Glee Rips Off Popular YouTube Singer’s Arrangement

News broke on this last weekend, but as a fan of the show I was reluctant to believe that one of my favorite indie singers had their arrangement taken. Plus Fox was keeping quiet on the whole thing, and I wanted more information.

When the show aired last night, I was not too happy.

Jonathan Coulton was made popular on YouTube for songs like Code Monkey, and Re: Your Brains, and enjoys a strong cult following.

When someone alerted him that the Swedish iTunes had released a Glee cover of his arrangement of the Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song Baby Got Back, and the glee wiki was reporting the airing of the song, he took to twitter and to his blog to discuss his disappointment in not even being approached.

This is not the first time that Glee has appropriated an arrangement for their own use without giving credit where credit is due. In 2011 Greg Laswell accused the show of using his arrangement of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Laswell also used twitter to discuss his disbelief that the show would clearly use someone else’s arrangement without so much as an acknowledgement.

Coulton took to his blog this morning for an update on the whole situation after the show aired last night.

He stated that the people from Glee: “got in touch with my peeps to basically say that they’re within their legal rights to do this, and that I should be happy for the exposure.”  Coulton went on to add, “though they do not credit me, and have not even publicly acknowledged that it’s my version – so you know, it’s kind of SECRET exposure.”

While Coulton admits that he has no legal claim to the song itself, there is glaring evidence that they used parts of his actual musical track, down to the ducky sounds in the background.

The song is now available on the US iTunes. Fox is officially stating that it doesn’t give credit for the cover of a cover.

The thing is, if it’s going to use a distinct arrangement, then it needs to at least state where the arrangement came from. Give the artist the credit for at least inspiring the decision to do the song. Maybe don’t steal the changed lyrics too (they keep the line: “Johnny C’s in trouble”, really subtle) that might help. Also, keep out the duck-quack.

Coulton stated that he would have more information available for the fans later. Until then he encourages fans to “continue not to burn anything down.” 

Here are links to both tracks so you decide for yourself if Fox should acknowledge the arrangements that they have taken from other artists.



Sound off. Are you a fan of Coulton? A fan of Glee? Let us know in the comments what your thoughts on the situation are.

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