No Fake Rock Here!

What are Austin's legislators doing to keep music authentic (in a legally binding way)?

It's always nice to see bipartisanship in the Lege, but what issue has managed to pass the House with a 139-0 vote and is now steaming its way through the Senate? Children's Health Insurance Program funding? DNA testing for everyone on death row?

No! It's fake bands!

House Bill 54 would make it a civil offense, with a minimum $5,000 fine, for a promoter to say a band will be at a gig when they know they won't or knowingly book a band that is fraudulently using another band's name. Co-sponsored by our own protectors of the rock Reps. Dawnna Dukes and Mark Strama, D-Austin (along with seven other reps prepared to rock the house), the bill analysis rather bitterly says that "currently, there are many bands that tour across the country claiming to be musical groups such as the Platters, the Drifters or other groups from the 1950s and '60s when in fact they do not have any ties to the original artists."

It's pretty lenient on the definition of a real band (must have at least one actual band member with the rights to use the name), so you might still get stuck with a Brian Wilson-free Beach Boys, but then again, you'd never endure Moby Grape fronted by the band's drum tech's sister's dry cleaner.

After its mammoth yay vote in the house on April 5, it will probably find a lot of friends in Senate, since there's already two bills identical to it in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee - Senate Bill 253 by Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and SB 219 by Bob Deuell, R-Mesquite. That'll teach them darned fake Drifters.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

State Government, Legislature, Music, Dawnna Dukes, Mark Strama, Fake bands, Fraud

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