Monday, November 19, 2007

Red Hot Chili Peppers Sue Showtime over 'Californication' Title

by Matthew Belloni

I knew that title sounded familiar. We got word this morning that LA punk-pop stalwarts Red Hot Chili Peppers are suing Showtime and the producers of "Californication," the David Duchovny dramedy, for unfair competition for using the title of the band's hit 1999 album without permission.

The complaint is being filed in Los Angeles Superior Court today but the band's lawyers provided us a press release with the details. The Peppers don't claim Federal trademark infringement. Instead they allege state law claims of unfair competition, dilution of value of the "Californication" mark and unjust enrichment.

“Californication is the signature CD, video and song of the band’s career, and for some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right,” band frontman Anthony Kiedis says in the release.

Use of the "Californication" name by Showtime "continues to cause a likelihood of confusion, mistake and deception as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, and/or connection in the minds of the public," the complaint is quoted in the release.

Plaintiffs in the suit are band members Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante and Michael “Flea” Balzary. In addition to Showtime (a subsidiary of CBS), defendants are Twilight Time Films, Inc., Aggressive Mediocrity, Inc., and Tom Kapinos. The suit identifies Kapinos as the creator, writer and executive producer of the “Californication” show

A call to Showtime wasn't immediately returned. Coincidentally, we just ran an article on the use of existing titles in TV shows, click here to check it out.

"Californication," released in 1999, is one of the Peppers' most successful albums, selling 14 million copies worldwide. There's also a hit track on the album called "Californication."

The Peppers are represented in the case by Justin Ehrlich of the Law Offices of Ian Herzog in Santa Monica.