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Last updated 4:32AM ET
March 8, 2021
Alabama Legislature May Silence Impostor Performers
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - State Sen. Bobby Denton, who hit the record charts 50 years ago, and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, the comedic vocalist from Sha Na Na, are singing the same song, politically speaking.

Denton of Muscle Shoals is sponsoring and Bauman is promoting a bill in the Alabama Legislature that would silence impostor performing groups. To Denton and Bauman, the fake singing groups are committing a musical form of identity theft.

Most often, they use the names of vocal groups from the 1950s and 60s, but these impostors have no original members in the group and no legal title to the name. To get bookings, they charge a cheaper fee than the original performers.

Bauman says audiences are being taken while the real artists sit home wanting to work as a result of this sophisticated form of identity theft.

When not touring, Bauman leads a drive by the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa., to try to get every state to pass a "truth in music advertising" law to crack down on impostor groups.

So far, 18 states have passed laws, including Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Denton got a bill approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, and it is now awaiting a vote by the Senate.

Like impostor laws already on the books, Denton's legislation prohibits the use of a group's name unless the performers have the registered trademark on the name or there is at least one original member in the group who has legal rights to the name.

The legislation authorizes the attorney general and county district attorneys to enforce the restriction and it provides for penalties ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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