If you came to Californication without knowing much about the Showtime series, you'd be forgiven if you'd have expected the familiar Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Californication" to play under the show's titles; failing that, you'd think at least some reference to the band's hit 1999 album of the same name might figure into the action or back story. As it turns out, however, no permission from the band was secured by the network or the show's creators, who merely saw in the lexical hybrid a catchy, succinct term covering the shows primary themes of fucking and life in Southern California.
Now, reports THR ESQ, the Chili Peppers are suing:
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 a press release].
One would have thought that at least one clearance report red flag might have gone up alerting the network to the possibility of legal troubles down the line should they have chosen to borrow Kiedis's coinage without paying for the privilege. Still, faced with the series's rather cumbersome original working title of Midlife Crisis Featuring Bitter, Boozy Writer Who Gets Barrels of Pussy in an Improbable L.A. Teeming With Hot Bookworm Groupies, we can understand how they might have perhaps too hastily chosen to go with the far catchier one-word moniker.