Fox network’s “Glee” aired an episode on Jan. 24 with the cover of the classic song, “Baby Got Back,” originally recorded by Sir Mix-A-Lot. “Glee” has been known for its catchy covers of famous songs; however, the specific rendition they used this time has been done.
Jonathan Coulton is a musician on YouTube who is well-known by his over 9,000 subscribers. He has some of his own original music as well as a cover of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot.
While listening to Coulton’s song on YouTube, one can hear the infamous lyrics, sung in a slowed-down, melodic and acoustic version — the exact-same version was performed by the musical cast of “Glee.”
“Morally, should they give him credit? Sure. Legally, I don’t think he has a claim,” said Dr. Troy Hinrichs, professor of criminal justice at California Baptist University.
Through a variety of social networking websites and blogs, fans have voiced their outrage because of the “Glee” producers’ actions and demanded Coulton receive the credit he deserves. Others, like Hinrichs, see the immorality of the situation but not the legal stake.
Hinrichs explained the real legal matter would be if Fox went to the original copyright owner of “Baby Got Back” and received permission. If they paid for that right, then legally speaking, a cover artist may have nothing to do with the situation.
“My initial response is that they don’t owe him because (the ‘Glee’ version is) a cover of a cover,” said Hinrichs of the song.
According to Hinrichs, if the tables had been turned and it was Fox’s version being covered by any particular artist, the network would surely have taken legal action quickly in response.
According to an article on Forbes.com, there is no need for any legal confrontation between the two parties because “Glee” has not made the cover more popular on iTunes than Coulton.
Due to the uproar over the “Glee” action, Coulton’s cover has a five-star rating on iTunes while Glee’s has just a one-star rating.
Coulton has received more fame and recognition in the end, because enough fans and justice-supporters raised a loud-enough voice to protest Fox’s and the “Glee” rip-off.