Glee Rips Off Jonathan Coulton

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Thunderous Cacophony:
I had hoped to get in here before people began decrying Glee as the abomination that is ruining music/their childhood/other such ridiculous statements.

OT: Not very cool, Glee. Just out of curiosity, are there any musicians who can tell me whether or not the Glee songwriters might have accidentally stumbled into the same arrangement (i.e. whether it is the logical choice for turning "Baby Got Back" into an acapella pop song)?

Not possible since they literally say Johnny C so yeah

Ripping of my second favourite musician arghh they have gone to far

DAMMIT GLEE! This is most disappointing!

You know what, that does it. I'm altering my "HATE LIST"

5. O.J. Simpson
4. Rob Schneider
3. Racist people
2. F*cking GLEE
1. Adolf Hitler

Congrats GLEE - I now officially hate you more than racists...

Not sure if it's technically illegal, but at the very, very least, using someone else's song without obtaining permission from them first is very, very poor etiquette and a huge dick move.

It doesn't help that it Glee, which has (fairly or not) garnered a rather poor reputation for the quality of its covers and the show itself.

I do hope that Coulton takes them to court if he has legal grounds to do so, but even if he doesn't I'm guessing the publicity will hopefully make people more aware of the ethics (or lack thereof) of Glee.

Interesting fact: A little Googling reveals that Ryan Murphy, the writer for Glee, has a not undeserved reputation for being a monumental jackass to artists that decline to allow their music to be used on Glee, even going as far as to say of Slash (yes, the Slash) "Usually I find that people who make those comments, their careers are over; they're uneducated and quite stupid."

In addition to that, the show has come under criticism for similar situations involving Petra Haden's cover of Don't Stop Believing and Greg Laswell's cover of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Looks like Glee has a history of not bothering to hide their contempt for the musicians which, ironically, make the show even possible.

Maybe it's fake. Surely, the Glee producers wouldn't be so shameless.

Hasn't the Glee creator had some really nasty arguments with some bands over them refusing to have their music used? I seem to recall him telling Kings of Leon to fuck off after they didn't allow him to use their music.

Beautiful End:
Meh, Glee butchers every single song they sing anyway. If Mr. Johnny C (And Sir Mix-a-Lot) are lucky, they won't use it.

I whole heartedly agree. Not just Glee butchers and ripps off songs but they don't give credit to the original performers.

I am also raging mad over the fact teens think Established Artist stole from Glee.
Example "Why is Barbra Streisand singing a song from Glee"?
You stupid sad child, that video was recorded before you where born, before the briths of the cast of that show.
That there was the original song that Glee Stole.

DVS BSTrD:
OT: I really hope they cancel this show soon.

Amen

Thunderous Cacophony:
I had hoped to get in here before people began decrying Glee as the abomination that is ruining music/their childhood/other such ridiculous statements.

Well if the performances where good and the show's plot was not this contrived dribble that you expect out some kid's Slash Fan Fic. Fox goes on to cancels good shows and keep on showing garbage.

As you see above, its to the point now that kids think Glee songs are original and think that real musicians are stealing from Glee.

Doclector:
It'd be real nice if a lawsuit follows which wipes glee out altogether. Seriously, I've fucking had it with glee.

Can we just write a petition to wipe out Glee and bring back a show that was good like Arrested Development of Fire Fly.

Darth Sea Bass:
Turns out it is possible to hate glee more than i already did. Who knew?

You could fire bomb the cast and crew of the show. Actually don't do it, unfortunately it is illegal.

spunkgarglewiwi:
I wish we could brake Glee into pieces and throw every piece in a fire. But then Fox would just return them having them singing 'Still Alive'.

I think go send a condolence letter with flowers to Ellen McLain (voice of GlaDOS) if the producers of Glee ever pull that shit off. Then help them find a good ex-KGB assassin therapist.

darksakul:

I am also raging mad over the fact teens think Established Artist stole from Glee.
Example "Why is Barbra Streisand singing a song from Glee"?
You stupid sad child, that video was recorded before you where born, before the briths of the cast of that show.
That there was the original song that Glee Stole.

