Jermaine Dupri’s father bites back at Bow Wow over copyright infringement

Michael Mauldin, music producer and promoter, says rapper is using his “Scream Tour” name to promote his own tour.
Jermaine Dupri joined Hamilton Park at the Scream Tour at the Fox Theatre.

Credit: Raymond Hagans/Special

Credit: Raymond Hagans/Special

Jermaine Dupri joined Hamilton Park at the Scream Tour at the Fox Theatre.

Michael Mauldin, one of the forefathers of Atlanta’s hip-hop scene and father of Jermaine Dupri, is suing one of Dupri’s proteges over the use of the phrase “Scream Tour.”

In a 45-page lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Northern District of Georgia’s United States District Court, Mauldin is accusing Shad Gregory Moss, better known as Bow Wow, for copyright infringement.

In the lawsuit, Mauldin claims that Moss, “willfully infringed on Mauldin Brand’s common-law trademark rights in the SCREAM TOUR™ Trademark in connection with goods and services similar to Mauldin Brand’s, without Mauldin Brand’s consent, despite being aware of Mauldin Brand’s prior rights.”

Co-founder Michael Mauldin makes remarks during the inaugural induction ceremony for the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame.at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Mauldin claims that under “common law,” he’s used the name for tours since 2001. He had previously sent Moss a cease-and-desist letter that Mauldin said the rapper ignored.

“(Moss’) actions are likely to cause confusion among the trade and consuming public, thereby causing irreparable harm to Mauldin Brand,” the lawsuit reads.

When reached on Friday, Mauldin, a record executive and the chairman of the Black American Music Association, said he was not available then to talk about the lawsuit.

Mauldin’s musical career dates back to the 1970s when he worked with Atlanta’s foundational soul band, Brick. He went on to work with Sister Sledge, Cameo and the SOS Band before turning his attention to the burgeoning rap scene. In 1984, he was the producer of the New York Fresh Fest, the monumental first-ever major rap tour that featured Run DMC, the Fat Boys and Whodini, as well as preteen dancer Dupri.

Dupri went on to start So So Def Records and launch or assist in the careers of Kris Kross, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson.

Bow Wow is an Atlanta-based rapper and actor who was a child superstar in the early aughts as a signee to Dupri’s So So Def Records. He’s starred in cult classics like “Roll Bounce” and “Like Mike.” Bow Wow’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bow Wow has a new CD with Omarion, "Face Off," which includes "Take Off Your Clothes, " "Bachelor Pad" and "He Ain't Gotta Know."

Credit: Jenni Girtman/AJC

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Credit: Jenni Girtman/AJC

Last fall, Dupri and Bow Wow performed together during the BET Hip-Hop Awards for a tribute to So So Def.

Mauldin said in the lawsuit that since 2001, Scream Tours “have been highly successful in attracting, cultivating, and promoting teenage and young adult music performers in the music industry.”

He listed several performers who have commanded his stages, including T-Pain, Ne-Yo, T.I., Chris Brown and Moss, who performed at the age of 14 at the first Scream Tour in 2001.

In 2022, the lawsuit claims that Moss helped produce what was called the Millennium Tour and subsequently started using Mauldlin’s phrase to promote it across his social media platforms. The lawsuit also states that Moss sold items marked as “Scream Tour.”

“Moss is not currently affiliated with, sponsored, or licensed by Mauldin Brand to use the SCREAM TOUR™ Trademark in connection with products and services identical or similar to the Mauldin Brand Services,” the lawsuit states. “Moss has not obtained permission to use or license the SCREAM TOUR™ Trademark, or any other marks or designs confusingly similar thereto, for use on or in connection with any goods or services, including the Infringing Goods and Services.”

Staff writer DeAsia Paige contributed to this story.