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Doo-Wop Fraud

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette brings word today of the emergence of a national crusade to stop the misleading use of names of old doo-wop vocal groups by imposters. Believe it or not, consumers around the country are being duped into believing that the Platters, Drifters, and Coasters are, in fact, ageless and timeless.

The Pennsylvania legislature is the first stop on the tour, which is being organized by the “Truth in Music Committee” of the “Vocal Group Hall of Fame,” located in bustling Sharon, PA. (That’s not a knock on Sharon, PA. I have friends from Sharon, PA, and they like it very much, thank you.)

The news prompts two more thoughts:

First, if we really are going to start legislating fines for groups that impersonate their “authentic” forebears, why stop with music? Fans of professional sports teams can start lining up soon for a crack at this stuff. How about political parties? Churches?

Second, if there is a group running around calling itself the “Truth in Music Committee,” there are any number of working musicians and fans out there who have real worries to dump in your lap. Otherwise, I like to think that most people are bright enough to know an original member of Sha Na Na when they see one, and to know better, when they don’t.

3 thoughts on “Doo-Wop Fraud”

  1. It reminds me of my visit last year to Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley. Scotty’s Castle is a multi-million dollar mansion built starting in the 1920s in the middle of nowhere. NPS wants to faithfully recreate a historical version of the castle…but what is the appropriate period to target? The castle was under construction for over a decade and was constantly reconfigured, so there’s not a single historical version of Scotty’s Castle to recreate. Eric.

  2. There was a similar problem, detailed in SPIN magazine a few years ago. There was a faux version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood touring the county fair circuit in states like Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi for a year or two before any of the original members could file a cease and desist order from the UK. It was complicated, since one of the original members of FG2H had died or was near death.

    Fat guys with beards and mullets were illegally standing in for wispy-thin guys with slicked back 80s hair, and they got away with it!

  3. Pingback: Dept of Things Going From Bad to Worse at a weblog about law, technology, and society

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