why wikipedia is useful." - Yes, this is true. It's still not ethical for the people who used his creativity to not say they did.

"Please prove you read credits. Reading credits on IMDB is not the same as reading them from the show. It’s like looking up ingredients online to suggest you look at ingredients before you buy a product IN THE STORE." - You won't believe me, but when I'm interested in something I see in a show or movie, an actor or a song or whatever, I do. Maybe I'm old fashioned. Not sure how you want me to prove that, and I suspect you would ignore it anyway, you've shown a habit of discounting facts, like word definitions.

"He’s not giving credit as he suggest should be done to him. Mocking isn’t credit." - can you be more specific? And don't say Richard Cheese because of the tempo thing. Tempo changes are not creative changes. I can play a piano piece slow or fast, that tempo change alone doesn't mean a created something new, the new, created part of both covers is the actual music itself. So, who, specifically, is he denying credit, and how?

"He plagiarized the idea. DUH." - Don't think "Duh" flies as a logical argument. So you're arguing that a lounge singer style cover and folksy style cover are identical ideas? Since he cites Mix-A-Lot, he's not plagiarizing, and there is no obvious way to get from Cheese's song to Coulton's song. But...

"I don’t need a history of case law." - Yeah, that might refute your ridiculous assertion that Coulton plagiarized Cheese. Better ignore it.

Joe says

One last thing I want to point out: this isn't about JoCo getting exposure anymore. Some people may claim it is, but there's something bigger than that. As others have pointed out, JoCo has gotten exposure from the incident, adding in a credit during reruns of the episode won't do anything to help him now. But giving exposure to the incident as a whole matters. The results of all of this, legally, could protect other indie artists in the future. JoCo is probably the biggest independent artist there is, there aren't many others who could generate this much of an uproar. If we want to change things in the long run, this is the battle we have to win.

Matthew says

As if I didn't like JoCo already, Now he's taking what is a pretty shitty situation, and turning it into some $$$ for a couple of kick ass charities. Hats off to you JoCo!

tunesmith says

I'd caution people to not try and make sense out of the law, as it can be counterintuitive. There's a term for a certain bias, I forget what it is, but it means "treating what should be true as true, rather than what is true".

Anyway, yes, Jonathan arguably could have written an instrumental exactly like his karaoke track for BGB, and copyrighted it. Instrumentals are copyrighted all the time. But the fact is, he didn't - not as a score. And to get down to brass tacks, he wouldn't have written that instrumental if not for BGB. It's part of the cover, it's a derivative work, period. That is my understanding of how the law would see it, although I am not a lawyer.

And, as is often useful when considering these twists and turns, imagine what would happen if people *could* copyright the instrumentals first. It would become a common technique - someone would secretly write a cover, then copyright the instrumental, and then "write" the lyrics to it and get their cover licensed while maintaining the copyright to the background music. This would then mean that *everyone* that ever wanted to record/sell a cover of a song would have to research *every* single other cover of that song that was ever released, just to be sure that their instrumental wasn't too similar to other covers of the original. You'd have lawsuits all over the place, and the music legal field is already polluted with lawsuits about original songs on some demo tape somewhere that kinda-sorta sound like original songs on the radio. You open that up to covers, and it increases exponentially.

So, I guess this is just to reinforce my sense that the thing about Glee using Coulton's *music* in this case is a non-issue, legally. Guilty of poor citizenry they are, yes.

The issue that people should be focusing on is whether they used Coulton's *sound recording*. People have already blogged spectral analyses on other blogs, pretty much proving (to me) that they have. I just don't know what can be done about that. Lawsuit? Lessig? EFF? Can Coulton demand onerous sync license terms since it's after the fact?

tunesmith says

Also, I think I just wanted to point out that I watched that episode of Glee, and that their visual production of the song was HORRIBLE. The conceit was that it was another show choir at Nyata that was trying to recruit Kurt, and they did it by singing in front of him (with their lead singer apparently being Kurt's new love interest, a direct rip-ff from when Blaine was introduced to Kurt by singing with HIS group in front of Kurt...) Anyway, I don't know if this other new group is going to become part of the show - I sure hope not - but it was casted with some bunch of extras that looked like they were straight out of the twilight zone. It was really, really weird. Each singer was like some executive's cough-syrup induced fantasy of what a hipster must look like. I mean, hipsters are bad enough, but this group was just disturbingly weird. Like David Lynch weird.

