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Teen 'Read It' video incites rights debate

Sony recants position & allows teens to post "Beat It" parody.

By Britt Olson MSN Living Editor Nov 29, 2012 5:03PM

Mashups and sampling have become staple techniques of the music industry. But when it comes to toying with the property of the Jackson estate, even the best intentions can’t escape the litigious reach of the acrimonious clan.

Several high school students who frequent the Lansdowne Public Library in Pennsylvania discovered this on Nov. 19. Sony-ATV Records temporarily obstructed the posting of their amateur video promoting teen literacy because it featured music similar to Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It.”

Video still from ‘Read It’ (lansdownepublic via YouTube, (http://aka.ms/lansdownepublic)Teen readers from the Lansdowne borough of Philadelphia altered the singer’s famous chart topper into what they considered a parody titled “Read It.” The students wrote their own lyrics and recorded the song on Garage Band. Sony-ATV, which co-owns the track with the pop singer’s estate, deemed the “Read It” video a violation on the grounds that it conveyed a “message.”

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Lansdowne Public Library staff and patrons contested Sony’s decision, even producing another video, “Just Un-Ban It.” On Monday evening, Sony-ATV altered its position, granting the video "an exception."

Bing: Watch the "Read It" video and compare to Michael Jackson's video for "Beat It."

"As long as it's on YouTube, we don't have an issue," says Sandra Giannella the library's director. "When you [search for] "Beat It" thousands of parodies, some very senseless and tasteless, surface. It's unclear why we were singled out."

The video features teens crawling out of a book drop and a duel between digital and traditional books.

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While it is highly unlikely that the Lansdowne teens’ video could injure Jackson’s legacy in any way, the video is certainly getting more attention than it would have without the legal debate it issued.

Business execs seem to always “wanna be startin’ somethin’.”

Video still from ‘Read It’ (lansdownepublic via YouTube, (http://aka.ms/lansdownepublic)

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Nov 30, 2012 9:01PM
The only problem are the people who say this video is a problem, they are the real problem
Nov 30, 2012 8:52PM
Michael Jackson would have loved it!
Nov 30, 2012 8:20PM
Typical Sony.  I don't buy anything with there name on it.
Nov 30, 2012 8:00PM
I think Michael would be proud that his song is being used for a good cause. I bet Paris will give them permission to continue to use it. She has a better grasp on it's  proper use than the adult's that are starting this problem.
Nov 30, 2012 7:58PM
A dumb citizenry is an easily governable citizenry.  So, keep voting for Republicans and assist those who govern in reducing 99% of us to droids who do nothing but take orders.
Nov 30, 2012 7:49PM
Sony. Could you be anymore money grubbing.
Nov 30, 2012 7:34PM

Wow!  I thought they did a fantastic job!   Sony: Such a horrible message that they are sending - read it!   But then again, if children start reading more, that will cut into Sony's profits.

Nov 30, 2012 7:33PM
Sony, go figure.. The kind folks who bought the CDDB service and now made it an industry standard not compatible with other open source CDDB software..

America, you want your kids to learn how to read? Get off of you butts and do it yourself.
Be responsible parents and MAKE TIME for your young ones.

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