"jonathan coulton"

Geeky tornado relief fundraisers

Alan sez, "Two items here on the same theme: Ruben Bolling, comic author of Tom The Dancing Bug, contributor to JoCo Funnies, etc. has a raffle posted on his blog. If you donate to the American National Red Cross through a page he has set up, you will be entered into a drawing for a personal comic from Bolling;

Greg Pak, creator of the 'Code Monkey Save World' visuals and co-conspirator in the recent Kickstarter with Jonathan Coulton is offering free CMSW stickers to people who make a donation to any recognized organization helping tornado victims." Read the rest

The Princess Can Save Herself, Thank You

The Princess Who Saved Herself [MP3]

The "Code Monkey Saves World" project is about to stretch itself into the world of kickass princesses. Troubadour Jonathan Coulton and filmmaker and comics writer Greg Pak teamed up a few weeks ago to launch a crowdfunding effort to raise $39,000 to create a series of comic books based on the villains and other characters from Coulton's songs. On their way to blow past $200,000 in pledges, the dynamic duo added more pages to the future comics, promised JoCo would record an album of newly recorded acoustic versions of the songs referenced in the comics, and provided other rewards, most of which existing backers get added without having to increase their pledge.

Pak and Coulton have at least one more rabbit to pull out of their jointly worn hat: a children's book created from "The Princess Who Saved Herself," the title of which explains the song. Read the rest

How Ophira Eisenberg slept her way to monogamy

Photo: Matt Bresler

Whatever you do, don't call Ophira Eisenberg a comedienne. That's an outdated, patronizing term from an era when men patted women on the head (or, unsolicited, on the ass) and called Amelia Earhart an aviatrix.

If only her fiancé, now husband, had known that before he compiled a spreadsheet of every woman he had slept with before meeting Eisenberg, a list she discovered by accident and couldn't resist examining, and which listed her as the latest entry with the unfortunate label comedienne in the cell next to her name. She was furious. But Jonathan is a remarkable man, and, in one of the best parts of her new memoir, manages to explain himself credibly. (Spoiler: She marries him.)

Eisenberg is a professional comedian, thank you very much. She tours, she hosts the NPR quiz show Ask Me Another (with the Internet's Jonathan Coulton as the regular musical sidekick), and recently came out with a memoir: Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy. You can hear a half-hour conversation she and I had about the book, her life, and her husband's beautiful, piercing eyes in the podcast in this post.

It's a Bildungsroman, like many memoirs, dealing largely with the period from when she came of age and sexual maturity as a teenager through moves from her hometown of Calgary to Toronto and then New York, and her shift from IT support to full-time funny lady. Read the rest

Greg Pak and Jonathan Coulton Kickstart Everything

Jonathan Coulton and Greg Pak launch a crowdfunding campaign to create a series of comic books based on characters from Coulton's songs

Vinyl Vault lights fuse on copyright time bomb—but is it armed?

Amoeba Records' new out-of-print music service proves a deep knowledge of the industry it cherishes. But the much-loved music store's archive of obscure classics is also a potential time bomb, ticking away inside a bizarre legal tangle that few in the business are inclined to unravel.

Copyright, plagiarism and the Internet

My latest Guardian column is "Internet copyright law has to have public support if it's going to work," and it goes into the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism, and tries to understand why so many people got upset at Glee's legal ripoff of a Jonathan Coulton song:

Copyright experts were quick to explain that Fox's plagiarism was legal – the same rules that allowed Coulton to record his cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's original "Baby Got Back" also allow Fox to produce a sound-alike version. But it's shoddy, because it is, at heart, a lie.

(Coulton got his own back on Fox: he rereleased his own "Baby Got Back" and billed it as a cover of the Glee version, with proceeds to charity – it climbed the iTunes chart while the Fox version was clobbered by angry Coulton fans who gave it one-star reviews)

Why does Fox's sin stick in the internet's craw? I think it's because Fox hasn't just wronged Coulton: they've wronged the public. We have been misled about the origin of a product we're being asked to purchase.

This is different from, say, a fake designer handbag that's offered as a cheap knockoff, where there's no intent to fool the purchaser, who understands that a 99% discount on a Vuitton bag means that it's really a "Vuitton" bag.

This kind of plagiarism is more like selling horsemeat labelled as beef burgers. Horsemeat can be perfectly harmless, and many people happily eat it, but when you buy beef burgers, you expect that you're getting what you paid for.

Read the rest

Jonathan Coulton responds to Fox/Glee's plagiarism of his song by "covering" it and making rival version available for sale

You'll have heard that Jonathan Coulton's iconic cover of Baby's Got Back was plagiarised by the Fox TV show "Glee" (it's not the first time). Coulton's story has been widely reported, but Fox/Glee have remained shameless about this.

Coulton's got a brilliant solution to this: he's released a "cover" of Glee's plagiarized version of his song, put it on Itunes as a rival to the official Fox version, and has announced that the proceeds will go to charity.