J_Jammer says


As if your opinion on Glee isn't bias.


And how many movies and songs have seen/heard without paying for? I'm sensing you're one of those people.

J_Jammer says

February 4, 2013 at 11:42 am
--Word choice is based on their definitions. Uncommon use does not mean wrong.--

No they're not.

Gay. Fag. Holocaust. Retarded. Dumb. Whack. Dude. The list goes on. If people like you existed when these words shifted from one meaning to another...due to social use...well they'd still shift without your permission.

-- Word meaning is decided by definition, so yes, plagiarism is the correct word.--

It's the most useless word you've used. As I said, no one would get that unless they were you.

-- I disagree, and believe most people would say it’s about ideas. Just because you’re a writer and so the “written word” aspect applies to you, doesn’t make the word use wrong. Plagiarism is the STILL correct word.---

It's the pretentious use of the word. It doesn't matter if you disagree. It's a fact. Go out and ask people what that word means and you won't find anyone who will say score or music unless they're part of that business, but since they make up a very, very small point would still be made.

-- confusing ethics with law again. He may have no legal case, but there’s an ethical question that the law as written doesn’t address.---

You people are talking about ethics as the majority of his fans go around being douchebags makes me laugh.

--No, but digital audio can be forensically analyzed. I think most juries would be swayed by evidence, regardless of profession. (assuming the complaint about lifting the audio track is proven to be true and this even goes to court).--

You need to know real people. Foresically with music doesn't exist with people. You're going to have to play on the heart strings and the facts won't really matter. And if they did, there would be no case because facts = legal, not ethically and not morally. Neither are based on facts. They're based on emotion. And in this case you people are upset over what happened to someone you liked. And most likely most of you steal music in downloads from bands that are not like him and didn't give permission to do so. So the fact you even mention ethics makes me laugh a lot.

-- It’s easier to argue things when you make up “facts,” isn’t it? By the way, it should have been “unless THEY’RE your mommy,” but I’m sure as a writer you knew that.---

If you're going to use commas, use them right.

Also your focus on a word shows that my point is something you can't counter. The cowering of a grammar nazi.

-- Yes, this is true. It’s still not ethical for the people who used his creativity to not say they did.--

You're not allowed to talk about ethics. You're not ethical.

--You won’t believe me, but when I’m interested in something I see in a show or movie, an actor or a song or whatever, I do. Maybe I’m old fashioned. Not sure how you want me to prove that, and I suspect you would ignore it anyway, you’ve shown a habit of discounting facts, like word definitions.--

Hahaha, you have a habit of thinking that you're normal and that everyone is like you. Next time you go to the movie, pay attention. They crowd leaves when the credits roll. There are a few stranglers, but not enough and they don't all read every single credit. Your point of him being in the credits is ethical is a farce. He wouldn't have gotten any attention from that. What. So. Ever. He knows. And all his little CULTons know that.

--can you be more specific? And don’t say Richard Cheese because of the tempo thing. Tempo changes are not creative changes. I can play a piano piece slow or fast, that tempo change alone doesn’t mean a created something new, the new, created part of both covers is the actual music itself. So, who, specifically, is he denying credit, and how?--

You don't pay attention very well. The very idea of changing the song came before him. He wasn't the first. Therefore he should give credit to those that were. Too bad he's to hypocritical to do so.

He didn't create anything new. UNLESS you are FIRST what you have done is alter what someone else has already started. He created nothing new. He just worked on what was already done prior.

--Don’t think “Duh” flies as a logical argument. --

Whenever someone unethical goes around using ethics as an argument, duh fits with that mentality perfectly.

