Eric Clapton Management has issued a statement in response to reports stemming from a German woman selling a bootleg Clapton CD on eBay.
As previously reported, the aforementioned woman was selling her late husband’s CDs on eBay, and she said her husband had bought the Clapton bootleg from a department store over 30 years ago. The bootleg was listed for the equivalent of $11.
Clapton, citing the fact that it was an unauthorized album, sent the court an affidavit, and the Düsseldorf Regional Court ruled in his favor and rejected the woman’s appeal on the ruling where she said she neither bought the CD herself initially nor knew, at the time she listed it on eBay, that it was a bootleg. She now faces a fine of the equivalent of $280,000 and six months in jail if she continues to try to sell the album… for $11.
Following reports of this legal issue, Clapton’s management issued the following statement via his fan club website:
“Given the widespread and often misleading press reports about a recent bootleg case involving a woman in Germany, the following provides clarification to set the record straight.
Germany is one of several countries where sales of unauthorized and usually poor-quality illegal bootleg CDs are rife, which harms both the industry and purchasers of 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.
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items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a “cease and desist” letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.
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% of the cases are resolved before going to Court.
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.
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 of the 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, 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.”