Jonathan Coulton ‘Covers’ Glee’s Ripoff of ‘Baby Got Back,’ Puts It on iTunes, Proceeds Go to Charity

(Thanks, Larry!) Read the rest

More plagiarism from Glee

Last weekend, I blogged about Jonathan Coulton's discovery that the TV show Glee had plagiarized his arrangement for "Baby's Got Back."

Now, the magnificent DJ Earworm writes, "This is my call-out tweet from last February, expressing surprise at the similarities between Glee's arrangement and my own which had aired just a few months previously. I didn't think much about it, but I read that Jonathan Coulton story, and it seemed so similar to my own experience, I thought I'd share."

@AfroBlueDC sang MY mashup on NBC last Nov. … Now I find out @GLEEonFOX aired/sells SAME combo?!

(Thanks, DJ Earworm) Read the rest

Jonathan Coulton: Glee plagiarized my arrangement of "Baby Got Back"

Jonathan Coulton has publicly shamed Fox for plagiarizing his arrangement for "Baby's Got Back" on its TV show "Glee":

Writing on Techdirt, Mike Masnick has a good, nuanced view of how this kind of thing works:

Yes, his is a cover song, but he introduced some variations that appear to be directly copied in Glee. Is there a potential copyright claim here? Well, that depends -- and the copyright law here is complex. You can cover a song by paying compulsory license fees, and Fox likely did that to whoever holds the copyright on the original. But they copied specific changes (and possibly the music) that Coulton added, which, could potentially be covered by his own copyright (of course, whether or not he registered them could also impact what he could do about it). And, let's not even get into the issue of things like sync licenses for video, and the (still open) question of whether or not Glee actually used part of Coulton's own recording.

In the end, though, almost none of that probably matters. Because Coulton seems unlikely (we hope) to go legal here. Instead, he's just going with the public shame route -- with a simple tweet about the situation, which has set off "the internet" to help him make his case and embarrass Fox and Glee.

Jonathan Coulton Publicly Shames Fox For Copying His Arrangement In Glee Read the rest

Gweek 070: John Hodgman returns

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My co-hosts for this episode:

Glenn Fleishman. Glenn is a long-time tech reporter, a hacky perl programmer, and one of the writers of the Economist’s Babbage blog on technology and culture.

Kevin Mack. Kevin is a visual effects supervisor, an artist, and the true son of Tinkerbell. (Here's a video profile of Kevin and me.)

John Hodgman. Among other things, John’s the resident expert on The Daily Show and the judge on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast. The third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge -- called That Is All -- comes out in paperback and audiobook today. John and Jonathan Coulton are performing together Boston and Northampton on November 2nd and 3rd. Learn more about the events here.

In this episode, we talked about:

That is All. John Hodgman brings us the third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge. The paperback is loaded with new material!

Skype is owned by Microsoft now, and the latest version stinks. Glenn: "Microsoft reengineered its security infrastructure to make it easier to tap Skype calls. I maintain and others maintain, and that process caused worse phone connections."

Postsingular, by Rudy Rucker.

Glenn: "Jo Walton’s Among Others just won Hugo. Terrific novel. Also recently read her Small Change trilogy (from 2006, 2007, and 2008)"

John recommends Reamde, by Neal Stephenson: "A thriller of international espionage but it puts the cliches of international espionage thrillers so far behind it." Read the rest

Humble Music Bundle does for music what Humble has done for games -- DRM-free, pay-what-you-like, awesome

The wonderful folks at Humble Bundle -- who produce pay-what-you-like bundles of DRM-free media, inviting customers to apportion some or all of their payments to charity -- have expanded from games bundles into music. The just-launched Humble Music Bundle includes work from They Might Be Giants, OK Go, MC Frontalot, Christopher Tin, Jonathan Coulton, and Hitoshi Sakimoto. It's DRM-free, it's pay-what-you-like, and it's amazing music, too.

Humble Music Bundle

(Disclosure: I am the volunteer curator of a forthcoming Humble Ebook Bundle) Read the rest

Rebuttals to David Lowery's indictment of "free culture" and its alleged murder of musicians

The Internet has been abuzz with Emily White, a intern at NPR, and her article about how she has never bought music and probably never will. and the response from David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. Lowery's response is a powerful piece of writing, and contains some valuable insights into what the old music industry did well, but it's also a mess. He has some weird conspiracy theory that the "free culture" movement is funded by large tech companies as a stalking horse for their issues. Speaking as someone who's raised a fair bit of money for that movement, I'm here to tell you that he's just wrong. For example, most of my wages when I was at the Electronic Frontier Foundation were funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He also blames the tragic suicides of two musicians on the free culture movement and the alleged effect this has had on musicians' fortunes. Even if you stipulate that the fall in those musicians' fortunes could be blamed on the "free culture" movement (a pretty weird idea in itself), this would logically put the blame for all musicians' suicides prior to the Internet's disruption of the music industry on the shoulders of the major labels.

