As those in the geekscape have learned, a bit of controversy erupted earlier in the week, when
the intermittently fabulous tentacle of Rupert Murdoch’s media Cthulu Fox Broadcasting Company slighted Jonathan Coulton, by using his cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” on a recent episode of “Glee” – illustrated by this side-by-side comparison – without giving credit. In a blog post, Coulton stated that Fox was in touch with his people, and he “should be happy for the exposure.” At the end of said post, Coulton said:
“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.”
Naturally, many of us internet travelers found this rather, shall we say, distasteful. Partly it’s because passing off someone’s own arrangement as your own is considered bad form; mostly, it’s because issuing such a response – one that is the PR equivalent of a Post-it Note with the words “You’re Welcome” affixed to a raised middle finger – is considered even worse form. Fox defended itself further by stating that it was not obligated to credit Coulton, due to the fact that copyright law does not protect covers of cover songs.
In response, Coulton has decided to release his cover of Glee’s cover (of his cover) of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s sonic poem. The song will be available for $0.99 on iTunes and Google Play. Through February, all proceeds from sales of the song (minus royalties, as well the percentage taken by Apple and Google, respectively) going to VH1’s Save the Music and the It Gets Better Foundation.