David Duchovny can fornicate all he wants. The Red Hot Chili Peppers would prefer it if he didn't do it to the tune of "Californication."
The Los Angeles-based rockers sued Showtime Networks on Monday, claiming that the title of its original series Californication borrows a little too much from its Grammy-winning album and song of the same name.
"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," frontman Anthony Kiedis said in a statement.
The band—Kiedis, Michael "Flea" Balzary, John Frusciante and Chad Smith—is alleging unfair competition, dilution of the value of the name and unjust enrichment, stating that the name "Californication" is "inherently distinctive, widely recognized and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer and those in the trade" with the Chili Peppers, according to the complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court. (View the Lawsuit.)
Reps for Showtime couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
The premium cable network's version of Californication stars Duchovny as Hank Moody, a writer who moves to L.A. after selling the film rights to a book and, unable to write after his tome gets a Hollywood makeover and his relationship with his ex-girlfriend and 12-year-old daughter go south, opts to ease his pain by sleeping his way across the Southland.
One might say he gives it away.
Creator Tom Kapinos, who's also named in the suit, has said that he first heard the word in reference to Oregon, as in the 1970s-era bumper sticker phrase "Don’t Californicate Oregon."
But the L.A.-centered series, which has been renewed for a second season, hasn't tried to pretend that the Red Hot Chili Peppers don’t exist, either.
Hank's agent's secretary, played by Rachel Miner, is nicknamed Dani California, the name of a tune off of the Chili Peppers' latest album, Stadium Arcadium, and "Dani" is name-checked in "By the Way" (from By the Way). And another character's narration quotes "Californication" in one episode, when she describes the Golden State as "the edge of the world and all of western civilization."
The Chili Peppers, who have been tapped to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year, can apparently do without the homage, though.
Their complaint also cites Miner's Dani California as another strike against the show.
The group is seeking unspecified damages, restitution and "disgorgement of all profits derived by the defendants" (they want everything Kapino & Co. have made from the series—legally, it's a remedy, not a punishment), as well as an injunction preventing Kapinos and Showtime from continuing to use Californication as a title. The production companies Twilight Time Films and Aggressive Mediocrity, Inc. are also named as defendants.