Imposter Bill Heads To Michigan

The nationwide campaign to convince states to adopt legislation to halt imposter groups from deceiving fans visited Michigan’s Senate Judiciary Court June 6th.

The Truth In Music bill is designed to stop touring groups from using names of famous recording acts unless they meet certain criteria, such as having at least one member of the original band. The band names most often cited by critics are The Drifters, The Coasters and The Platters.

The bill has already passed in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois.

In Michigan, the bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Martha Scott. It was scheduled for a hearing June 6th in the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee.

The issue was brought to Scott’s attention by former Supremes member Mary Wilson. Another leading advocate of the bill is Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, formerly of Sha Na Na.

“These phony groups are pretty astute about it,” Bauman told Pollstar earlier this year. “They’ll put one old guy up there, and [fans] say, ‘Oh, that must be the real one.”

Some of the touring acts might feel they have a legitimate right to use names, but critics such as Bauman disagree. The Michigan bill would specify conditions.

Wilson previously told Pollstar the bill isn’t aimed at legitimate tribute bands, as long as they advertise and promote gigs as such. Trademark holders of band monikers would also be exempt.

“If you’re a tribute band, then that’s what you have to say,” Wilson said. “We would be fine with that. We’re not trying to stop them from working; we’re trying to stop them from using our history.”