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Circus Owners Sue Kid Rock for Naming His Tour the “Greatest Show on Earth”

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Kid Rock visits FOX's "America Live" at FOX Studios on June 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Feld Entertainment, the live show production company that owns the now defunct Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has sued rap-rocker Kid Rock for naming his upcoming arena tour the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Feld owns the trademark for the circus’ long-running tagline, and claims Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, is infringing on and diluting the meaning of the phrase. The suit aims to block the “Bawitdaba” singer from using the moniker to promote shows or sell merchandise.

“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,” Feld CEO and Chairman Kenneth Feld said 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.”

Feld is suing both Ritchie and Live Nation, which is producing the tour. Billboard reports that Feld attorneys contacted both parties to resolve the dispute but were ignored. While Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed after 146 years in January, Feld still owns the intellectual property. The company produces major touring shows including Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, and Monster Jam—the last of which Feld acquired from Live Nation. Feld also uses Live Nation’s ticketing platform Ticketmaster, and frequently tours at Live Nation-owned facilities.

Rock’s tour, supporting his 11th studio album Sweet Country Sugar, begins on January 19. Fans may remember the artist promoting it on The Howard Stern Show after confirming that his alleged Senate run was a hoax. At time of posting, Rock’s Twitter header features the words “Greatest Show on Earth. His online store currently includes t-shirts that read “God Guns and Trump” and “Let’s Get Shit Faced,” but nothing bearing Barnum & Bailey’s famous nickname. Rock’s label BBR Music has not responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but we will update if we hear back.

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