Glee Egregiously Rips Off Jonathan Coulton

Glee Egregiously Rips Off Jonathan Coulton

Glee made its name on enthusiastic unoriginality. The hit TV show, in which high school teens sing syrupy-sweet covers of famous pop tunes, has never really relied on new musical material. But the cover arrangements on the show are often very original — smart, interesting reharmonisations and mashups that often make even the tiredest pop tunes sound fresh.

However, with one of their arrangements for next week’s episode, Glee appears to have flagrantly stolen an arrangement from geeky songwriter Jonathan Coulton.

Coulton, well-known for his now-classic video game anthem “Still Alive” from the game Portal (as well as for performing on our roof deck that one time), tweeted about the song this morning:


  • Becomes quite clear when you sync the 2 clips and it just sounds like Coulton is singing alongside with the Glee cast…..they aren’t even trying anymore with that show.

  • I hope Glee gets canceled, and every copy of every episode which has ever existed – DVD, TV, digital, hell – even people’s memories – are inexpicably wiped clean from the face of the earth. I honestly don’t think there’s ever been a TV show I’ve ever seen which I’ve hated more than I hate Glee.

  • Honestly, I’m a fan of Glee and I’m utterly ashamed of Fox at the moment. There’s nothing more inexcusable than blatent art theft.

    • Well, it’s not… exactly theft. Most of JoCo’s works are under Creative Commons… But the fact that they didn’t reach out at the very LEAST is low. REAL low.

      • The creative commons license on Coultons version is Attribution-NonCommercial. It cannot be used in a commercial work. Also, because Coulton wrote a melody where there previously was no melody, it is possible that the Sir-mix-a-lot version and Coulton’s are different enough to constitute an original work. It’s been established before and I certainly think it applies here. FOX is totally in the wrong here, it is unlawful use of the work. Especially because they’re making money off of it from itunes now.

  • Remember, folks: piracy laws only work one way. When a little rips off the big guy, it’s bad. When the big guy rips off the little guy, it’s ok.

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