Eric Clapton is walking back his need to collect legal fees from a woman who listed a bootleg album of his on eBay for $11.
The guitarist’s team has issued a statement, looking to clarify the proceedings and why Clapton’s name was part of a lawsuit seeking damages from a German woman who listed the bootleg album on the online platform.
The statement says, in response to the “widespread and often misleading press reports” regarding the case, the German woman (defendant) is “not the type of person Eric Clapton, or his record company, wish to target.”
The statement continues, “Over the past decade a number of well-known recording companies and artists, including Clapton, have engaged German lawyers to pursue thousands of bootleg cases flouting the country’s copyright laws.
“It is not the intention to target individuals selling isolated CDs from their own collection, but rather the active bootleggers manufacturing unauthorized copies for sale. In the case of an individual selling unauthorized items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a ‘cease and desist’ letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.”
Clapton’s team is saying that it was them—“rather than Eric personally”—who sought damages. Further, Clapton is “not involved in any individual cases, and 95% of the cases are resolved before going to court.”
It also reads: “This case could have been disposed of quickly at minimal cost, but unfortunately in response to the German lawyers’ first standard letter, the individual’s reply included the line (translation): ‘Feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands’. This triggered the next step in the standard legal procedures, and the court then made the initial injunction order.
“If the individual had complied with the initial letter the costs would have been minimal. Had she explained at the outset the full facts in a simple phone call or letter to the lawyers, any claim might have been waived, and costs avoided.”
The statement also says that the defendant “appointed a lawyer who appealed the injunction decision”, and that “the judge encouraged the individual to withdraw the appeal to save costs, but she proceeded”.
Upon losing the appeal, the woman was ordered by the court to pay both her and Clapton’s court costs.
“When the full facts of this particular case came to light… Eric Clapton decided not to take any further action and does not intend to collect the costs awarded to him by the court. Also, he hopes the individual will not herself incur any further costs,” the statement concludes.
Earlier this week, in a bizarre twist of fate for the beloved guitarist Eric Clapton, the artist successfully sued the 55-year-old German woman for posting a bootleg live CD on eBay for $11.
According to Guitar World, the woman, who is referred to in the court papers as “Gabriele P.” would then have to pay court costs for both herself and the guitarist, totaling some $4,000.
But thanks now to some bad press, that looks likely not to be the case, at least as far as Clapton and his team are concerned.
The German newspaper Bild reported that the bootleg record, Live USA, was purchased by Gabriele P.’s late husband at a store more than three decades ago. The defendant later put the album on eBay for €9.95 (or, about $11) in July. Then Clapton, noting the illegal nature of the album, filed an affidavit with the court.
The Düsseldorf Regional Court has since ruled in Clapton’s favor, forcing Gabriele P. to pay the court costs. And she now faces either a €250,000 fine or a six-month prison sentence if she continues her efforts to sell the album.
The suit is one of several eyebrow-raising moves for the British-born guitar player, who has been considered one of the best at his craft in his lifetime.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, Clapton has been vocally against vaccination mandates at his shows, likening the requirements and the prior virus lockdown to slavery.
Clapton has also released a number of songs expressing opposition to vaccination mandates, like the track, “This Has Gotta Stop,” which you can check out below.