--So you’re arguing that a lounge singer style cover and folksy style cover are identical ideas? Since he cites Mix-A-Lot, he’s not plagiarizing, and there is no obvious way to get from Cheese’s song to Coulton’s song. --

That didn't address what I said.

So much for you being smarter.

--- Yeah, that might refute your ridiculous assertion that Coulton plagiarized Cheese. Better ignore it. ---

because you have no idea how to use case law. Just like you have no idea how to use ethics.

Joe says

Actually, I typically buy the physical copies of music and movies (CDs and DVDS), as I'm a fan of DVD extras and the pamphlets that come with CDs, especially when they have lyrics, so not really much without paying. I'll occasionally listen to music on Youtube to see if I like it, and then buy the CD, but in the long run I still get the money to the artist. I don't see how my personal habits relate to the situation at hand though, as even if I was downloading stuff illegally, I wouldn't be using the hard work of an artist, whether he/she legally owns it or not, and distributing it to a large fan base claiming I made it myself.

J_Jammer says


Personal habits mattered when terms like MORAL and ETHICS are being tossed around like whores on a corner.

If you don't pay for the work when you use it/listen to it...well, you're no better than Glee. Ethically and morally. -- that is according to the kings and queens of morals and ethics that are CULTons.

Joe says

It's true that both cases are unethical, but there's a difference between claiming someone else's hard work (again, whether or not it's legally their property is irrelevant) and selling it as your own, potentially making a ton of money that should have gone to the other artist, and taking a one dollar song. I'm not saying people who download songs illegally are right to do so, like I said both are ethically wrong. But that's another fight for another day.

J_Jammer says

It's the same fight for the same day.

If any of those people that take what isn't theirs or wasn't offered as Coulton does for his songs, have no leg to stand on in this argument.

Sam says

"well they’d still shift without your permission." - Too bad the definition of plagiarism is still the same, and hasn't changed.

"Go out and ask people what that word means and you won’t find anyone who will say score or music unless they’re part of that business" - you put words in my mouth, and then attack that. I said ideas, not score or music.

"It’s the pretentious use of the word. It doesn’t matter if you disagree. It’s a fact." - Hmm... another "fact." "You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - William Goldman, and later Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride.

"It’s the most useless word you’ve used. As I said, no one would get that unless they were you." - I'm hardly the first person to call out Fox on Plagiarism. making up "facts." AGAIN.

"Also your focus on a word shows that my point is something you can’t counter. The cowering of a grammar nazi." - Yeah. I was being snarky. On the internet. Sue me. And I did address your point by calling you on making up a "fact," namely that no one reads credits. A point you ignored, because you can't counter it. Projecting much?

"You’re not allowed to talk about ethics. You’re not ethical." - Attacking me instead of the point. classy. And ignorant, since you have no way of knowing how ethical I am.

"Your point of him being in the credits is ethical is a farce." - How so? I hardly think crediting someone for their creative contribution being ethical is false?

"You don’t pay attention very well." - Actually I've paid attention very well. You're the one ignoring my points and avoiding concrete answers.

"The very idea of changing the song came before him." - The idea of changing a song when making a cover is an obvious one which any musician would have come up with. Obvious changes do not constitute a new idea. A new musical score constitutes something new. How many times must you read this before you understand it? You're being willfully blind.

"He didn’t create anything new." - Patently false. See above. Show me where that musical score was used before.

"Whenever someone unethical goes around using ethics as an argument, duh fits with that mentality perfectly. " - Again, baselessly attacking me instead of positing a logical argument. This one's not going well for you is it?

"That didn’t address what I said. So much for you being smarter." - Well. What you said was "He plagiarized the idea. DUH." I then pointed out the only plagiarism accusation you have made thus far is unfounded. So how did that not address your statement? And you attacked me personally again, even though I never said I was smarter than you.

"Because you have no idea how to use case law. Just like you have no idea how to use ethics." - Again, baseless attacks against me.

