Thursday, August 23, 2007

Will the REAL music stand up and be heard...

"Music artists work for years to build names for themselves in the entertainment industry," Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Tuesday after signing the amendments to the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law. "We should not allow others to impersonate their work and profit from that deception."

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Knockoff music acts that impersonate the real performers can face fines up to $15,000 under a new law here in New York.

"The Truth in Music Advertising Law" prohibits copycat performances that attempt to cash in through false and misleading representations like names, billings and promotions similar to the original artists’. The measure was inspired by legendary recording artists including the Platters,Coasters and Drifters, whose acts and routines have been copied without permission. The bill is the brainchild of Bronx Democratic Assemblyman Peter Rivera, who targeted the measure at acts portraying themselves as artists they had no connection to.

The law requires performing groups to have at least one member of the act they are claiming a connection to and a legal right to use that act’s name. Otherwise they must label their productions a “tribute” or “salute,” own the recording group’s service mark or have its authorization.

The legislation, both in New York and in other states, was known in legislative circles as the “Bowzer Bill.” It was named after Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of the group Sha Na Na, who chairs the Truth in Music Committee of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation. Bauman has been leading a national crusade on behalf of "original" recording artists... he met with legislators in Albany earlier this year. He says the next step is enforcement.

Attorney William Charron, representing Singer Management and Live Gold Operations, obtained a temporary restraining order Friday in a New Jersey federal court to block the attorney general from interfering with a show at the Atlantic City Hilton by their groups the Elsberry Hobbs Drifters, the Cornell Gunter Coasters and the Platters, he said. They're scheduled to return to court Sept. 7, seeking a preliminary injunction.

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