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Doobie Brothers issue cease-and-desist to Bill Murray: “The only person who uses our music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump”

By | Published on Friday 25 September 2020

Bill Murray

The Doobie Brothers have sent Bill Murray a cease-and-desist letter ordering him to stop using their music to advertise golf shirts being sold by his William Murray Golf company. Actually, it’s their attorney Peter Paterno who wrote the letter, and it’s he who should get the credit here, because it’s quite some letter.

“We’re writing on behalf of our clients, the Doobie Brothers”, Paterno states at the start of said letter – which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter – before explaining that the correspondence relates specifically to their song ‘Listen To The Music’.

“It’s a fine song”, he goes on. “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'”.

Noting that his law firm – King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano LLP – believes that Murray has used music by other clients of theirs without permission, Paterno goes on: “It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump”.

Of course, somewhere in all this should be a full explanation of what laws have actually been broken. Paterno gets to that in his closing paragraph.

“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”, he says. “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”.

Murray, of course, once claimed that he’d taken on the starring role in the first Garfield movie because he’d mistakenly thought that the Joel Cohen who wrote it was actually Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers. He never fully explained why he did the sequel though. Maybe he’ll have a better explanation for why his company has been putting music in adverts without permission.