Eric Clapton Says He Won’t Be Suing That German Widow for Selling His CD on eBay

Eric Clapton CD
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Eric Clapton CD
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Photo Credit: Brett Jordan

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items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a ‘cease and desist’ letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.”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.”

5 Responses

  1. Guitar Zero

    Slowbrain hard at work to cover his actions. Don’t fret, though. He’s stuck his neck out for other hollow efforts recently that hit a bad chord with the public and common decency.

  2. JAS

    See, this follow up story highlights the problem with media lately.
    The original story very much made it seem Eric was going after a poor widow trying to get $11 for her deceased husband’s bootleg CD.

    Turns out the real story id Clapton along with MANY Artists have a mechanism in place to discourage bootleggers in a pretty automatic way. Then there is the widow herself not complying with a cease and desist letter and getting a lawyer involved.

    Her non action, then appealing etc, completely changes the story.

    I guess poor harmless widow gets sued by Eric Clapton himself for an $11 bootleg makes better headlines.

    ‘News’ reporting has gotten pathetic every where these last few years.

    • Erik K

      You’re assuming that the latest version of this story is true and correct, but it isn’t. While the lady was in the wrong, Clapton was heavy-handed and took action where it wasn’t needed. Do some real research; not the kind that DMN pushes.

  3. Johnny

    Bootlegs, burning CDs, sharing huge Libraries on stick drives, Illegal downloading, etc. etc,. fans doing everything possible to avoid paying the musicians for their music. How do they think musicians feed their families and pay their electric bills? Then wonder why the quality of music continues to decline. How about paying other musicians to play on albums? Who pays for that now? Great horn sections, wonderful violins, violas and cellos/ using a Professional string Arranger, or how about a large choral section. Who pays for that now on Spotify? Not to mention the musician who sometimes spends years recording a new album. And now he doesn’t deserve a penny for this work? This huge ‘free for all’ has to end. And musicians need to post how much albums cost to make so that the fans can see that too. One guy shouting over a drum loop is much cheaper than recording a song like Bohemian Rhapsody which cost $600,000. But the fans seem to think that musicians are all okay with free music on Youtube. And then you wonder why so many people are now listening to music from the 60s and 70s, back in the day when musicians got paid for their work!

    • Reality Chuck

      Consumers don’t care. Music is, and has been, viewed as a valueless commodity for a long time now (over a decade).

      Re your last comment, people are listening to music from the 50s-80s because it was (and continues to be) better music – period.