I GUESS WE’RE PLAYING FOR KEEPS NOW
Bill Murray is in a battle with the Doobie Brothers over an alleged copyright infringement, and it has spawned some pretty funny lawyer letters, as lawyer letters go. It started when a lawyer for the Doobies sent this letter to Murray. The dispute has to do with Murray using the song Listen to the Music in ads for his golf clothing line.
The letter tells Murray that the lawyer will not threaten him with eternal damnation because he already earned that with “those Garfield movies.” It also says the infringement would almost be alright if the “shirts weren’t so damn ugly.”
Murray’s attorney responded with a letter that features a series of puns using Doobie Brothers song titles. It said Murray appreciated the Band “Takin’ it to the Streets” rather than to court “which overburdened ‘Minute by Minute’ with real problems.” The letter also alluded to the law firm’s involvement in the Blurred Lines/ Marvin Gaye infringement suit, where it argued on behalf of Robin Thicke’s composition didn’t infringe on Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” It offered to supply the band members with shirts from Murray’s collection.
Fun stuff, but maybe not a laughing matter. As techdit.com points out, the Blurred Lines case involved a legitimate and novel dispute about whether Blurred Lines copied the “style” of Got to Get it Up to a degree that constituted infringement. Here, Murray blatantly used the Doobie Brothers song without permission. And the offer of some shirts doesn’t quite cut it. A licensing fee would be in order.