Did Glee rip off web musician Jonathan Coulton? It certainly seems that way, given the similarities between the songs in question.
Coulton tweeted on on Friday morning, claiming that the popular Fox show had “ripped off” his cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
After listening to both tracks, we have to admit that there are too many similarities to ignore Coulton as another person trying to get fame through scandal.
The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino agrees with Coulton’s assertion that Glee ripped off his cover. Panzarino adds:
“What appears to have happened here is that a music producer on the show found the song and through that it was just an ‘internet musician’ that they could cop it from and no one would be the wiser.”
Unfortunately, Jonathan Coulton’s “Baby Got Back” cover is one of the most recognizable tracks, next to Code Monkey and Still Alive from Portal.
So, what happens next? The answer is quite murky. The Verge notes that under section 115(a)(2) of the Copyright Act, musicians are allowed to perform and record covers of songs, provided they pay the original musician a “compulsory license” fee through the Harry Fox Agency.
Coulton states that he’s paid the fees, and it’s highly likely that Fox has as well. But the law doesn’t cover Coulton’s reworked “Baby Got Back” song. The song itself still belongs to the songwriter, unless that person gave Coulton permission to copyright his version.
So, while it’s highly likely that Glee ripped off Jonathan Coulton’s version of “Baby Got Back,” there’s probably not much he can do about it.
Do you think that Glee ripped off Jonathan Coulton’s “Baby Got Back” cover? Listen to the tracks below and let us know in the comments section!