Eric Clapton has issued a statement following news of his lawsuit against a German widow selling a bootleg CD.
Clapton says he wants to “set the record straight.” “Germany is one of several countries were sales of unauthorized and usually poor-quality illegal bootleg CDs are rife, which harms both the industry and purchasers of an inferior product. Over a period of more than 10 years the German lawyers appointed by Eric Clapton, and a significant number of other well-known artists and record companies, have successfully pursued thousands of bootleg cases under routine copyright procedures,” the statement begins.
“It is not the intention to target individuals selling isolated CDs from their own collection, but rather the active bootleggers manufacturing unauthorised copies for sale. In the case of an individual selling unauthorised items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a ‘cease and desist’ letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.”
This part of the statement references the fact that the widow would have had to pay Clapton’s court costs if the lawsuit went forward. She tried to sell a bootleg CD for $11 on eBay, wasn’t successful and withdrew the sale after she was contacted.
“Eric Clapton’s lawyers and management team (rather than Eric Clapton personally) identifies if an item offered for sale is illegal, and a declaration confirming that is signed, but thereafter Eric Clapton is not involved in any individual cases, and 95% of cases are resolved before going to court,” the statement says. It also blames the widow for daring them to sue her.
“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, ‘ 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 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,”
“However, the individual appointed a lawyer who appealed the injunction decision. The judge encouraged the individual to withdraw the appeal to save costs, but she proceeded. The appeal failed and she was ordered to pay the costs of the court and all parties.”
“However, when the full facts of this particular case came to light and it was clear the individual is not the type of person Eric Clapton, or his record company, wish to target, 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.”