The Doobie Brothers’ lawyer writes glib letter to Bill Murray accusing him of copyright infringement

Murray's golf clothing brand is accused of using a song for an advert without permission

The Doobie Brothers’ lawyer has written to actor Bill Murray to ask him for damages for an alleged breach of copyright.

According to attorney Peter T. Paterno, Bill Murray’s golf apparel brand, William Murray Golf, has used the Californian band’s 1972 hit ‘Listen To The Music’ without permission in a TV commercial advertising a new shirt.

Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter yesterday (September 24) shared what purports to be the letter addressed to Murray by Paterno, which is written in a humorous manner.


Part of the letter reads (available in full online here): “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 other 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.”

Paterno ends the letter with a request (in French) for payment. “So in the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir Golfer. Et payez!'”

Murray, nor any of his representatives, have commented on the allegation to date. The New York Times said William Murray Golf “did not immediately respond to a request for comment”.


In related news, the US band have influenced Aussie jangle pop group Cool Sounds and their new single, ‘Vice’. The Melbourne band said the song is “something of a kitsch reimagining of The Doobie Brothers song ‘What A Fool Believes'”.