In what is quickly turning into the most entertaining legal battle in modern times, the lawyer of Hollywood actor Bill Murray has responded to a cease and desist letter sent by rockers the Doobie Brothers.
It has emerged that Murray, somewhat bizarrely, has his own golf apparel brand called ‘William Murray Golf’ which could land him in a spot of trouble as he has been using The Doobie Brothers’ classic ‘Listen to the Music’ to promote his newest product without the band’s permission.
In response, the band sent Murray the most beautifully worded cease and desist letter that we’ve ever seen through their lawyer Peter T. Paterno. As Stereogum notes, the war began when Murray started running new ads promoting William Murray Golf’s latest shirt named ‘Zero Hucks Given’, a play on Huckleberry Finn, who is one of the comedian’s favourite literary characters. However, his team failed to contact The Doobie Brothers to seek permission the use of their song and now the Doobies want their fair fee.
“It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts,” the Doobie Brothers’ letter reads. “However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the name to ‘Zero Bucks Given.’”
“This is the part where I’m supposed to cite the United States Copyright Act, excoriate you for not complying with some subparagraph that I’m too lazy to look up and threaten you with eternal damnation for doing so,” continued Paterno. “But you already earned that with those Garfield movies. And you already know that you can’t use music in ads without paying for it.”
“We’d almost be OK with it if the shirts weren’t so damn ugly. But it is what it is. So in the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir Golfer. Et payez!’”
Now, responding to the cease and desist letter, Murray has lawyered up and had his attorney, Alexander Yoffe, write a brilliant response which is fully loaded with comical jabs back at the band. “First, I would like to compliment you on finding levity in the law at a time when the world and this country certainly could use a laugh. Your client’s demand was able to cut through the noise of the news cycle and remind us how much we all miss live music these days,” he writes.
“Please provide us with the shirt size for yourself, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, and John McFee, along with which of our client’s shirts you find the least offensive, and we will happily upgrade your wardrobes and hopefully win each of you over as new fans of the brand,” Yoffe adds.
See the full letter, below.
Dear Mr. Paterno,
Our firm represents W.M. Golf, Inc., d/b/a “William Murray Golf”. First, I would like to compliment you on finding levity in the law at a time when the world and this country certainly could use a laugh. Your client’s demand was able to cut through the noise of the news cycle and remind us how much we all miss live music these days.
We would also like to confirm that both our firm, and the good folks at William Murray Golf, are indeed fans of the Doobie Brothers’ music, which is why we appreciate your firm’s choice of “Takin’ It To The Streets”, rather than to the courts, which are already overburdened “Minute By Minute” with real problems.
I am sure that Howard King of your firm, who argued that the song “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I.) did not infringe on Marvin Gaye’s composition “Got To Give It Up”, would agree that your client was not harmed under these circumstances.
All that to say, your negative comments about their fashionableness are especially disconcerting to all of us — especially considering 75% of my wardrobe consists of William Murray polos, shorts and pants. Color me biased, but the consensus on this side of the table is that Bill and the brothers have some of the most clever and creative lifestyle wear available.
In the immortal words of Mr. Murray — the more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything… so let’s pour one up and unwind with a listen of the recently-released “Quadio” box set and plan to cross paths at a Doobie Brothers’ 50th anniversary show in 2021 when some level of normalcy resumes.
As your client so aptly stated in this classic song in question, “What the people need is a way to make them smile” — which both Bill and the Doobies have been doing for decades, as world-class entertainers.
Please provide us with the shirt size for yourself, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, and John McFee, along with which of our client’s shirts you find the least offensive, and we will happily upgrade your wardrobes and hopefully win each of you over as new fans of the brand.
At least that’s “what this fool believes”.