So to sum up your post:
1) You argue the meaning of a clearly defined word.
2) You misquote and/or misread my words, and then attack what I didn't say.
3) You made up a "fact" by asserting that Plagiarism's definition has somehow changed to fit your own perception.
4) You made up a second "fact" by saying no one else would call it plagiarism, when I'm not the only one to call Fox on it.
5) You were easily distracted by snarkiness and ignored that I said you made up yet another "fact," namely that you said no one read credits.
6) You then said I ignored your point because I couldn't counter it, which was an outright lie. You overlooked my response or ignored it.
7) You attacked me as unethical with no grounds, and used that as a justification to avoid an argument you can't win.
8) You attack the idea of ethical attribution as a farce, again with no basis.
9) You attack me again saying I don't pay attention, which is observably false.
10) You claim obvious changes as valid, but creative changes as somehow invalid, though nothing anywhere supports your claim.
11) You outright lied by saying he didn't create anything new.
12) You attacked me personally again instead of rationally arguing.
13) You ignored my post completely by saying I didn't respond to your argument, which again, is observably false, it's pretty well enshrined in the comments before.
14) You attack me personally again.
15) You deflect another point by attacking me personally again.

There's nothing more to gain from talking to you. You aren't debating, you're attacking me and making up a fantasy instead. Have fun!

Sam says

Hah, it changed my 8 with a parenthesis to a smiley.

JoCoHo says

Be civil. This is for JoCo and charity.

Sam says

I got a bit flippant, but I don't think I was uncivil. Sorry if I came across that way. But I do have to call people on it when they start insulting me.

J_Jammer says


--There’s nothing more to gain from talking to you. You aren’t debating, you’re attacking me and making up a fantasy instead. Have fun!---

That means you wasted all that wordiness.

Thank God I don't have to read it.

Sam says

Sorry if you don't like what you see when I hold up the mirror to you. Have a nice evening.

J_Jammer says


You said you weren't going to talk to me again. Is it hard to keep your word?

Sam says

Actually I said I had nothing more to gain from it, not that I wouldn't.

But I will stop now, it's clearly bothering you. Go ahead and take the last word. It's what you've wanted this whole time.

J_Jammer says

There’s nothing more to gain from talking to you. You aren’t debating, you’re attacking me and making up a fantasy instead. Have fun!

Bryce says

Hey there,

As a former H.S. choir director I always found Glee to be terribly unsettling. Seeing my profession displayed as something so easy a Spanish teacher (I think that's what the character taught, right?) can do it in his off hours... every week... with new songs. From what I saw of the show a few years ago it made music out to be something that happens by talent, not practice... making it seem that art is easy... it was maddening. However, my personal reaction to Glee isn't the point of this post.

While the concept of show may not have much artistry or depth, the singer-actors do have to practice to make it work. So my guess is that while the production of the show takes practice the producers have to play it fast and loose with the legalities of copy/pasting tracks in the interest of rehearsal time.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't know this show was even still on the air until this hullaballoo. But one thing is certain for this Coulton fan... I'll still probably never watch anymore Glee, and I'll still buy tracks from Coulton... or download them for free off his site. I have only recently lifted my head up from under my DMA dissertation and am assimilating to the starkly similar pop-culture world that exists around me... I was rather hoping something would have changed... Through it all though, Coulton's songs have buoyed my spirits. Sorry to hear this crap had you stressed out, but don't worry. You're not the first musician to be totally ripped off in a dark alley by people with money... and your charities will benefit from the way you responded. Good job!


Spektugalo says

It's fascinating to see how certain people are accusing others of a behaviour they are showing themselves.

I was debating on Glee's Facebook page, there, people always reminded others of keeping it civil, which was the case for the majority of people. There were few oddballs on both sides of the argument, but I guess you can't prevent that from happening, especially on the internet. I think the expression 'dictator' is quite inappropriate for a person who says "Please continue not to burn anything down".

