Bill Murray’s Lawyer Responds to the Doobie Brothers
The letter to Peter Paterno by Alexander Yoffe was posted to Twitter via William Murray Golf, with a lyric from the song in question -- "What the people need is a way to make them smile" -- and referenced several of the Doobies' other hits. After showing appreciation for the light-hearted tone in the midst of difficult times, he wrote, "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.”
Paterno's cease-and-desist letter surfaced on Wednesday, suggesting that Murray's Zero Hucks Given line of shirts should change its 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," he added. "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."
As a legal defense, Yoffe said he believed that the usage of "Listen to the Music" in the ads did not harm the Doobies. He added that those feelings would be shared by Paterno's partner Howard King, who unsuccessfully argued that Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" did not infringe upon Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up."
However, Yoffee was unnerved by Paterno's claim that Murray's shirts are "so damn ugly" because "75 percent of my wardrobe consists of William Murray polos, shorts and pants." While Yoffe didn't say that his clients would stop using "Listen to the Music" or pay to license it, he offered to send "which one of our client's shirts you find the least offensive" to the members of the band and Paterno in the hopes that they will change their mind about the shirts' quality. "At least that's 'what this fool believes," Yoffe concluded.