I thought Lowery's piece was so badly flawed, with its conspiracy theories and sloppy appeals to emotion, that it didn't warrant a response. But others didn't feel the same way. Techdirt's Mike Masnick has posted a guided tour of the best rebuttals, including Jeff Price from Tunecore on the real data on musicians' income in the Internet age; Steve Albini on the false picture Lowery paints of a golden age of the labels that never existed; Jonathan Coulton on the perversity of mourning for a loss of scarcity; former Warner Music CTO Ethan Kaplan on how the labels cut their own throats by fighting innovation; Travis Morrison from Dismemberment Plan on how access to music and compensation for artists are separate issues. Read the rest

J. Coulton and J. Scalzi talk science fiction and music every day for two weeks

A new, two-week long daily podcast called Journey to Planet JoCo consists of a series of dialogues between John Scalzi and Jonathan Coulton -- like my two favorite flavors of ice-cream in one delicious cone!

Welcome to Journey to Planet JoCo, an interview series where science fiction and sometimes fantasy author John Scalzi talks to musician Jonathan Coulton about science fiction and science fiction songs.

Every morning at 9 AM, for the next two weeks, John will talk to Jonathan about one of JoCo’s songs, getting in-depth — and possibly out of his depth — about the inspiration and construction behind them. Which ones? You’ll have to come back every morning to see!

There’s more, but we’ll let John and Jonathan themselves further introduce the concept, the details, and the sparkly prize at the bottom of this particular cereal box.

Announcing Journey to Planet JoCo! Read the rest

Filthy Jonathan Coulton song interpreted in sign

CaptainValor gives Jonathan Coulton's delightfully filthy "First of May" song an enthusiastic American sign language interpretation with two backup signers. This is the gesture-set that JoCo's material truly demands.

Jonathan Coulton - First of May - ASL Song

(via Beth Pratt) Read the rest

Fan video for Jonathan Coulton's "Down Today" made from public domain ballooning footage

Craig sez, "This is a music video I've edited for the song 'Down Today' by Jonathan Coulton (from his 2011 album, 'Artificial Heart,' produced by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants) using footage from public domain films mostly found on Archive.org. 'No! No! A Thousand Times No!! - a 1935 Fleischer Studio animated short film, starring Betty Boop, 'Voyage à Travers l'Impossible' (The Impossible Voyage) (1904) directed by Georges Méliès, 'Le Voyage Dans la Lune' (A Trip to the Moon) (1902) directed by Georges Méliès, 'Le Dirigeable Fantastique ou le Cauchemar d'un Inventeur' (The Inventor Crazybrains and his Wonderful Airship) (1905) directed by Georges Méliès, L.T.A. History of Balloons (1944). More music videos I've edited for songs from Jonathan Coulton's excellent 'Artificial Heart' album. Stream or buy the album 'Artificial Heart' at Jonathan Coulton's website.

Jonathan Coulton - "Down Today" unofficial music video (Thanks, Craig!) Read the rest

Gweek 036: Grab bag of comics, book, gadgets, apps, and websites we love

Gweek is a weekly podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My hosts on episode 36 are cartoonist Ruben Bolling, whose comic, Tom the Dancing Bug, premieres weekly on Boing Boing, and Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s coding and development wizard. We had a great time talking about a bunch of different stuff this time. Listen to the episode here.

Below is a list of the things we talked about in Gweek episode 36. (Sure, you could just click on the links below to learn about them without listening to the podcast, but then you will miss out on the scintillating conversation we had about these remarkable curios.)

If you enjoy Gweek, please rate it in the iTunes Store -- thanks!

Tom the Dancing Bug

Jonathan Coulton

Doc Fermento Discovers the World podcast

The Bulletproof Executive

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!, by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture: A Career Retrospective

The Adventures of Tintin

Crudbump: Real Art

Toothpaste for Dinner

Young Adult

Big Blog of Kids’ Comics!

Hey Skinny! Great Advertisements from the Golden Age of Comic Books

Nothing to Do With Arbroath


Boing Boing’s B-Side


Weider Adjustable Kettle Bell

We'd like to give a special thanks to EdgeCast Networks, our bandwidth provider and sponsor! Read the rest

They Might Be Giants construct enormous papercraft monster-truck hearse. Jonathan Coulton implicated.

In this video announcing They Might Be Giants' next tour, the lads construct a gigantic pink monster truck hearse. And sing a fine song!

They Might Be Giants are going on tour across the United States starting January 27th in Santa Cruz. Jonathan Coulton opens. Full ticket info below! The song is When Will You Die? from TMBGs album Join Us, and this video was created by The Offices of Paul Sahre.

Here's instructions for making your own pink monster-truck papercraft hearse.

When Will You Die? - They Might Be Giants (US tour announcement video) Read the rest

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