Reuters is reporting that American classic rock band the Eagles have filed a lawsuit against a Mexican hotel for use of their most well-known song “Hotel California” to market themselves.
Owned by Canadian couple, John and Debbie Stewart, the hotel, located in Baja Califonia Sur and also known as Todos Santos, used the band’s song without permission — accusing the owners of using it to promote t-shirts and merchandise associated with the band, as well as playing various Eagles songs on their sound system.
“Defendants lead US consumers to believe that the Todos Santos Hotel is associated with the Eagles and, among other things, served as the inspiration for the lyrics in ‘Hotel California,’ which is false,” according to the complaint.
The Todos Santos opened in 1950 using the original name Hotel California, but since had gone through various name changes until returning to its former when purchased by the Stewarts in 2001. The hotel has applied for trademark registration under the name ‘Hotel California Baja LLC’ no response from the company yet, but on the hotel’s website it states:
“Although the present owners of the hotel do not have any affiliation with the Eagles, nor do they promote any association, many visitors are mesmerized by the “coincidences” between the lyrics of the hit song and the physicality of the hotel and its surroundings.”
The lawsuit is seeking a “variety of damages and a halt to any infringement.”
In the past, guitarist Don Henley had sued archivist for “violating their copyright after he refused to follow a cease-and-desist order to stop screening unlicensed concert footage at a theater in Connecticut,” according to Stereogum.
“Hotel California” was released in February 1976 off the Eagles album of the same title and won Record of the Year at the Grammy’s in 1977. The title track was originally called “Mexican Reggae.”