Last night’s episode of Glee featured an acoustic cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” For fans of nerd superstar Jonathan Coulton, it probably sounded really familiar. That’s because the show used Jonathan’s arrangement of the ‘90s one-hit-wonder, right down to his “Johnny C’s in trouble.” However, Jonathan says show reps did not contact him for permission for use of his arrangement, nor did they give him credit or acknowledgement.
While Glee’s producers say they’ve violated no laws, it sure doesn’t seem fair to many — including Johnny C himself and his legion of fans. He took to Twitter last night and his website this morning to comment on the issue that’s now being called “#backgate” by his followers.
Here is Jonathan’s most recent update on the issue:
“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.