House Judiciary committee reviews use of band names

February 2005


The United States House Judiciary Committee has reviewed legislation that would prohibit groups from using the name of a well-known band, unless the group has one of the band’s original members. Representative Dwight Wrangham (R-Bismarck) is sponsoring the bill. It says performers may do “tribute” concerts, but only if advertising makes it clear that the group doesn’t have any original members. Evidence before the Committee included the example of ‘the Platters’ where a number of groups bill themselves as The Platters, a doo-wop act that had a number of hits in the 1950s and 1960s. Several of the groups have little or no connection to The Platters, which were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. The Committee further heard that many group names are owned by someone who was never in the group. That person may sell the rights to the name to other performers. The Committee heard that “There has been a lot of misinformation, and this is an attempt to correct that,” he said. Representative Andrew Maragos (R-Minot) said the bill wouldn’t affect such groups. “If they have the legal right to use the name ‘The Platters,’ then they are not purporting to be anything they are not,” Maragos said.


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