Secondly, I think JoCo explained it on the NPR pretty well, why it's a problematic case. Legally, he does not own his cover, which I personally find rather questionable. Moreover, he DID create something himself, he might have taken Sir Mix-a-lots lyrics, but the arrangement was all his. It's not like those punk versions of songs where they just play the same arrangement of songs at twice the speed with electric guitars. Or simply transposed the existing arrangement...

Some national anthems are arrangements that are based on poems, I think it would be far-fetched to say the composers did not create anything.

Moreover, while plagiarism might be defined as something that is concerned with written work, I would like to point out the term 'musical plagiarism'.

JoCo even explained it on the podcast himself; the arrangement issue is a questionable chapter in the copyright law, there he has no legal right. The morality of the issue is something else, though.

However, there is still the question of his master recording rights, I guess we can all agree that it is not the right thing to do, if Glee really used his recordings in the show without his consent.

I have to admit that I had to delete one or two snarky things before sending this post. I would prefer if the follow-up on the discussion continued this way.

J_Jammer says


You never watched it or your first paragraph wouldn't have been confused on how Glee's dramady more than it is a drama. Therefore it's more silly than serious. There's a coach that runs around throwing temper tantrums like a two year old not getting her way.


Thank you for actually understanding what was being said. 'Musical plagiarism' gets specific.

There is no question, he doesn't own it. If he wanted to he'd have to pay more money to do so. He probably saw no reason to do that. Why would you? No one thinks they'll be upset if someone borrows without asking.

J_Jammer says

Randall's, Walmart, or any state grocer have their own versions of Coke, Dr. Pepper and Sprite. They taste similar and sometimes just as good that the only difference is the packaging. They're within their legal rights.

This ain't no Vanilla Ice oops.

Casey says

I was not aware of you as an artist before this (ok, I live in a cave), and just came upon you because of my interest in copyright issues on the web. Yeah dude, you rock. So I know for a fact that you are getting some exposure.

Great idea on the charity thing. I don't buy individual tracks much less CDs, because not only do I not want a physical object, I don't even want a frackin' file on my drive.

BUT, I am a paid member of Spotify, and I guarantee to you that I'll listen to your songs at least 150 times this month, so it will probably come out the same.

B lyly says

I personaly love glee, and yes I agree that they should have give him the credit for the Arragement, but I sincerily think that people is making a too huge storm, I REPEATE I agree whit you, but some of Joco supporters are for on side satanazing glee and for the other making joco a saint, which by the way is not the case, EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES, SO STOP THROWING STONES, and GLEE IS JUST A COMEDY SHOW, is not a real life show, is not a serious show and I am refering to what Bryce said, I don´t know what will entail to do what is show in glee in real life and I dont care, I just want to laught, sorry just benting, just please follow Joco example, and I do admire him for his actitud, but for the rest o you I think that you are mostly on this so that you can tear something dawn...and sorry for the miss espelling but english is not my forte

Jesse says

Just in case everyone hasn't stumbled upon the links by this point, some pretty cool fans have been analyzing the recording, and have been trying to see whether the original recording was actually used in the Glee version or not.

Analysis of the ghost "QUACK", and speculation on what methods Glee might have used to go from Coulton's recording to the one they ended up with:

Comparison between the two recordings, slowed down a ton to show how identical the instruments are in both versions:

It would take a whole lot of effort to convince yourself that Glee didn't use the original recordings after looking at what these two have compiled.

J_Jammer says


Anything to make Coulton right.

The burn is his fault for not getting the right copyright protection.

Jesse says


I see you're upset that Coulton doesn't have proper copyright protection on the melody of his cover, but if Glee used audio from his recordings, then they are definitely in violation of his copyright.

In that case, his copyright does a good enough job. So cheer up, it's not hopeless!

J_Jammer says


Legality is the only thing that matters since ethics and morals are as useful as someone saying they like a person.

Using his track is a violation. Using the same music as in playing it themselves is not.

There is no way they'd legally acquire the song and know they don't have to credit Coulton because he lacked the right copyright and then use his track. They've played this legal chess game before. They have the legal minds to not make such a blatant mistake.

