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Quick note for starters--I was not aware that SP had been somehow folded into DKos. Been awfully busy, but when I did have something to say, I generally cross-posted it at several blogs. So, my apologies if this is seen as a repeat. Mostly I am hoping to spread the word as much as possible so that a talented indie artist receives proper credit for his creativity.

Kind of ironic that plagiarism is the subject of the week in the class I'm teaching.

Years ago, Jonathan Coulton, an indie musician who has plenty of fans in our household, (took a moment out of his busy schedule to give Daughter a big hug and pose for a pic with her at Ohayocon once!) released a soft rock version of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back". He got the proper permissions and paid the proper royalties.

Last week, Fox's show Glee featured the same song on their episode Sadie Hawkins Day. Contacted, did paperwork, and made financial arrangements with Mix. But USED Coulton's unique mix. No acknowledgement in the credits, no payment to Coulton, and they didn't ask permission.

Some muckety-muck on the Fox/Glee end contacted Coulton to tell him that they were on solid legal ground, and besides, Coulton should be thankful for the exposure this is giving him. Except, without publicly crediting him, how, precisely, can that be called "exposure"?


Here is the post I wrote
, and here's a link to Jonathan Coulton's web site.

Kind of wiped out right lately, but if I can manage it, I'll add a bit more explanation and links to some of the better articles I've seen on this matter. For starters...


Plagiarism vs. Copyright Infringement

Copyright should protect artists like Jonathan Coulton, not Glee & Fox

Jonathan Coulton Explains How Glee Ripped Off His Cover Song -- And Why He's Not Alone

Jonathan Coulton `Covers' Glee's Ripoff of `Baby Got Back,' Puts It on iTunes, Proceeds Go to Charity

Note that last line--proceeds go to charity. And the more people buy Jonathan Coulton's version of Baby Got Back on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon MP3, the more REAL exposure this talented indie musician will receive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The important bit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Here's a link to Jonathan Coulton's post about re-releasing Baby Got Back (In the style of Glee), and about the charities he has chosen to receive the proceeds of sales through the end of February.

  •  So, what's "SP"? (3+ / 0-)

    "The right is correct on one thing...we really are a bunch of easily outraged nitpickers."

    by potato on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:32:43 AM PST

    •  "SP" Stands for "Street Prophets" (0+ / 0-)

      Street Prophets was a site founded by Rev. Daniel "Pastor Dan" Schultz and was billed as "The Intersection of Politics and Faith." It was separate, but part of  DK. With the last major DK upgrade, it was folded into DK itself as a group.

      "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

      by midnight lurker on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:24:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Think it will do better because it's Sunday? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, dadadata

    Just revised the title? I'll bite this time.

    1) It's Fox.
    2) There are no attorneys in your circle of friends or in your friends' circles of friends who will do pro bono work on this?

    You need to bring in attorneys at this point.  Period.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:55:12 AM PST

  •  No one (0+ / 0-)

    should screw with John Hodgman's feral mountain man friend, especially Glee.

  •  quick summary (0+ / 0-)

    Coulton acquired a mechanical license to "cover" Baby Got Back.  As such, Coulton has no copyright for the arrangement or his musical alterations.  That's standard.

    Glee/Fox also licensed Baby Got Back.  If they recreated Coulton's arrangement, they owe him nothing, because arrangements aren't copyrighted.

    If Glee/Fox used Coulton's sound recording, then they broke copyright, because Coulton has the copyright (the "phonograph") to the sound recording he produced.

    It doesn't make sense for a cover artist to have a copyright to an arrangement, because then it would mean that if you wanted to cover a song, you'd have to look up every other cover of it in existence to make sure your own cover isn't too similar.

    Coulton's arrangement being "original" is more a matter of degree - it's uncommonly original for a cover.  He probably could have written the instrumental (without lyrics) and copyrighted it, but he didn't, since it was always intended to be a cover.

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