Eric Clapton's management has released a "clarification" regarding the musician's lawsuit against a German widow after she posted a listing for a pirated version of his "Eric Clapton - Live USA" album for $11 on eBay.
Last week, Clapton won the lawsuit against the woman, who claimed she was unaware that her dead husband's CD was pirated and removed the listing a day after posting it. The judge in the case said that the fact that she didn't acquire the CD herself was irrelevant and ordered her to pay for both parties' legal fees (about $3,900).
Now Clapton's management has issued a statement to the guitarist's fan club clarifying the 76-year-old's role in the situation, as well as why they pursued legal action in the first place.
The statement reads as follows: "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items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a 'cease and desist' letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.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."
If the woman tries to sell the CD again, she could face a fine of $282,000 or six months in prison.
This past summer, Clapton made headlines when he announced he will no longer perform at any venues that require attendees to show proof of vaccination. The announcement came after U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson's mandate that "vaccine passports" be required for entrance into nightclubs and venues.
Clapton previously criticized the lockdowns instituted around the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and stoked fear and conspiracy theories after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Clapton recounted his negative experience with the AstraZeneca shot, suggesting the side effects had been so "severe" that he was afraid that he would "never play again." He also said he was inspired by another musician-turned-anti-vaccine activist, Van Morrison.