What's worrying is that I think kids are getting dumber. When I was a kid and I watched shows like that, I figured that they couldn't possibly create new songs each week, songs that other artists are singing on the radio, songs that just sound different from their style; there were just so many things that made me figure it out by logic. Also, my parents didn't allow me to be that dumb.
I'm beginning to sound like an old man but you get the point. We weren't that dumb.
Also...

Can we just write a petition to wipe out Glee and bring back a show that was good like Arrested Development of Fire Fly.

Oh, glob. I'd PAY them to get rid of Glee and bring back Firefly!
Seriously, how does that make any sense! Glee keeps going but Firefly didn't even last two seasons?! Where's the logic in that?

I think that was because Firefly didn't have nearly as many viewers and Glee is (rightly or wrongly) more accessible. It's mindless, simplistic fun. Firefly, on the other hand, is a Sci-Fi 'space cowboy' show with darker themes, a well written plot, and interesting and well-developed characters.

Also, if memory serves, when it debuted it was often changed to different times and days, and was competing with popular, well-established shows.

fapper plain:
I think that was because Firefly didn't have nearly as many viewers and Glee is (rightly or wrongly) more accessible. It's mindless, simplistic fun. Firefly, on the other hand, is a Sci-Fi 'space cowboy' show with darker themes, a well written plot, and interesting and well-developed characters.

Also, if memory serves, when it debuted it was often changed to different times and days, and was competing with popular, well-established shows.

They also never aired the pilot, you know, the episode that introduces all the main characters and other trivial things. Fox is stupid with all their good shows.

zdog jr:

fapper plain:
I think that was because Firefly didn't have nearly as many viewers and Glee is (rightly or wrongly) more accessible. It's mindless, simplistic fun. Firefly, on the other hand, is a Sci-Fi 'space cowboy' show with darker themes, a well written plot, and interesting and well-developed characters.

Also, if memory serves, when it debuted it was often changed to different times and days, and was competing with popular, well-established shows.

They also never aired the pilot, you know, the episode that introduces all the main characters and other trivial things. Fox is stupid with all their good shows.

Fox was trying to turn a profit, and couldn't possibly predict that Firefly would do so. Airing it in the first place was a risk.

I didn't actually realize that the pilot was unaired, though it doesn't surprise me, considering the episodes were aired out of order.

fapper plain:
snip

zdog jr:
snip

Beautiful End:
snip

Sad thing is Fox allows their written policy to dictate actions instead of the policy makers.

Well, that's pretty awful of those guys. They should have asked at least for something like this.

Glee who? Living in China does have some social benefits I guess.

The American entertainment industry doesn't care about the rights of intellectual property owners & creators, especially if they're not copyrighted or patented.

You know... As much as I don't like the articles that don't really have ANYthingto do with gaming, Im ok with anything that talks about doing damage to really stupid shit in the western world. Like Glee.

Good grief... next thing you know they will be ripping off MoS! Jonathan; sue the pants off them BEFORE that happens!

DVS BSTrD:
But they didn't have time to ask his permission: If they win regionals then it's straight on to sectionals and then a week later is semis, then semi-regionals, then regional-semis, then national lower-zone semis.

OT: I really hope they cancel this show soon.

I'm glad you are making the best out of a bad situation at least by referencing community. image

Chairman Miaow:

DVS BSTrD:
But they didn't have time to ask his permission: If they win regionals then it's straight on to sectionals and then a week later is semis, then semi-regionals, then regional-semis, then national lower-zone semis.

OT: I really hope they cancel this show soon.

I'm glad you are making the best out of a bad situation at least by referencing community. image

Who hates Glee? Listen to how that sounds. Glee literally means, glee.

If this is real, how did absolutely no one notice that they were singing Johnny C's in trouble throughout the entire stealing music/recording process?

