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Jonathan Coulton Song Used By Glee Without Permission 307

Posted by timothy
from the perhaps-they-can-call-it-willful dept.
FunPika writes "Jonathan Coulton, who is known for songs such as "Code Monkey", is claiming that his cover of "Baby Got Back" was used without permission on Glee, a television show aired by Fox Broadcasting Company. When the Glee version appeared on YouTube last week, Coulton suspected that it sounded similar to his cover, and several of his fans confirmed this by analyzing the two tracks. Despite Coulton contacting Fox, they continued with airing the episode and have placed the song on sale in iTunes."
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Jonathan Coulton Song Used By Glee Without Permission

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  • by Brucelet (1857158) on Friday January 25, 2013 @09:36PM (#42697827)
    The question is whether Glee crossed the line from "sounds similar to" to "used the same background recordings as". Coulton has a karaoke [jonathancoulton.com] version available, and at one point it was possible to purchase [creativecommons.org] a usb drive containing source tracks of this song (among others) as part of a creative commons fundraiser, so it's certainly feasible that the Glee version simply stuck new vocals on top of JoCo's existing tracks. There is some strong [soundcloud.com] evidence [musicmachinery.com] that that is exactly what happened.
  • by spazdor (902907) on Friday January 25, 2013 @10:22PM (#42698031)

    Listen to the Soundcloud link I posted. Use headphones. This is not a hyper-accurate note-for-note cover. If it were that, there would be all sorts of stereo phasing wildness going on in your ears, because they would be all confused by the Haas effect. That is not going on because the instrumentals are the same instrumental.

    http://s9.postimage.org/qq104s1zh/joco_glee_comparison.gif [postimage.org]

    Here is a spectrogram comparison I made from the first 15 seconds of each song, starting from the attack of the second 'clap' sample. They're not identical obviously, owing to different mastering and compression on the tracks, in addition to the differing vocal performances going on over top. But, the spectral components they share in common are clear. If you look at that clap sample by itself, before the vocals and other instrumentation start up, they are obviously the same sample.

  • Re:frist post? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaTrueDave (992134) * on Friday January 25, 2013 @10:31PM (#42698091)

    This was a triumph.
    You could at least have used the first post to point out that this is the artist who wrote and performed "Still Alive" from the video game Portal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI [youtube.com]
    Not sure how this wasn't in TFS.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday January 25, 2013 @11:27PM (#42698363) Journal

    wouldn't it look pretty bad in court if you just let damages accrue, and only filed a case after the defendant had made a bunch of money?

    Generally, no. In the specific case of trademark law, you can lose your trademark if you don't defend it, but with copyright and patents, there is no such 'problem'. Submarine patents are a real thing, look at the case of GIF.

  • Time for Payback (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mlookaba (2802163) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @01:08AM (#42698757)
    Jonathan Coulton is a member of the geek community with honors. He's given to us often, and freely.

    I hope someone with lawyer skills steps up to help pay back the debt. Let me know where I can donate.
  • by Pax681 (1002592) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @01:53AM (#42698851)

    Screw that, this is where you go Bittersweet Symphony on their ass..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_Sweet_Symphony

    Rolling stones bent over The Verve and took all the money generated from their #1 hit because it contained "too much of a sample" that they had licensed.

    I say let this track run iTunes, and then sue them for all the money it generated.

    They Also did the exact same to Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine over the song After The Watershed [youtube.com]
    They took Carter for a sizeable sum of cash and Jagger then got writing credits as well. apparently the song also contained a bass riff from "satisfaction"
    Carter then pretty much used the money from their next album to pay the rubber lipped old twat linky [wikipedia.org]

  • by lxs (131946) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @03:42AM (#42699135)

    So you are telling us to listen to Glee and Jonathan Coulton? You are a bad man. A bad bad man. Shame on you.

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