April 26, 2006
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Legendary performer Mary Wilson, founding member of the Supremes, met with Members of Congress after Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Hearing on music licensing.
As a member of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and Chair of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame's Artist Advisory Board, Wilson has been working with the women elected officials who serve on the NFWL's Business & Economic Development Policy Committee to promote legislation that protects concert-goers and artists from imposter musical groups through the "Truth in Music" initiative.
Wilson will speak to Members of Congress about the importance of introducing legislation that prevents groups from using trademarks they don't own, and includes exceptions for tribute bands or in cases where at least one member of the group was a member of the original recording group and is legally entitled to the name.
"These groups are frauds in the worst sense of the word," said Wilson. "Artists struggle for years to break through and succeed. They pour their heart and soul into their music, only to find impostors stealing their art. I appreciate the work that NFWL and its women legislators are doing to protect consumers."
Legislation in support of the Truth in Music initiative has already passed in Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and North Dakota and is currently being introduced in several other states including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
Truth in Music Legislation
Ms. Wilson has been instrumental in garnering support for the Truth in Music legislation, which protects the identities and rights of artists and prohibits imposter groups from using the names and likenesses of famous acts, such as the Supremes. Ms. Wilson and other 50 and 60 artists inspired Republican Sen. Robert Schuler of Cincinnati to introduce the ‘Truth in Music’ bill after they told him how bogus musical groups were using their names. At one point, at least five groups were claiming false ties to the Supremes. With the aid of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Ohio elected officials, State Sen. Bob Robbins and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ms. Wilson played a key role in helping the grassroots movement descend on Capitol Hill.
She also has testified before legislatures in Massachusetts, California and Washington, D.C. about the need for Truth in Music laws. Ms. Wilson and the National Foundation for Women Legislators pushed to get the bill passed in Michigan, Illinois and other states. Ms. Wilson personally worked to get support for the legislation in Nevada, Missouri and Texas.
So far, the bill has passed in more than 25 states and some of the states, including Nevada, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois approved an amendment to the Truth in Advertising Act (1968) that requires groups to have either an original member or a license to use their name.