Jonathan Coulton Stole My Dead Cousin's Music!

In 1997 my cousin Ernie fancied himself quite a musician. He had obtained a used computer from his uncle, my Dad and began playing around with a piece of music software that had come with the sound card my Dad had installed.

It was the kind of software that let you arrange notes and then the computer would play a tune.  It was a very computery sound but Ernie liked it. In fact he was obsessed with it.  He called it 'coding songs' because he thought it made him sound very high tech.

What you have to understand about Ernie is that he was 34 and unemployed. He was never diasabled or retarded or anything but he could never hold down a job. So he lived with his parents and had hobbies. His parents overprotected him and encouraged his hobbies, expecting one might eventually lead to him "finding his way" as they called it.

Anyway Ernie did make lots of songs with his computer.  He would sit an old cassette recorder by the computer while it played his "code" and he would sing along and sometimes add in other instruments.  It wasn't very complicated.  He didn't even have a fancy recording machine, just an old JC Penny boom box.

He would make his albums and make several copies,draw up the artwork for the covers and then try to sell them around Moosup.  Of course the problem was not many people were using cassette players anymore.  Everybody had CDs now. 

Eventually though the folks at the Riverview Pizza place agreed to put some of his cassettes on sale at the register, although they stopped short of playing the tapes in the restaurant. I think they just felt bad for Ernie. However, low and behold a few of them sold and made it out into the world.  My cousin was never happier in his life.  He kept on making his albums.  I don't know how many different ones he made int he end.  Sometimes he would change them up with mixes of songs from different ones and give them new names.  I think that was when he was getting tired of making new songs.  He even did a Greatest Hits.

Ernie died in 2003 at the age of 40 from a disease of the liver. I miss my cousin still.  He may never have done much with his life but he was always good to me and always tried his hardest at whatever he did. His parents sold most of his things at Garage Sales to help make some money and because he had so much stuff that reminded them of him and made them sad. I kept a few of his tapes for sentimental reasons but never really listened to them much.

Then this past December, my friend Ronny started playing me some songs from a guy named Jonathan Coulton who was apparently a big hit musician on the Internet.  His songs were pretty good and I liked that he was giving them away on the Internet.  Something about the songs reminded me of Ernie.  So when I got home I started listening to some of his old tapes.


I don't know how or why, but this Jonathan Coulton has stolen my cousins songs. He changed some words around a little but they are pretty much exactly the same. Maybe he bought the tapes at the garage sale in 2003.  We thought people were buying them just to have blank tapes.  I think one guy bought a whole box of them but my Uncle can't remember what he looked like.  In any case, Jonathan Coulton is ripping off my dead cousin.  With the help of Ronny I've put up some pictures of the tapes with the song names and we were able to put one of the songs up too. It's an MP3 of the original Code Monkey as recorded by Ernie on the Ian the Ape Man album. 

From what me and Ronny can tell Jonathan Coulton isn't trying to make tons of money off my cosuin's songs, and my cousin isn't even around any more anyway.  Ernie's versions never sounded nearly as good after all. But I don't think it's right for everyone to think that Jonathan Coulton made these songs up himself and for him to get all the credit.  I want some credit for Ernie.  That's all. 

So please tell Jonathan Coulton to come to this sight, review the evidence and email us to let us know how he can make up for stealing my cousins songs.

UPDATE - Thanks to everyone who has shown support.  I don't mean anything bad for Jonathan Coulton, I just want my cousin to be remembered. Some people didn't believe that was really him singing Code Monkey so Ronny helped me make another song into an MP3 for you.  This one is called Warrior Robot Revenge and is what Jonathan Coulton seems to have changed to a song called Future Soon.

Mar 30, 2009, 9:03 PM
Mar 31, 2009, 9:48 PM