The television show “Glee” has apparently used an independent artist’s music in one of its episodes without paying him, or even giving him credit. Jonathan Coulton made a cover of a song called “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot, paying for a statutory license to distribute his version. Fox, which owns Glee, claims to be within its legal rights to use their cover of his cover with no obligation to him. They did not offer to pay him, nor to credit him in any way, nor even to apologize, saying this is their standard operating procedure. They say he should be happy to get the exposure, even though they didn’t actually give him any. He has no copyright claim, but is investigating whether Glee used some of his actual audio in its cover, which is not allowed without at least putting his name in the credits.
In the meantime, Coulton has done a cover of Glee’s cover of his cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song and put it on iTunes. The proceeds will go to charity.
I’ve never seen Glee but I hear it’s a good show, with themes about fairness and doing the right thing. That might be so, but the corporation behind it sure seems to be swinish.