Earlier this week, The Doobie Brothers served Bill Murray with the greatest cease and desist letter you’ll ever read. In a nutshell, through their lawyer Peter T. Paterno, the yacht rockers asked Murray to either fork over the money or stop using their song “Listen to the Music” to promote his line of golf apparel.
“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,” 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, Murray’s attorney, Alexander Yoffe, has responded to The Doobie Brothers with his own tounge-in-cheek letter. In between several puns at the expense of Doobie Brothers’ song titles, Yoffe defends Murray’s fashion sensibilities and offers a resolution in the form of golf shirts. “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 writes.
It isn’t all fun and games, though, as Yoffe does drop in a paragraph of legal defense by citing Paterno’s firm’s own involvement in the “Blurred Lines” copyright trial.
Read Yoffe’s response in full 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”.