I only needed to listen to five seconds of that clip to determine that it's the exact same arrangement. Though the minute after that, which I also listened to, didn't do anything to disprove this either.
Still... I wonder if it'll actually be on Glee. I won't be able to check, because I live in Sweden.

likalaruku:
The American entertainment industry doesn't care about the rights of intellectual property owners & creators, especially if they're not copyrighted or patented.

except of course you want to stream an episode of one of their series when suddenly copyright turns into the holiest thing EVAR and justifies suing a hapless person's pants off.

in any case, iirc you can't enforce a copyright on just an arrangement (aka just the progression of chords or instruments used). It's painfully obvious that Glee ripped joco off with a perverted glee (pun not intended) but I'm not sure how much there is that legally can be done. Of course, human decency would dictate to give the original artist (even if he covered the song himself) proper credit and compensation but that would imply that anyone in Hollywood had any human decency :C

also, apparently I'm the only one who enjoyed glee at least a little bit before disliking it for being boring, badly-written tripe. Still, the hate is surprising.

Well that's just not cool; they could've at least asked for permission. I really hope Coulton gets something out of this if Glee does use his arrangement, otherwise it's more than a bit dodgy.

Talk about an amateur mistake.

You'd think a show that bases its episodes off doing covers of famous songs would, you know, get permission first?

Keep it classy, Glee! Oh wait, they've never been classy. It should be more like..."Keep on sucking, Glee, you'll kill music yet!"

DVS BSTrD:
But they didn't have time to ask his permission: If they win regionals then it's straight on to sectionals and then a week later is semis, then semi-regionals, then regional-semis, then national lower-zone semis.

OT: I really hope they cancel this show soon.

What the hell are regionals?

OT: If they ever dare cover Still alive, I will get Agent 47's ass on every single one involved in making that song very depressed.

Covarr:

Thunderous Cacophony:
Just out of curiosity, are there any musicians who can tell me whether or not the Glee songwriters might have accidentally stumbled into the same arrangement (i.e. whether it is the logical choice for turning "Baby Got Back" into an acapella pop song)?

Not by a long shot. The original was a rap, so the melody, guitar part, etc. were all 100% Coulton's original work. Pretty much the only thing intact from Sir Mix-A-Lot's original song is the lyrics.

For a comparison point, imagine if someone decided to paint a picture of Jesus and the apostles at the last supper. The chances of them accidentally recreating Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper without being familiar with it are about the same as accidentally recreating Coulton's arrangement.

P.S. Thanks

Eppy (Bored):
Probably not. Creating a vocal jazz arrangement of a pop song isn't a particularly complicated process, but JC wrote a straight-out BALLAD. It's not a question of having a similar chord progression or a suspiciously similar melody, JC's arrangement is explicitly a pardoy of an up-tempo song, FAR from what Glee usually does with its covers and pretty far from what any vocal jazz arranger would usually arrive at when doing Baby Got Back. This is pretty explicitly a case of plagiarism (though, like the Escapist lawyer crew, I don't know whether or not it's technically copyright infringement to rip off a cover; I think it would probably have to depend on whether or not the cover arrangement itself was registered or not).

(Qualifications: Organ Performance major at the University of Michigan, way too many years of choir, composition, and two unfortunate seasons viewed of Glee)

EDIT: For comparison, here's the original.. If you were to do an arrangement you'd have to base it off the Mix-a-Lot's bass riff, which is C-C-Eb-Eb-Db-Db-Eb-Db (repeat), in straight eighth notes. The song's entire harmonic content is that bass riff and the quick synth chords, which are all C-minor, so as an arranger you have available to you C-minor with a lowered second. Now, I could come up with a pretty sweet vocal jazz arrangment of Baby Got Back out of that, but it is NOTHING like the Coulton arrangement and you would have to go through several wormholes to get to the same place; Coulton's is EXPLICITLY a musical parody.

