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The Doobie Brothers Wrote Bill Murray the Best Cease and Desist Letter

on September 24, 2020, 5:41pm

Get ready to read the most random story of the week! Apparently Bill Murray has his own golf apparel brand (!) called William Murray Golf, and he’s been using The Doobie Brothers’ classic hit “Listen to the Music” to promote his newest product without the band’s permission. As such, the band has mailed him a letter requesting he stop or pay up — except this is a legendary comedian and actor, so the note is a whole lot funnier than what it typically would be for this sort of thing.

As Stereogum notes, this saga began when Murray started running new ads promoting William Murray Golf’s latest shirt named Zero Hucks Given, a play on Huckleberry Finn, one of his favorite literary characters. However, the Caddyshack actor’s company never contacted The Doobie Brothers to seek permission or compensate the band for the use of their song. Understandably, the Doobies would like some of the cash he’s raking in.

Peter T. Paterno, a representative for the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, penned a letter to Murray with the band’s permission that essentially meets the actor on his own level to hash out a deal. “It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts,” wrote Paterno. “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,” the letter reads. “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.”


The letter gets even better from there. Read it in full below. Update: Through his lawyer, has responded to Doobie Brothers by offering golf shirts as restitution.

“Dear Mr. Murray:

We’re writing on behalf of our clients, the Doobie Brothers. The Doobie Brothers perform and recorded the song Listen to the Music, which Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers wrote. It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts. However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the name to “Zero Bucks Given.”

We understand that you’re running other ads using music from other of our clients. It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump.

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. 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!”

Sincerely,
Peter T. Paterno
of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano LLP”