These kind of cease-and-desist letters have become commonplace lately, right up to the executive branch of the United States government. The difference is the Doobie Brothers’ attorney decided to employ humor against the longtime comedic actor.
“It’s a fine song,” Peter T. Paterno of King, Holmes, Paterno and Soriano wrote in the letter. “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.'”
Murray launched his apparel line, the William Murray Golf Collection, in September 2016 – just in time to debut the label’s shirts in the stands as his beloved Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in more than a century. The “Zero Hucks Given” Polo shirt pattern is “a wink and a nod to one of Bill’s longtime heroes, Samuel Langhorne Clemens — also known as Mark Twain,” according to the collection’s official site.
Apparently, the Doobie Brothers aren’t the only featured acts in his commercials. “We understand that you’re running other ads using music from other of our clients,” Paterno added. “It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump.”
At this point, most lawyer types would begin making threatening legal claims. Not Paterno.
“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.”
Murray apparently hasn’t yet officially responded.