It’s so heated that “ugly” golfer shirt comments are being hurled. But ugly shirts could ultimately save the day.
The drama started when the Doobie Brothers’ lawyers stated that Murray’s company, William Murray Golf, has been using the band’s classic song “Listen to the Music” without compensation.
On Wednesday, Doobie Brothers’ lawyer Peter Paterno sent a humorous legal warning to William Murray Golf about the offending commercials. “It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts,” Paterno wrote in the letter first obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the company name to ‘Zero Bucks Given.’ “
Paterno claimed, without specifying, that Murray’s company was using other songs by his clients without paying. “It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump,” he wrote.
He was just getting warmed up with the zingers, bringing up Murray’s “Garfield” animated cat movies, a source of profound professional regret with the movie icon.
“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 learned that with those Garfield movies. And you already know you can’t use music in ads without paying for it,” Paterno wrote, setting up his killer punch.
“We’d almost be OK with it if the shirts weren’t so damn ugly. But it is what it is,” he wrote.
Then he adapted Murray’s line from Carl in “Caddyshack” against Murray: “So in the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir Golfer. Et payez!’ “
Murray’s legal team didn’t let the “ugly” shirt comments go unchallenged.
Lawyer Alexander Yoffe posted his retort, written on a Friday no less, on the official Twitter page of William Murray Golf. It was game on.
Bill Murray receives a legal demand from the Doobie Brothers. And it’s everything you’d want it to be… pic.twitter.com/R1L99yZSBj
— Eriq Gardner (@eriqgardner) September 24, 2020
“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,” he wrote, before riffing on Doobie Brothers tunes. “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.”
In the immortal words of the @TheDoobieBros—"What the people need is a way to make them smile."
— William Murray Golf (@WMurrayGolf) September 25, 2020
Then Yoffe delved into the real pain point, Paterno’s “disconcerting” disparaging comments about the “fashionableness” of the clothing line.
“Especially considering 75% of my wardrobe consists of William Murray polos, shorts and pants,” Yoffe wrote.
Then it was like, chill out Doobie Brothers.
“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.”
In a move that will surely get the Nobel Committee murmuring, the attorney ended with a peace offering. Paterno and the Doobie Brothers could pick the “least offensive” shirts in the William Murray collection. “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,'” he wrote.
That final line might be a misdemeanor over-pun, but well done.
We wait for the next step.