‘Glee’ Accused of Stealing “Baby Got Back” Cover, FOX Denies Legal Claim
FOX’s ‘Glee‘ has found itself embroiled in criticism and controversy now and again, though the latest might be a bit hard to ignore. Musician Jonathan Coulton recently made public his belief that ‘Glee’ had not only ripped off his unique cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s infamous “Baby Got Back,” but potentially even sampled the track as well. FOX made no public response or acknowledgement of the controversy, but apparently responded to Coulton’s claims denying any legal culpability, and potentially encouraging him to be grateful for the exposure. Hear the new ‘Glee’ controversy for yourself inside!
‘Glee’ may have proven itself one of the more original shows to hit the TV landscape in years, but as fans well know, most of the music belongs to popular culture. And while the series has been accused of sampling covers before, new accusations and threatened legal action from musician Jonathan Coulton might be the most damning yet.
Weeks ago, Coulton alleged that ‘Glee’s upcoming “Sadie Hawkins” episode featured a cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” that sounded extraordinarily similar to his own unique cover of the track from 2005 album “Thing a Week One,” even using similar deviations of his own invention. Coulton even theorized that ‘Glee’s version might have sampled his track directly, which drew further internet support as Coulton reached out to FOX.
Though the track had been available for weeks, and is now offered on iTunes, ‘Glee’ aired the episode in question last night with no mention or acknowledgement of Coulton’s cover of the track. More-so, Coulton reveals on his blog that FOX responded to him by denying any legal claims, and insisting he should, if anything, appreciate the exposure:
Well, they aired it, seemingly unchanged. And it’s now for sale in the US iTunes store. They also 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 (even 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 they appear not to be legally obligated to do any of these things, they did not apologize, offer to credit me, or offer to pay me, and indicated that this was their general policy in regards to covers of covers. It does not appear that I have a copyright claim, but I’m still investigating the possibility (which I consider likely) that they used some or all of my audio. I’ll write something longer and more detailed about this when I can get my head together about it probably in a couple of days. Thanks for your support, but please continue not to burn anything down.
We’ve included both Coulton’s cover of “Baby Got Back” and the ‘Glee’ version below, but what say you? Do you think FOX was within their right to use such a similar track? Does Coulton have any legal claim to the song?