Are tribute bands illegal?

Frank Godiva

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According the the drum lawyer they are

“From a legal standpoint, any band can cover a song during a live performance, as a result of blanket licenses obtained and paid for by venue owners to performance rights organizations (PROs) such as SOCAN in Canada and ASCAP or BMI in the United States. In theory, every time a song is covered in a live performance, the original writers of that song get paid. So you can cover any song or series of songs you like onstage, and the venues and PROs will sort out who should be compensated.

With tribute acts, however, more is at stake. Not only are the tribute acts performing the songs of the original act, they are trading off the name, brand, images and reputation of the original act. In the legal world we call this personality rights or the “right of publicity”.

 

Tornado

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According to him:

However, the current legislation in this area fails to adequately address the issue, and as such, a grey area has been created that has been left to the courts to decide

That's kind of the deal with music law these days... Calling something legal or illegal almost doesn't make sense, especially since this is all civil stuff. It's really about what you can convince a judge or jury of.
 

swarfrat

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This smells like the wedding photographer "I took this beautiful photo of some couple saying their vows at El Capitan against a sunset. Can you spread this on social media and help me find them. BTW I do wedding photography and here's my business card"

Ie throw some click bait out and get my name in front of clients talking on internet
 

langmick

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Brit Floyd tours with the full knowledge of the Floyd corp, they are the biggest and most visible.

I guess some lawyers are trolling for dollars. F them.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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Not only are the tribute acts performing the songs of the original act, they are trading off the name, brand, images and reputation of the original act. In the legal world we call this personality rights or the “right of publicity”.
Genesis tribute act The Musical Box makes a point of declaring "Exclusively licensed by Peter Gabriel and Genesis." But then, they do get a nice review or two.

"The Musical Box recreated, very accurately I must say, what Genesis was doing. I saw them in Bristol with my children so they could see what their father did back then" - Peter Gabriel

"I cannot imagine that you could have a better tribute for any act. They not only manage to sound, but look virtually identical. It seems as though nothing is too difficult for them" - Steve Hackett

"It was better than the real thing actually. It was great, that was fantastic." - Mike Rutherford

"The guy who does Peter Gabriel is brilliant" - Tony Banks

"
They're not a tribute band, they have taken a period and are faithfully reproducing it in the same way that someone would do a theatrical production" - Phil Collins
 

Vistalite Black

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A quick Google search revealed several tribute acts facing legal heat from, among others, Pearl Jam, Tina Turner and Zeppelin (which left an all-female tribute act facing a $40,000 judgement).

 

swarfrat

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The others might be cases of tribute bands being sued, but the link is just band/management infighting ho hum.
 

KevinD

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A quick Google search revealed several tribute acts facing legal heat from, among others, Pearl Jam, Tina Turner and Zeppelin (which left an all-female tribute act facing a $40,000 judgement).


Wow... you would figure someone as smart as a lawyer would want to keep something like that on the down-low, someone might want to sue him for that egregious malfeasance.

"Bonfante — a lawyer who brags at length in his suit about drumming on tour for Michael Bolton and in the second-tier ’80s glam-metal band Saraya.."
 
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DanRH

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It’s sad that we’re even addressing this. The corporation’s that own the Zeppelin’s, Pink Floyd, etc… are losing sooo much money that they’re going after the bands that are honoring their beloved bands. For the vast majority of us who do just this, are not getting rich… jeesh
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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A quick Google search revealed several tribute acts facing legal heat from, among others, Pearl Jam, Tina Turner and Zeppelin (which left an all-female tribute act facing a $40,000 judgement).


Meh.

1. "Several". A tiny fraction of the amount of Tribute acts out there.
2. It seems you're referring to lawsuits in the US, home of the frivolous lawsuit, where the vast majority don't go anywhere.

It's like saying - you can be struck by lighting if you go outside - beware! Yes, it's technically a possibility, but highly unlikely. Live your lives.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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Are or should? They should be illegal. Make and play your own music.
Though this doesn't further the conversation, and my own post makes a point as to a raison d'etre for cover bands, I'm tired of reuse/recycle in entertainment generally.

I don't begrudge artists needing to make livings, and I understand all art developing out of what came before. I also know we've hashed this one to death. But in alignment with MKelley, I'm sorry for us as a culture when producers, writers and artists decide their only financially viable product comes out of the buying public (that's us) telling them we only feel safe and happy buying the same reconstituted sequels, remakes, and covers.

I would much more easily pay the artist who knows how to answer, "What original thing are you creating today that comes from inside you personally?"
 
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JDA

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I have to say some of the names they come up with....are fantastic.
 

Cauldronics

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If you see a pair of dudes standing in the back of your next dive bar gig, dressed as Jake and Elwood, hiding behind dark sunglasses… that would the CIA uniform adopted in 1984 for a special task force to take out criminal cover band cartels in your local area.

They blend right in so look out.
 


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