'Glee' accused of ripping off indy YouTube singer

Jonathan Coulton is a little stunned that the teeny show seems to have created a version of "Baby Got Back" that comes back identically to his own version.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Have they been naughty? GleeSeason4Songs/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

"That's mine!"

"No, it isn't! It's mine!"

Such is the dialogue I imagine the writers of "Glee" would pen to describe a slight kerfuffle between its own creators and Jonathan Coulton.

Coulton enjoys a bit of fame on YouTube. He writes tunes like "Code Monkey." He created the themes of Portal video games.

He clearly enjoys his art. But he isn't "Glee."

Still, his version of "Baby Got Back," the Sir Mix-A-Lot song, has many admirers. It was less than gleeful for him, then, when he received word that the Fox teeny show appeared to be offering a version that seemed stunningly like his own.

It was to be featured in its January 24 edition.

Coulton tweeted: "Hey look, @GLEEonFOX ripped off my cover of Baby Got Back: http://bit.ly/WME9Ho. Never even contacted me. Classy."

In case you're unfamiliar with the song, it's all about the wonders of large bottoms.

To my own Saturday ears, Coulton might have a little justification for feeling that the people behind "Glee" are, indeed, large bottoms themselves.

As one of the more than 4,000 people who have retweeted Coulton's plaintive tweet, Greg Pak, offered: "Dude. They even kept the 'Johnny C's in trouble' line," -- a line that was all Coulton's.

Wired thought it might be an idea to contact Fox to ask the organization whether its own ears noticed a marginal resemblance between the two versions.

Sadly, Fox appears to have considered the question very carefully and finally got back with a mere "no comment."

Coulton told Wired:

I'm still waiting on the science. It's possible they chose to reproduce the arrangement exactly, but I'm not sure why they would have kept all my bad choices in there and not found one thing to improve. Though I will say their mix is better than my 2005 version, so that's good.

You will be stunned to hear that Coulton is also waiting on the law. He is musing as to whether he might have recourse against Fox.

He described its apparent purloining of his version as "kind of gross."

The @GleeOnFox Twitter account has stayed silent on the subject, despite being subjected to many inquiring, angry minds.

Its last tweet, sent yesterday, excitedly shrieked: ".@Rach21695 We're ready to be back this Thursday! #glee."

What a comeback.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET