California will ban “imposter” bands if the state enacts a bill that’s been dubbed the “Truth in Music Advertising Act.”
As Law.com reported today, “If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the bill into law, California would join a dozen states already barring faux groups from performing — and potentially stir up the existing hornet’s nest of legal issues surrounding trademark ownership from the Golden Oldies era. It would also raise questions about enforcement for public prosecutors, who would be authorized to punish the fakes.”
In particular, the bill would make it unlawful for “any person to advertise or conduct a live musical performance or production through the use of a false, deceptive, or misleading affiliation, connection, or association between a performing group and a recording group….” There are five proposed exceptions: (1) the performing group is the authorized registrant and owner of a federal service mark for the group; (2) at least one member of the performing group was previously a member of the recording group and has a right to use the group’s name; (3) the performance is identified in advertising as a “salute” or “tribute,” and the name of the performing group is not so closely related to that used by the recording group that it would tend to mislead the public; (4) the advertising does not relate to a live musical performance not taking place in California; and (5) the performance is authorized by the recording group.
If enacted, the bill would amend Section 17537 of the Business and Professions Code, which relates to deceptive practices.