Eric Clapton drops legal action against widow who tried to sell bootleg CD

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
Eric Clapton drops legal action against widow who tried to sell bootleg CD
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Eric Clapton
    Eric Clapton
    English musician

Eric Clapton is not pursuing the fine issued against a German widow who tried to sell a bootleg CD of his online.

The guitarist received a backlash after it emerged that his legal team were seeking action against a woman who listed her late husband’s CD for sale online for around £8.45, not knowing it was unauthorised.

An injunction was issued on Clapton’s behalf, requiring the defendant to pay both parties’ legal fees, amounting to around €3,400 (£2,880).

If she continued her attempt to sell the CD, she would face a fine of €250,000 (£212,000) or six months in prison.

However, Clapton’s management have now said he is not pursuing the fine and explained why they pursued legal action in the first place, in a statement posted to his website.

They said that Germany is “one of several countries where sales of unauthorised and usually poor-quality illegal bootleg CDs are rife”, in response to which Clapton and “a significant number of other well-known artists and record companies” hired German lawyers to tackle the issue.

“Eric Clapton’s lawyers and management team (rather than Eric 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 per cent of the cases are resolved before going to court,” the statement said.

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items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a ‘cease and desist’ letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.”

Clapton in March 2020 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Clapton in March 2020 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The management team claimed that the widow, Gabriele P, did not comply with their initial cease and desist order and told them to “feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands”.

Her attempt to have the case dismissed was rejected, after which the judge ordered her to pay the legal fees for both parties.

“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,” Clapton’s management said.

Ultimately, they said it became clear that Gabriele P was “not the type of person Eric Clapton, or his record company, wishes to target”.

“Eric Clapton decided not to take any further action and does not intend to collect the costs awarded to him by the court,” the statement said. It added that Clapton and his team hope that Gabriele P would “not herself incur any further costs”, referring to the consequences were she to re-list the CD for sale.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting