posted by Elizabeth Daigneau
Connecticut legislators are in the midst of debating a "truth in music" law. According to NPR, the law seeks to prevent musicians from performing under famous band names--such as the Platters, Coasters, Drifters or Supremes--unless they have at least one member from the original group.
The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania says hundreds of bands tour the country using old groups' names. There are currently over 80 bands performing in the U.S. and Europe under the name "Platters." (If the name doesn't ring a bell, the song will: "Only You (And You Alone).") And that's the problem. Once pushed out of business by the British Invasion, the sound of the 1950s is back in vogue and hundreds of bands are capitalizing on it.
Three states already have "truth in music" legislation on the books. If Connecticut joins them, attorneys general in those states can seek injunctions to block performances by imposter bands. (Tribute bands are exempted, phew!) In most states, enforcing rights of publicity and trademark is left to an individual from the original band. Under the new laws, local officials can independently search out offenders and the venues that promote them, and stop them.
At least ten other states are considering similar legislation, so if you're trying to pass "Yakety-Yak (Don't Talk Back)" off as your own, you better find an original Coaster fast!