Hotel California in Todos Santos: no relation to The Eagles. Hotel California in Todos Santos: no relation to The Eagles.

Hotel California sued for copyright violation

Rock band The Eagles sues Todos Santos hotel for using the name of its famous song

The American rock band The Eagles has sued the owners of the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, for using the name of the band’s most famous song without permission.


The suit accuses the hotel of “actively encouraging” its guests to believe the hotel, the band and its signature song, Hotel California, are related.

The Eagles released the song in 1977, winning a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1978. Band members have stated that The Beverly Hills Hotel was the inspiration behind the track’s title.

The 11-room Todos Santos hotel first opened its doors in 1950 under the name Hotel California, but has since had several owners and different names.

The most recent owners are John and Debbie Stewart, who purchased the hotel in 2011. According to the band’s representative, it was the Stewarts who began using the original name to market the hotel.

The lawsuit filed before a Los Angeles federal court claims the hotel owners piped Hotel California and other Eagles tunes through their sound system and sold t-shirts that called the hotel “legendary,” encouraging guests to believe the hotel was associated with the band and creating confusion as a result.


The lawsuit also stated that the hotel owners and their company, Hotel California Baja LLC, had filed an application before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the Hotel California name.

The Stewarts “led consumers from the United States to believe that the Todos Santos hotel is associated with The Eagles . . . and that it was the inspiration behind the song’s lyrics, which is completely false.”

Singer Don Henley said in an interview with CBS News last year that the song is about “a journey from innocence to experience. It’s not really about California; it’s about America.”

The band seeks compensation for damages and a halt to violations of its intellectual property.

Source: Reuters (en), Milenio (sp)

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  • harvey

    wouldn’t the hotel owners have the right of prior name usage? And how could a US court force a name change on a hotel in Mexico? They could restrict advertising in the US but how could the court’s jurisdiction go into Mexico?

    • Garry Montgomery

      The U.S. Courts have no say in Mexico but if the hotel’s owners are U.S. citizens then the Eagles will be going after them. But as I said above, the case should be against misrepresentation, IF that actually exists and NOT about the name of the hotel.

  • 101st

    I’ve been in this place numerous times. Never have I heard Eagle’s music, and if you ask if there is any relation to the two, you’ll get a definite “no”. I can only assume that Don and gang are running low on royalties.

  • Garry Montgomery

    Well, there a dozens of Hotel Californias throughout Mexico. Most of them have been in existence before any of the Eagles were even born! But, if the one in Todos Santos is actively creating the misrepresentation as claimed by the
    Eagles then THAT is what they should be sued on, NOT the name.

  • Vernon King

    The eagles have always been assholes. First to overprice tickets and first to raise album prices. Many hotels have had the same name and they should sue the eagles if they want to play hardball.

  • frankania

    Uh, the state of California should sue the
    eagles for using its name??

  • Bill Bugg

    Anyone can can name their hotel “Hotel California.” This is NOT about the name of the hotel… Geeezzz…

  • Thomas713

    Maybe the Humane Society should sue the Eagles for pirating the name of a bird and false advertising. They aren’t really eagles. are they? Moreover, the Beverly Hills Hotel (which the Eagles say inspire the song) is NOT on “a dark desert highway”. The Hotel California in Todos Santos is… Come on Henley, haven’t you made enough money? Let the little guys alone!!!

  • Waywuwei

    Oh, give me a break. Money needs more money? I hope the Mexican court system keeps them tied up for years.

  • roblimo

    I remember this place from traveling around Baja with my parents in 1962, maybe earlier. C’mon, Eagles.