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.