Jacko joins fight for artists' rights

LOS ANGELES: Michael Jackson jumped into the fray over artists' rights last week by becoming the first member in a new coalition formed with activist Al Sharpton and Johnnie Cochran Jr.

LOS ANGELES: Michael Jackson jumped into the fray over artists' rights last week by becoming the first member in a new coalition formed with activist Al Sharpton and Johnnie Cochran Jr.

The high-profile trio announced the formation of a new coalition, which will work with the Recording Artists Coalition, at a New York City press conference on June 5, promising to investigate the financial fairness of record companies' contracts with recording artists.

"Record companies have to start treating their artists with respect, honor, and financial justice, Jackson said in a statement. "Therefore, I am proud to join this coalition that represents all artists."

The group will function as part of Sharpton's civil liberties organization, National Action Network.

Sharpton said that the coalition will hold a rally in the next few weeks to raise awareness of the issue, and introduce new members. The group will also seek meetings with recording executives at music conglomerates such as Sony - where Jackson is currently in a contract dispute - AOL Time Warner, BMG, and Vivendi Universal.

Sharpton also told the BBC that NAN may try to enlist radio stations to boycott airplay of material from companies that the coalition feels are unfair to artists.

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