Bill Murray and The Doobie Brothers are locked in an entertaining legal feud over the uncompensated use of the band’s music. At issue is that Murray’s golf company featured music from The Doobie Brothers in commercials without authorization. The band’s legal team sent a warning to the company on Wednesday, but rather than stick to legal jargon, they decided to go the unconventional route.
“It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts,” attorney Peter Paterno wrote, adding that the company should consider changing its name to “Zero Bucks Given,” per Rolling Stone.
“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 you can’t use music in ads without paying for it,” he continued, stating that Murray’s shirts were “so damn ugly.”
Murray’s legal representative hit back on Friday with an equally amusing response.
“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,” attorney Alexander Yoffe replied.
“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.”
Yoffe pointed out that one of The Doobie Brothers’ lawyers had represented Robin Thicke in a similar copyright battle against the Marvin Gaye estate. In the final 2018 ruling, Thicke was ordered to pay the estate almost $5 million, NBC previously reported.
“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,” Yoffe wrote.
“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.”
Yoffe ended his letter by offering to send each member of The Doobie Brothers a golf shirt from Murray’s company.
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