Jesse says


Hello J_Jammer! I liked your point that ethics and morals are as useful as someone saying they like a person. I don't see anything in what I said that this might be in response to, so I'm going to guess that you just wanted to share some unrelated thoughts with me, which is fine!

I wouldn't worry about whether they 'would' make that mistake, and I'd instead look at whether they 'did' make that mistake, because that's all that really matters.

That's just me though, and you are completely entitled to your own methods of thinking!

Joe says

@B lyly: The majority of us aren't attacking Glee directly, and the ones who are have their own personal agenda against the show, and we agree that they are being annoying and not helping our case. The reason the rest of us are making a big deal of this is because this isn't the first time something like this has happened (not just with Glee, but with large corporations in general), but it's the first time the issue is getting into the media. If we want to fix these problems and protect all independent musicians in the long run, we can't let go of this fight until we win, or we may not get another opportunity before it's too late for someone else.

J_Jammer says


The lesson is get the right copyright.

Joe says

If that's what it comes down to, then fine. Our goal is to stop this from happening to more artists, so if the end result is more artists being aware of the situation and getting the right copyright, then it still sucks for JoCo, but otherwise Mission Accomplished.

LBHobbit says

Thanks for making such awesome music, JoCo. I sincerely hope that Fox and Glee take a serious look at this issue based on a bunch of the social media tidal-waves that you have set in motion and mend their ways! And also, of course, that they admit to having stolen your audio track and compensate you. I don't see any other way that phantom quack could have gotten there, and looking at the audio analysis it is pretty clear that it is there. Well done, on that front!

Duznot says

He hinted there might be good news as early as Monday of last week, so I keep checking to see if there are any new developments.

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J_Jammer says

It's good to remember that nice is different than good.

Donating to charity makes you nice. Not good.

Porpoisepower says

I was kind of hoping for "Re: Your Song" with a bunch of TV executives chorusing "All we want to do is steal your song" But this will do.

Wyrd says

I just bought a copy on iTunes.

I mean, like it would've killed 'em to throw a mention your way in the show credits? Sheesh!

Plus, with all respect to Sir Mix a Lot, I always liked your version better. :-)

Furry cows moo and decompress.

Carol W says

Sir Mix-a-Lot and John Roderick both talked about the Coulton-Glee conflict re Baby Got Back. Here is the link It is around Minute 48. Mix-a-lot said that his agent had asked him not to comment but he still made it pretty clear that he supports Coulton.

TimR says

So Jonathan, what will be the next song you do in "The Stlye of Glee"? Seems like you could find some to duplicate.

April says

Hope this change sticks :)

J_Jammer says

That's what wikipedia is for.

I don't know why it matters if he gets credit now from the source. He's gotten more than he ever has with anything else he's ever done.

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Karla says

OH MY GOSH!! I JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS!! They even use "Johnny C"?!! We stand up for you JC!

Patrick says

Totally, awesome version of "Baby Got Back".

I'm a Uni. Prof. and I don't know how I explain to my students that they are not allow to take papers off the internet and turn them in as their own when Fox/Glee does this.

Maybe the law does not require - payment. That doesn't feel right, but OK.
Fox and Glee should at least be gentlemen/ladies and say "thank you" in their credits or elsewhere. It costs almost nothing.

Anyway, thanks to Glee and NPR I am not buying your version through iTunes.
Thanks for making me laugh!

Johnny Octane says

Congratulations, you've turned into the comments on a YouTube video. Your comments are hateful, disrespectful... more often than not, they're just baseless accusations, personal attacks, or an excuse to whine about something. It's like your only intention is just to harass everybody and make yourself seem important. Tres uncool, J_Jammer. I think we're all pretty disappointed in you.

...ahem. Anyway, I'm proud of you, JoCo. Hopefully, those extra few cents I spent in the Australian iTunes store will make a difference. :3

Daniel Shock says

Well... I just heard about this today. Just heard about Jonathan Coulton today. I am truly bothered by the situation. They may not have legally owed anything - but morally, they at least owed thanks and credit. The music industry bitches and bitches about stealing. This is no different. I purchased the JoCo looks back album today on iTunes. You've earned one new fan.

Fata Morgana says

I can't believe the silliness of some people, suggesting that since the attribution is in some secondary source, then there's nothing wrong with Fox not giving attribution.

I'd love to hear your explanation to your high school teacher or college professor as to why you failed to properly attribute your sources in a research paper, because "that's what Wiki is for."

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Joe says

Any news JoCo? Not necessarily related to this fiasco, just in general. There hasn't really been much of any news, and no upcoming shows.

mj says

Well, I'm glad to see you doing something so positive with what is a bad situation. Another plus, it was through this issue that I first heard of your music. So while I can't say I'm happy with Glee, I'm happy with the result that I now can enjoy your stuff and I definitely share that with others.

jordi says

I don't like your version of the song that much tbh, but I have bought it just in some small way to recognise credit where it's due (FOX take note... :P )

J_Jammer says

@Fata Morgana

They did nothing illegal, which is all that matters.

@Johnny Octane

Yeah, no. Disagreeing with what you're saying isn't hateful. That's a pretty pathetic point.

AirCon says

"They did nothing illegal, which is all that matters"

Are you serious? If something isn't illegal, it's okay?
I could post your name and some of your personal info (I'm not actually going to, just using this as an example) right here on this site, and it wouldn't be illegal. But it would matter and it would be unethical. Oh, wait-- but I suppose it's nothing illegal, so I guess it would be perfectly okay for me to do that.

AirCon says

By the way, although it's pretty obvious, that last comment was directed at J_Jammer.

Johnny Octane says

"Yeah, no. Disagreeing with what you’re saying isn’t hateful. That’s a pretty pathetic point."

Saying my point is pathetic is just trying to insult me. Congratulations, you just proved my point in a single comment! That's a new record!

Ridley says

Glee jumped the shark well before this. This just cements it. What ginormous f#cktards.

Ridley says

@AirCon - Right on bro.

You know who I'm sick of? People who argue that immoral actions are justified because they may not be explicitly illegal, and who at the same time fight to destroy any laws that actually do protect victims of their depredation.

What a bunch of fannies. In the Australian sense.

Jesse says

Don't mind J_J, the little darling, he's just popping in to rock the boat every once in a while.

Even if he actually thinks that legality is all that matters, he's perfectly fine with ignoring any evidence that the copyright has actually been violated. He doesn't want a debate, he just wants to argue about it for some reason.

I predict that even if Coulton proves Glee used his recording (violating his copyright), takes them to court, and wins, J_J will still be on here arguing about how it still doesn't matter that Glee stole the song.

Duznot says

You're still arguing with that guy? He hadn't posted for days until you stirred him up again. Let it go.

jane brown says

Get over it dude. I live near oakland & have spent a lot of time in LA & I'd never heard your version of this song. Sir Mixalots version couldn't have been that great or I would have heard b4. I think Glee cast singing it was so fun. I'm thinking maybe u should be thanking Glee for bringing it back w life. So stop whining!

cgimusic says

jane brown, your comment only makes your lack of knowledge about the situation completely apparent. This has nothing to do with Sir Mixalot's version and I really don't know what kind of rock you have been living under such that you have never heard it before. I don't see how Glee brought anything back to life given they made absolutely no modifications. Making an awesome cover like JoCo did is bringing something back to life. Copying a cover exactly without any form of attribution is just scummy.

You say you have also never heard Coultons version of the song. Does that make it OK. It is fine to rip off other artists so long as jane brown has never heard of them?

You sound like the exact sort of ass who would steal from a beggar and say it was OK because they weren't as rich as you.

Orkendark says

cgimusic, you're missing jane brown's point. She lives near Oakland & LA. Clearly any version of a song referencing those places will be known there. I believe they pipe it through a public address system.

We may need to rethink this whole support of JoCo thing. I'm beginning to doubt whether he ever put the song out at all.

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