Music | September 25, 2020 11:58 am

Bill Murray Receives Legal Threat From the Doobie Brothers Over His “Ugly” Golf Shirt Ads

"We'd almost be okay with it if the shirts weren't so damn ugly," the letter reads. "But it is what it is."

Actor Bill Murray tees off on the 14th hole during Day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links on September 27, 2019 in St Andrews, United Kingdom
Bill Murray at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in September 2019.
Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Bill Murray’s commercial for his William Murray line of golf clothing uses the Doobie Brothers’ hit “Listen to the Music,” but there seems to be one major problem: according to an attorney for the band, the actor never sought permission to do so.

As The New York Times reports, lawyer Peter T. Paterno sent Murray a letter on behalf of the Doobies urging him to pay up for using the song — and it doesn’t pull any punches.

“It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts,” the letter begins. “However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the company name to ‘Zero Bucks Given.’” 

Paterno also notes that he’s had issues with Murray using music from his other clients without permission as well. “We understand that you’re running other ads using music from other of our clients,” he writes. “It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump.”

The attorney also manages to get in a zinger or two about Murray’s film career, writing, “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.”

“We’d almost be OK with it if the shirts weren’t so damn ugly,” the letter concludes. “But it is what it is.”

You can read the letter in its entirety below.

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