Using someone’s song without permission happens all the time. then there’s the angry lawyer letters but in the case of Bill Murray using a Doobie brothers song…their lawyer has a sense of humor. It turns out he is using their song, “Listen to the Music” in ads for his Zero Hucks Given line of golf shirts without permission or compensation, and that in turn prompted their attorney, Peter T. Paterno, to fire off a letter:
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 [some 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!”
Peter T. Paterno
No word from Bill…yet!