Thank you ladies and/or gentlemen. Now that I know it's stolen for sure, I can vent my rage wholeheartedly.

They probably thought Jonathan Coulton was a nobody and they could ripoff his music without repercussion. Whilst the legalities on using other people's arrangements in sketchy i think using someone else's recording wholesale is totally out of the question.

Hopefully this whole sad affair will give JC some more exposure though.

There's doing a cover, and then there's this.

JC used a Creative Commons license, which means that it is illegal to use his material without

A. Permission
and
B. Proper crediting to the original author.

Of, course, Fox did neither.

SirBryghtside:

DVS BSTrD:
But they didn't have time to ask his permission: If they win regionals then it's straight on to sectionals and then a week later is semis, then semi-regionals, then regional-semis, then national lower-zone semis.

OT: I really hope they cancel this show soon.

What even are regionals?

BoredAussieGamer:
What the hell are regionals?

They're THIS close Pierce!
Now they may have to cancel the Christmas pageant. Glee club has become history club.
Or will be soon enough.

Fox will get away with it because they will throw a few million dollars at a legal team rather than admit they are thieves. Fortunately I never have and never will watch Glee, but I will now go and watch every Coulton video on youtube and maybe buy some of his trinkets.

I find it hard to abuse Glee when it takes a song done by someone else who took the song from someone else.

It's not as if Coulton wrote the song or even put much effort into it ... it's a cover.

Had it been an original song it would have been different.

But I suppose the people here are right. Let's abuse a TV show for being unoriginal and stealing an unoriginal song off guy who covered the song of someone else because covering a song is original right? ..... RIGHT?

Nope, it's not.

But, according to a poll that popped up on this very forum last year, a hell of a lot of people here class themselves as having above average intelligence....

It truly shows, honest.

Beautiful End:

darksakul:

I am also raging mad over the fact teens think Established Artist stole from Glee.
Example "Why is Barbra Streisand singing a song from Glee"?
You stupid sad child, that video was recorded before you where born, before the briths of the cast of that show.
That there was the original song that Glee Stole.

What's worrying is that I think kids are getting dumber. When I was a kid and I watched shows like that, I figured that they couldn't possibly create new songs each week, songs that other artists are singing on the radio, songs that just sound different from their style; there were just so many things that made me figure it out by logic. Also, my parents didn't allow me to be that dumb.
I'm beginning to sound like an old man but you get the point. We weren't that dumb.
Also...

Can we just write a petition to wipe out Glee and bring back a show that was good like Arrested Development of Fire Fly.

Oh, glob. I'd PAY them to get rid of Glee and bring back Firefly!
Seriously, how does that make any sense! Glee keeps going but Firefly didn't even last two seasons?! Where's the logic in that?

The logic is in the fact that Glee apparently has a consistently large enough number of viewers tuning in every week to keep the advertising dollars rolling in. Firefly was cripple by Fox airing it out of order and screwing with the schedule, but even then it had a fairly large following when it was canceled. But then again, Fox has a poor track record when it comes to science fiction shows. Arrested Development never interested me, but I assume it had reached a point where it was becoming a tired premise since I know it had a good sized following as well.

zdog jr:

fapper plain:
I think that was because Firefly didn't have nearly as many viewers and Glee is (rightly or wrongly) more accessible. It's mindless, simplistic fun. Firefly, on the other hand, is a Sci-Fi 'space cowboy' show with darker themes, a well written plot, and interesting and well-developed characters.

Also, if memory serves, when it debuted it was often changed to different times and days, and was competing with popular, well-established shows.

They also never aired the pilot, you know, the episode that introduces all the main characters and other trivial things. Fox is stupid with all their good shows.

That was a really good episode, as well. The Pilot.

Rawne1980:
I find it hard to abuse Glee when it takes a song done by someone else who took the song from someone else.

It's not as if Coulton wrote the song or even put much effort into it ... it's a cover.

Had it been an original song it would have been different.

