Glee uses Jonathan Coulton cover without permission, composer considering legal action

By Dave Cook, Monday, 28 January 2013 11:07 GMT

Glee, the all singing and dancing comedy series by FOX has used one of Jonathan Coulton’s music covers without permissions, prompting the composer to consider legal action against the broadcaster. Coulton, who is known among gamers as the composer of Portal’s eponymous track ‘Still Alive’ is understandably none too pleased.

An update on Coulton’s blog sheds light on the matter, and reveals that the show used his cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ without first consulting him, paying him, or even crediting him at all. FOX is even selling it on the US iTunes store as part of the Glee soundtrack.

Coulton’s latest update reads, “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.”

There is a side-by-side comparison of both versions of the track here – as created by Coulton.

What do you make of FOX’s use of the track and claim that Coulton should be happy for the ‘secret’ exposure? Let us know below.

Thanks Gi.Biz.

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