Another US state legislates for ‘the real thing’

August 2007


‘impostor’ bands who have no connection with original heritage bands now face $5,000 fines each time they pretend to be The Coasters, The Drifters or some other band they’re not. Florida is the latest state to draft the law, which has been pushed by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, former frontman for ’60s rock revivalists Sha Na Na. Bauman who has been lobbying states for laws to prevent phonies and fakers from passing themselves off as authentic members of groups. Ten other states already have enacted the law. These fake bands mislead fans and steal income and glory from surviving members of legitimate bands, he said. “It’s heartbreaking for the people who made this music to be suffering this indignity at this point in their life when they should be recognized as pioneers.” Under the Florida law, musicians must meet strict criteria if they’re going to advertise or take the stage using the name of a famous band. The group must have at least one member from the original group and be legally entitled to that name. The law lets bands use names they already have trademarks for — even if they aren’t the original members — and it still lets tribute bands perform, as long as it’s clear that’s what they are.

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