But I suppose the people here are right. Let's abuse a TV show for being unoriginal and stealing an unoriginal song off guy who covered the song of someone else because covering a song is original right? ..... RIGHT?

Nope, it's not.

But, according to a poll that popped up on this very forum last year, a hell of a lot of people here class themselves as having above average intelligence....

It truly shows, honest.

He didn't just cover the song, he just used the lyrics and put them to a different tune which he wrote himself. So he did more than just rehash the original.

likalaruku:
The American entertainment industry doesn't care about the rights of intellectual property owners & creators, especially if they're not copyrighted or patented.

Just so you know, what you just said makes NO sense.

Copyright is granted AUTOMATICALLY as soon as you create any creative work. So JC's arrangement is copyrighted by default the moment he publishes it (since he is the first to do it this way.) As long as he has permission to use Mix-a-lot's lyrics, which I assume he does, he has copyright protection rights for his performance of the song. What Glee did IS copyright infringement, plain and simple, since they are profitting off of someone else's intellectual property which they did not ask for permission to use. Joco could and SHOULD sue them for copyright infringement and I think he has a damn good case.

Also, you can't patent a creative work. Patents are only granted for physical objects (inventions), and processes to make other objects(like a factory manufacturing machine).

TJC:

likalaruku:
The American entertainment industry doesn't care about the rights of intellectual property owners & creators, especially if they're not copyrighted or patented.

except of course you want to stream an episode of one of their series when suddenly copyright turns into the holiest thing EVAR and justifies suing a hapless person's pants off.

in any case, iirc you can't enforce a copyright on just an arrangement (aka just the progression of chords or instruments used). It's painfully obvious that Glee ripped joco off with a perverted glee (pun not intended) but I'm not sure how much there is that legally can be done. Of course, human decency would dictate to give the original artist (even if he covered the song himself) proper credit and compensation but that would imply that anyone in Hollywood had any human decency :C

also, apparently I'm the only one who enjoyed glee at least a little bit before disliking it for being boring, badly-written tripe. Still, the hate is surprising.

Actually, I think you CAN enforce a copyright claim on an arrangement. Let me make an example from a different artistic industry: theatre. I once saw a theatre group do a performance of Shakespeare's MacBeth. This performance was a bit different though, because they re-imagined the plots and themes of MacBeth and set it against the backdrop of the modern Rwandan genocide, and everything was re-interpreted to fit in with this new modern setting.

The lines were the same, taken from Shakespeare (public domain) but their interpretation was brand new. If some other theater company stole their interpretation (which I think is analogous to an arrangement in this case) does this company not have intellectual property rights for their creative re-interpretation of an old classic? I think they would. Why should music be any different?

Rawne1980:
I find it hard to abuse Glee when it takes a song done by someone else who took the song from someone else.

It's not as if Coulton wrote the song or even put much effort into it ... it's a cover.

Had it been an original song it would have been different.

But I suppose the people here are right. Let's abuse a TV show for being unoriginal and stealing an unoriginal song off guy who covered the song of someone else because covering a song is original right? ..... RIGHT?

Nope, it's not.

But, according to a poll that popped up on this very forum last year, a hell of a lot of people here class themselves as having above average intelligence....

It truly shows, honest.

All I can say to you is this: actually LISTEN to both songs and then come back and say that again... JoCo's version is a completely different arrangement, pace, and sound and was meant as a parody. I dont personally LIKE his arrangement of the song, but only someone who hasn't even heard both songs can come here and say "Joco just did a lazy cover and now he's pissed someone stole it from him?!"

Zachary Amaranth:

Incidentally, you cannot copyright an arrangement, so there's no real legal problem here. No issue with "not getting his permission."

I think it's a matter of poor taste rather than a legal one. The fact that the show used the arrangement without even speaking to Coulton comes off as kind of a jerk move. Even Weird Al asks the artist permission before he parodies their music, even though under US law he doesn't have to. It's just common courtesy I would think.

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