Trademark Laws Tested by Musical Copycats
According to an article on Stateline.org, states have begun cracking down on copycat musical performers who steal music from the original artists and deceive fans.
New laws have been passed in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Illinois, and Connecticut requiring peforming groups include at least one original member in order to advertise or perform
under the group’s name.
Traditionally, trademark law protects words, symbols, or phrases used in the identification of goods. Recording groups fall into a gray area because the product is the performing group, which changes as group members come and go.
Many new laws in this area are based on Pennsylvania’s Truth in Music Advertising Act, which prohibits groups from advertising or performing under false or misleading connections to other groups. Violators could face civil penalties from $5,000.00 to $15,000.00 in addition to restitution requirements.
Florida, California, Missouri, Nevada, and Ohio are working to introduce similar bills, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame is pushing for similar federal laws.