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Fighting the great pretenders

A bill to protect bands from imposters is moving swiftly through the Florida legislature as lawmakers try to prove that, sometimes, immitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery.

The proposal, nicknamed the "Doo-wop" bill by House sponsor Rep. Mike Davis, would make it a misdemeanor for imposter bands to advertise or perform in the state. It also would allow courts to impose a $5,000 civil penalty for each violation.

The bill received unanimous approval this morning from the House Economic Expansion & Infrastructure Council. And has been moving forward in the Senate as well.

Sen. Burt Saunders, a Naples Republican, is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill.

Fake '50s bands have been especially popular in Florida. In December, Miami club Pawn Shop advertised a New Year's Eve performance by a fake Frankie Goes to Hollywood. But the imposter band did not end up performing.

As Davis, R-Naples, points out, while the "Doo-Wop" bill has led to a few lighthearted committee comments, fake bands create serious consequences when the real deals lose money to imposters.

"This bill simply imposes severe penalties for people who are out there basically stealing someone's identify," he said.