WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU IS CALIFORNICATION
I've said it before and I 'll say it again. Intellectual property law expands and contracts over time. Due to changes in technology and changing commercial realities.
But also because some brand owners overestimate the significance of the public's association with their brand. So what do such brand owners do? They try to assert total and everlasting control over every facet of their marketplace identity. In doing so they come off looking at best silly and at worst greedy.
And so it is with the rock bands Red Hot Chili Peppers and __________. As has been widely reported RHCP have filed a lawsuit to force Showtime to change the name of a wildly popular TV show Californication. On what basis you ask? Because in 1999 RHCP produced a mega hit rock and roll album entitled Californication. Because of this the RHCP assert that the creation of a television show named Califorication causes a likelihood of confusion. Ignore the fact that the term Californication was first used by others many years before the RHCP decided to title their album. The band somehow has come to believe that they own ALL rights associated with the term. Lots of luck.
OK its quiz time. You all know the rock anthem WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU. Currently it is being used as part of a TV commercial. Quick....Who performed this song?
I didn't know either. But before I tell you - I have a confession. My 11 year old son loves to play GUITAR HERO on his XBox 360. Because of this I have been lucky(?) enough to suffer through
weird versions of many iconic rock and roll tunes from the and 80's.
Sure enough one of the songs is WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU. Performed by The Romantics'.
WHO?????? Yeah that's what I said.
Are The Romantics claiming that their artistic rights have been violated? No. Because Activision paid for the rights to record a cover version of the song. But, according to The Romantics' the cover version is too close and, as a result, it dilutes the value of their famous trademark WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU and sullies their persona.
Again I say : lots of luck. They'll both need it.