Kid Rock Sued By Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus Owners
Kid Rock is the focus of a new piece of legal action: The owners of Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the artist for his use of the trademarked phrase "The Greatest Show on Earth" without the permission of its owners, Feld Entertainment Group.
While the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was taken off the tour circuit last year, after 146 years of touring, Feld Entertainment retained all intellectual property rights pertaining to the historic show, including its famous tagline. Rock, however, is calling his 2018 trek the Greatest Show on Earth Tour. Therefore, Feld Entertainment Group is suing Rock (aka Robert James Ritchie) and Live Nation for the use of the phrase.
“This historic trademark has been an important part of Ringling Bros. for the past century, and it is recognized as a trusted and iconic brand of family-friendly entertainment," says Feld Entertainment Group chairman / CEO Kenneth Feld in a statement to Billboard. "The Greatest Show on Earth continues to live on and will do so well into the future. We have no intention of surrendering the trademark or allowing it to be tarnished."
Felt Entertainment Group says that its trademarked tagline has been licensed out to other users before, but Rock has not submitted a request. The lawsuit seeks an order that would prevent Rock from using the tagline as a tour name or selling merchandise with the catchphrase; according to Feld, all efforts to contact Rock and Live Nation in regards to the lawsuit have been ignored.
“We have authorized licensees for 'Ringling Bros.' and 'The Greatest Show on Earth,' but Kid Rock is not one of them,” says Lisa Joiner, general counsel of Feld Entertainment Group. “Feld Entertainment was not contacted by Kid Rock (or anybody else on his behalf) regarding his use of Feld Entertainment’s trademark.”
This lawsuit won't be Rock's first go-round with legal action in recent months. In September, a political watchdog group filed an official complaint about the musician's rumored senate run, as he had failed to register as a candidate. Rock was also sued by a fellow artist in 2004 for copyright infringement due to a portion of his song "Somebody's Gotta Feel This;" he won the lawsuit in 2007.
Rock's Greatest Show on Earth Tour is scheduled to begin in Nashville on Jan. 19.
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