Eric Clapton Sues a German Widow for Selling an $11 Bootleg CD on eBay — And Wins

Eric Clapton sues woman bootleg CD
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Eric Clapton sues woman bootleg CD
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Photo Credit: Majvdl / CC by 3.0

A German woman listed an Eric Clapton CD on eBay for $11 – and was successfully sued by the musician.

The woman listed the CD on the online marketplace after her husband passed away. But she didn’t expect the listing to get the attention of Clapton himself. The CD itself was a bootleg of one of Clapton’s live performances in the ’80s, which the woman neither bought nor sold. But a German court sided with Clapton after he launched a lawsuit.

Gabriele P. must pay nearly $4,000 in court costs for the copyright infringement. The woman lives in a small town outside Cologne and says her husband bought the CD from a department store in 1987. She told the court she was not aware she was infringing on copyright when she listed the bootleg for sale for around $11. The CD was only listed on eBay for a single day before it was removed, and no one bought it.

A judge with the Düsseldorf regional court rejected the woman’s appeal to Clapton’s bootleg CD lawsuit.

According to the judge, it doesn’t matter that she did not purchase the CD or did not know it was an illegal recording. The court also issued a ruling that if she tries to sell the bootleg Clapton CD again, she could face a fine of up to $282,000.

Clapton didn’t respond for comment when asked by The Seattle Times. A spokesperson for Clapton told The Washington Post last month that “given the depressingly bad standard of journalism reflected in certain recent articles, Eric Clapton has no desire at the moment to engage with the U.S. press.”

“Along with a number of other major artists and record companies, over a number of years, Eric Clapton has, through German lawyers, successfully pursued hundreds of bootleg cases in the German courts under routine German copyright procedures,” Michael Eaton, a Clapton spokesperson confirmed.

It’s unclear how Clapton learned of the bootleg CD for sale on eBay. “They told me Eric Clapton had complained,” the woman told German magazine Bild in November. “My husband bought the CD in a department store, not somewhere under the counter.”

10 Responses

  1. Johnny

    Between bootlegs, fans burning copies, Illegal downloading and stick drives full of libraries copied and given to friends, we’re only at about ONE TRILLION songs not paid for. Nothing serious ONE TRILLION DOLLARS shared by all the hard working musicians. But fans could care less and they continue to STREAM RIP and pay nothing for music! Nice people these fans!

  2. Kelvin

    Your numbers are way off and you’ve completely lost your mind.

  3. Ned

    Clapton, who can now be referred to as “slowbrain” has turned into a real class(less) act.

  4. OK

    At least she didn’t steal the music of Robert Johnson and Buddy Guy.

  5. Fully Vaccinated and Not a Scrooge

    I’m considering an old-fashioned book burning, er cd and vinyl burning of his material that I legally own. Heck, if I throw in Don Henley’s catalog, I may have a real bonfire going!

  6. Mississippi Delta

    lawyers, corporations and cranky millionaires sellin their souls to the devil…