'Glee' Rips Off Jonathan Coulton's 'Baby Got Back' Cover
A recent "Sadie Hawkins" episode of Glee featured a corny acoustic cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot's booylicious 1992 rap song "Baby Got Back."
But while we love songs about ass, Glee's cover sounds exactly like the "Baby Got Back" cover created by musician Jonathan Coulton over three years ago.
Glee's version is not an homage or a rearrangement of Coulton's cover, it's just a shameless rip-off.
Coulton has started making noise to get Glee to acknowledge their creative theft, but so far the show has been mum, according to The Week:
The show's producers, who haven't spoken publicly about this flap, reportedly told Coulton that using his version is well within their legal rights. They told me "I should be happy for the exposure," writes Coulton, "even though they do not credit me, and have not even publicly acknowledged that it's my version."
This isn't the first time Glee has been accused of "borrowing" from a YouTube singer's cover of a popular track. According to Wired, singer/songwriter Greg Laswell said his version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was similarly featured on the show without his permission. In that same vein, the show's rendition of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" is strikingly similar to this version by mash-up artist DJ Earworm.
While Coulton and his lawyers continue to sort through the legal weeds, he has released his version of "Baby Got Back" on iTunes concurrently with Glee's version and will donate all February proceeds to The VH1 Save the Music Foundation and The It Gets Better Project.
On his blog, Colton said:
"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!"
So while it's great that Coulton has a good attitude about this, he also seems eager for Glee to respond in some way, which it really should. After all, a show about creative community should respect its own.
Here's Jonathan Coulter's version of "Baby Got Back":
Here's Glee's version: