back to article Chilis could struggle in 'Californication' lawsuit

LA rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers are suing the network behind TV hit Californication, alleging that the title is stolen from their 1999 single and album. But the group may struggle because it failed to protect its brand, according to a legal expert. Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante, and Michael "Flea" Balzary, doing …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Californication, n. Used to describe the California state tax system.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    litigious rock stars make me p2p

    So the RHCP didn't invent the word, they didn't use it first, they didn't copyright it / register it as a trademark BUT they don't want anyone else to use it.

    Learn how a language works you stupid yanks. Aside from when you make up an entirely new word, stopping people using existing words unless they are describing your product means we will run out of words soon!!

    ....... anyone remember when Windows were bits of glass in the wall to see out of?

  3. Ben Smith
    Thumb Down

    The album's good, the show is...

    ...rubbish. David D. just wanders round from shag to shag, with every woman in sight immune to his charms. Although he doesn't seem to do anything to charm them, really. The first 3 episodes - which was as much time as I was prepared to give it - are nothing more than an excuse to show lots of breasts.

    And the Dani California character is - in the series - a secretary who is also a Suicide Girl (i.e. Goth porn star) who lets her boss spank her. Of course, that scenario is going to happen every day.

    The show is really just an excuse to show as much sex as possible, with a little violence and drug taking to keep it "edgy" - the plot is laughably thin, and with Duchovny as Executive Producer, the obvious question of why every woman in sight throws herself at a character who is meant to be on the skids is never dealt with, because the answer's obvious - because he's David Duchovny. Avoid.

  4. Mark W
    Thumb Down

    In it for the money?

    I saw the RHCP play at the Leeds Festival in August, and to be honest, they just looked plain bored, didn't interact at all, and it was a crap concert, and all of us in my group agreed that it wouldn't be long before they split up, and that they're only doing it for the money now.

    It's a shame because Blood Sugar Sex Magik was a great album. Californication, however, was crap. Maybe they're just pissed that they didn't use the song as the theme tune because it would have inflated their bank accounts?

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Nationalise Californication would be a Commune with Capitalism....

    ...... for a Sociable Communism .

    "said the band should have registered Californication as a trademark" ... the danger is that it be perceived as a Virus rather than AI VXXXXine when wantonly selfishly abused rather than selflessly used.

    But who would want to register Hedonism as a trademark, ...AI Private Playboy/Diamond Geezer/Font?

    And why is there no mention of the earlier Eagles flavour, Hotel California? Surely a Prior Art Contender?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I used.... be a huge RHCP fans. The early albums are great. The last few have been utter, utter, utter unmitigating shite however. They've gone from funky, powerful and entertaining to middle of the road old men trying to cling to their youth and sound.

    Let it go, you're not that much different to the Shadows now. Go join the likes of Sabbath, Kiss etc with their "Last reunion tour!" style of money grabbing.

    Now I just think they're pathetic and seemingly no longer against the corporate brown-nosing they once were. In fact they appear to be a highly branded, image-lead consumer group no different to your average boy-band.

    They are the bitches of the system now .... and the Foo Fighters are slowly going that way too.

  7. Francis Boyle

    They made the word famous?

    Maybe, but only among people whose vocabularies don't usually run to words of more than two syllables. lists a least three distinct meanings not including my favourite - starting a cult in order to have your way with your most attractive followers.

    Always meant to try that sometime.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    No they didn't invent the word which gives them no claim to it. However copyright is yours automatically once you create something, you don't need to register it. So for having a character called Dani California and blatently using their lyrics in one episode, with asking them if it was ok to do so gives them plenty of ammo in court

  9. The Other Steve
    Paris Hilton

    Huh ?

    "The show is really just an excuse to show as much sex as possible, with a little violence and drug taking to keep it "edgy""

    You manage to say that like it's a bad thing !

  10. James

    Statement from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

    The WCIA welcomes this action by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to protect their IP. We have long been of the opinion that the sales of properties that shot their wad ten yeards ago are vitally important and must be protected, in order that we can release endless special editions, remasterings and definitive versions in the years to come.

    There is absolutely no excuse for this ElectroTeleKinematograph show to deliberately confuse viewers in this way. When searching iTunes, how is the custiminal - who is, we must remember, functionally retarded - supposed to discriminate between the TV show soundtrack or the 18 various versions of the Peppers' album that we've ground out over the years? By looking at the track listing? The cover art? Please! The WCIA has made an awful lot of money off the assumption that the custiminal will pick up anything shiny enough without actually comprehending its content.

    Obviously what's going to happen here is that the custiminal is going to download the wrong album, discover his mistake when he hears songs that don't sound like the wailings of a terminal lung cancer sufferer gasping for his last breaths, and in a fit of pique download the entire RHCP back catalogue from the notorious pay-to-join terrorist financing operation, The Pirate Bay.

    What's more, as the RHCP are already far down the road of Dylanesque pointlessness, this "familiarity with their decline" will inevitably lead to falling sales of their future albums. This is completely unacceptable to the WCIA: Not only should the law protect us from people who wouldn't have bought music because they are terrorist sympathisers, it should also protect us from people who won't buy music because they know it won't be very good. And unfortunately our policy of polishing turds with homoerotic heroin-chic Keidis cover art can only prop sales up for so long.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I like their music...

    ... but the band members themselves are knobs.

    I saw them play in Manchester a few years back. They had a completely inappropriate support band on, Chicks On Speed, mainly because one of them was shagging one of RHCP. Unsurprisingly, CoS got booed off, but when RHCP came on, they proceeded to give the audience a bollocking for disrespecting their fellow artists. They worked through their set in a huff, one of the worst gigs I've been to. In fact, I think CoS delivered a better performance.

    They're so far up their own arses these days it's painful to watch. They should go back to taking drugs, might improve their attitude a bit.

    At least it makes me feel better about downloading all their stuff P2P for free.

  12. Duncan Budd

    I used the word several years before their album came out

    I'd never heard anybody use the word before. I made it up at a wine tasting to describe the process of making all wines taste the same by adding lots oak. This was in the early 1990s.

    Does that mean I can sue the Peppers?


  13. Ben Smith
    Paris Hilton



    As you may have noticed, the Internet is full of porn of all shapes and flavours. The days of being reliant on a Channel 4 "Red Triangle" film to get your quota of mild filth for the week are long since over. Yes, if it was the early 90s I'd be *more* than happy to see Californication simply for the nipple-count - now that such things are available at the click of a mouse, I'd rather that TV dramas have a semblance of plot about them - or certainly more than "David Duchovny gets women with large breasts to bounce on top of him" which seriously constitutes around 40% of the screen time.

    If TV shows on channels like ShowTime are able to deal with real life issues such as sex and drugs, at least let them attempt to do so within a dramatic framework. "Californication" is little more than a middle-aged man's w*nk fantasy, and I've enough of those myself without watching someone else's...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad for who?

    Some of the bands on the Californication soundtrack are equally depressed that someone might go looking for them and accidentally have to experience RHCP instead.

  15. The Other Steve

    Ah Ben...

    " "Californication" is little more than a middle-aged man's w*nk fantasy, and I've enough of those myself "

    But isn't that the whole point of the plot of the show ? To examine the whole mid life crisis thing. Is that how we'd all be acting if we were Duchovny-style rich, feckless California dwelling divorcees ? Isn't that what all your MAWF are all about ? I mean I'm phrasing that as a question because I'm usually distracted by all the bouncing nipples, but it could be a valid point.

    As for quality TV drama, yup, with you all the way. I'm a big 'Spooks' fan myself, especially now they have that gorgeous blonde totty in it, I mean w00f w00f!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry Duncan... prior art

    I was using the expression in the mid 1980s when living in Santa Barbara. My lawyers say you owe me $1.2 trillion for the pain and distress of confessing I lived in California. I accept PayPal, luncheon vouchers and Woolworths gift tokens.

  17. Ben Smith
    Paris Hilton


    If was the main character in that show, I wouldn't be having a mid-life crisis, because I would be being laid more frequently than tarmac on the M1, as well as driving a Porsche, living in LA, and not seeming to do much work. And being able to get away with frequently insulting my ex- and her husband and my agent (in fact, everyone) and somehow getting away with it.

    "Californication" doesn't examine any issues in depth, apart from "how many hot women can take their top off in any one episode whilst Duchnovy looks bored / suave / ruffled ?"

    Personally, I'd like to see him catch an STD, get a good shoeing from one of the cuckolded husbands / partners, and conspicuously fail to get laid for several months, whilst getting fat and addicted to Internet porn, then gambling away all his money on-line due to boredom.

    Jealous, moi ?

    Actually - no, but there we are.

  18. gollux

    Californication is a long standing term...

    In two states to the north since the 1960's. It's used to described the wishes of people in that state who move to the other two states to immediately start trying to convert the culture, government and social services of their adopted state to the ****ed up nature of their state of origin. First they will tell you how much better the state is that they've moved to and almost in the same breath tell you how something was done so much better in California. Of course they don't mention the tax rate they were paying to almost get that done in California. And they definitely do not want to pay anything to get their new state of residence converted to be equivalent to the mess they supposedly moved from.

  19. Dave Murray

    Chart Friendly Pap

    Hahahaha serves the Mild Yellow Bell Peppers right. All their recent albums of chart friendly pap sound the same. They haven't written a decent song since Blood Sugar and even that album is diluted compared to their previous work.

  20. Tim Brown

    Meanwhile, in New Zealand...

    ...advertisers are pulling their adverts from the shows timeslot because the local catholic church said it was bad.

    Seriously. We're so backwards here that our advertisers think they'll go to hell for advertising during the show (which is shown between 9:30pm and 10:30pm on a Thursday).

    Naturally, all the bad press made me want to see it. So I started watching it, then got bored. Why they keep putting D.D. in sex-shocker type shows (anyone remember "Red Shoe Diaries"?) is beyond me. He's got all the sexual attraction of a plank. No, sorry, that's not a nice thing to say about planks.

    I didn't find it particularly nasty. Frankly, what that nun was doing looked strangely similar to that nun website. Maybe I'm just perverted.

    What was I talking about again? Oh, who cares. I'm bored.

    Now, maybe if they did exactly the same thing, but put Gillian Anderson in the lead role...

  21. Andrew Moore


    I'm trademarking the term 'Tallaghfornication' which is a word that describes the high number of unmarried mothers in Tallaght, Dublin.

  22. David Beck

    Let me get this right

    Showtime are arguing that they are not in breach with RHCP regarding the word because it is in common use at the same time as they are trying to lock it up as a trademark? Right?

    Lawyers, don'tcha love'm.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior "art"

    I used to see bumper stickers "Don't Californicate Colorado" 30+ years ago. I've no idea who printed them, but the RHCPs presumably weren't out of kindergarten yet.

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