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Fox shamelessly steals Still Alive composer's song for Glee

UPDATE: Coulton releases "a cover of Glee's cover of my cover," i.e. his original song, on iTunes. Proceeds go to charity.

Update: Jonathan Coulton has retaliated by releasing his original Baby Got Back cover on iTunes; the proceeds of which will go to charity.

"It's a cover of Glee's cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's song, which is to say it's EXACTLY THE SAME as my original version," he wrote on his blog. "I'm releasing this under the same Harry Fox license I used for the 2005 release, so Mix will get all the royalties due to him."

Released as "Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)," all proceeds of which between now and the end of February will go to The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, a charity that seeks to fund music education in America's public schools, and the It Gets Better Project, an organisation that provides support for LGBT youths.

"I've been reading your tweets and posts and I'm truly grateful for your support - honestly, this has been a very stressful time, and it means so much to see how many of you are behind me," wrote Coulton. "I've been trying to figure out a positive way to channel all this energy. I haven't asked you guys to take any specific action throughout this thing, but now I am asking: buy the track, give it some stars, leave a comment (please be civil), and tell everyone you can."

"Call it a form of protest, awareness raising, viral PR hackitude, whatever you like. I don't know how big this will get, but there's a potential to make a lot of noise this way... And failing that, we will create some real world impact by raising a lot of money for two great causes that are directly related to the Glee brand."

"Maybe this is something that the Glee people would like to give some EXPOSURE. Though, in order to do that they'd have to make some kind of public acknowledgement that I exist. We'll see! Maybe they'll even want to match the gesture, and donate all their February proceeds for their version too!"

Currently Coulton's version of Baby Got Back has a five star average rating with 2248 users having voted on it.

Original story: Jonathan Coulton - best known as the man who wrote Still Alive and Want You Gone for the Portal series - has had his cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back completely and utterly stolen by Fox for its use in the hit teenagers-overcoming-their-problems-through-song show Glee.

Glee could have saved itself the trouble and cast Coulton as a crooning science teacher.

Coulton blogged about this a week ago when a YouTube clip leaked showing his tunes coming out of the mouths of teenagers-with-self-esteem-issues, but there was still some debate over whether the clip was real or would actually air.

Well last night it aired and the Coulton song was in there, unchanged. So did Fox pony up and at least give credit where credit is due?

F*** no.

According to a recent update on Coulton's blog, representatives from the show told him he "should be happy for the exposure," nevermind that he's not credited anywhere and the corporation disavows the song having anything to do with him. "So you know, it's kind of SECRET exposure," Coulton wrote.

"While they appear not to be legally obligated to do any of these things, they did not apologise, 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."

He then added, "Thanks for your support, but please continue not to burn anything down."

Making matters worse, Fox is selling Coulton's cover as its own on iTunes. Thankfully, people seem to be aware of this shoddy theft and have been rating it poorly as a result.

"Stolen song, too bad I can't rate it lower than one star," wrote someone by the name of hologramaja. "Thieves," cried user Internet Celebrity who wrote, "Fox completely ripped off Jonathan Coulton's version, lyrics, arrangements, and all. ART THEFT IS THEFT. Period." The current average rating is 2/5 stars out of 789 ratings.

Coulton may have a case though, if in fact Fox did use his audio. "To my ears, it sounds like it actually uses the audio from my recording - not the vocals obviously, but the instruments sound EXTREMELY similar," he wrote. "And I could swear I hear the duck quack somewhere in the background there, though it's hard to say if that's just my ears expecting it."

If you'd like to compare the two, check out the videos below to see just how similar they are.

We'll update this story as it develops.

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.