CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio State Sen. Bob Schuler says he bumped into original Supreme Mary Wilson at a reception a few years back, and the Motown great lobbied him for legislation to crack down on impostor bands. The suburban Cincinnati Republican filed the bill Thursday, and it calls for Truth in Music Advertising. If adopted, his measure would allow fines of up to $15,000 if a vocal group passes itself off as legendary but is stocked with knockoff performers. Sixteen other states have already adopted similar legislation.
Schuler, R- 7, told The Daily Bellwether that Wilson described how groups are touring and performing as The Supremes, but the two surviving originals -- Diana Ross and Wilson -- aren't doing shows with those faux trios.
"Apparently, there three different groups. They go out, sing their songs, and pretend they are them."
If the state senator gets his way, they won't get a chance to croon Stop in the Name of Love, Before You Break My Heart. They'll have to stop in the name of the law. Schuler is a longtime public official and he said that bogus performers on tour should be labeled as "playing the music of" a legendary band, or somehow indicate that they are not quite original. He said the problem mostly affects groups that once were big, but whose stars have faded over the years: "Nobody is going to get confused about the Rolling Stones."
The complete text of SB 269 in here. Pennsylvania was the first state to enact Truth in Music Advertising. The laws generally say that one performer must be a member of the original recording group to use an act's name.
Supreme Wilson told the Entertainment News Wire in 2006 that impostor acts were taking money away from originals by booking gigs and earning profits. Wilson said:
"These people are defrauding the public; this is identity theft. We make our money touring, and these people are taking gigs from us. And some promoters don't care. If they can pay less for the bogus group than the original, they'll do it."
By the way, Mary Wilson doesn't perform as The Supremes. She tours as Mary Wilson of The Supremes. Motown owns the trademark for the super group.