Senator Robbins' "Truth in Musical Advertising Act" Signed Into Law
Harrisburg – Senator Bob Robbins (R-50) is pleased to announce that legislation he authored, Senate Bill 929, also known as the "Truth in Musical Advertising Act," has been signed into law.
Through his involvement with the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (located in Mercer County) and many of the legendary musical groups affiliated with the Hall, it was brought to Robbins attention that there are a large number of acts touring Pennsylvania and the country calling themselves the Coasters, Drifters, Platters, etc. Many of these groups have no connection or affiliation with the original group. In essence, these "knock-off" groups are committing identity theft by profiting from the names of famous groups while committing consumer fraud at the expense of concert goers.
One example of this was the so-called "Elsbeary Hobbs Drifters" performing at the York Fair in 2003. This led Charlie Thomas, best known for singing "Under the Boardwalk" with the Drifters, to protest their performance. Mr. Thomas was upset as Mr. Hobbs died in 1996 and this group did not legally hold the trademark to the Drifters' name.
"Mr. Thomas, like a lot of artists of his generation, do not have the funds to fight these bogus groups through the legal system," said Robbins. "As a consumer, when I pay top dollar to see a concert, I expect to see the real thing, not impersonators. My legislation gives the original artists, as well as consumers, a remedy through the Attorney General's Office to help fight against this type of fraud."
As its name implies, the "Truth in Musical Advertising Act" simply makes it unlawful to advertise or conduct a live musical performance through the use of a false, deceptive or misleading affiliation, connection or association between a performing group and a recording group. Several exceptions apply, such as those that hold the trademark to the name or for those tribute groups that advertise themselves as tributes. Violations range from $5,000 to $15,000, as well as restitution.
"I would like to thank Governor Rendell for recognizing the importance of this issue and signing this bill into law," said Robbins. "The fact that the bill was unanimously passed in both the Senate and House sends a strong message that Pennsylvania will not condone this type of consumer fraud."
Artists such as Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, formerly of "Sha Na Na," Joe Terry and Frank Maffei of "Danny and the Juniors," Mary Wilson, formerly of the "Supremes," and other legendary artists are now promoting similar legislation across the United States.
(717) 787-1322 http://robbins.pasenategop.com/2006-press/022206.htm