Eric Clapton has won a legal case against a 55-year-old German woman selling a bootleg live CD for €9.95 (£8.45), Deutsche Welle reports.
The woman, known as Gabriele P, claimed she was unaware that she was committing copyright infringement by listing the CD titled Eric Clapton – Live USA, which contains recordings of performances from the 1980s, on eBay. She told the court that the listing was removed after one day.
Lawyers for the 76-year-old rock star pursued the case, and sent a Düsseldorf regional court an affidavit stating that the recordings were illegal and made without Clapton’s consent.
In response to a standard letter from Clapton’s German legal team, the woman replied: “I object and ask you not to harass or contact me any further”, and told them “feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands”.
An injunction was filed and the court found in Clapton’s favour. The woman appealed, stating that her late husband bought the disc in 1987 at a popular German department store, but lost. The judge said it was irrelevant that she did not buy the CD herself.
The court stipulated that she must pay the legal fees of both parties, which total £2,889. In the highly unlikely event that she continued to list the CD for sale, she could under German copyright law face a fine of up to £212,353 or six months in prison.
Clapton’s manager, Michael Eaton, told the Guardian: “Germany is a country where sales of bootleg and counterfeit CDs are rife, which damages the industry and customers with poor quality and misleading recordings. Along with a number of other major artists and record companies, over a number of years Eric Clapton has, through German lawyers, successfully pursued hundreds of bootleg cases in the German courts under routine German copyright procedures.
“Costs are usually minimal unless the case is argued in court, which is what happened here as the lady instructed her own lawyers. Now that the full facts of this particular case have come to light, the intention is that the formal German proceedings will not be pursued any further.”
The woman’s lawyer told Bild that they intended to appeal again. The Guardian has contacted her legal representatives for further comment.
Clapton has made headlines in the past 18 months for taking a staunch stance against Covid-19 protective measures such as lockdowns, vaccines and vaccine passports.
He claimed to have experienced a severe physical reaction to his first dose of the AstraZeneca jab, and referred to scientific research – which has found vaccines to be safe and life-saving – as “propaganda”.
In December 2020, he collaborated with another noted vaccine sceptic, Van Morrison, on the song Stand and Deliver, which likens adherence to government restrictions to slavery.
The song prompted the Black blues musician Robert Cray, who was born in segregated Georgia, to withdraw from supporting Clapton on his US summer tour as planned, the Washington Post reported.
On that tour, Clapton was photographed posing with Texas governor Greg Abbott, who signed into law the country’s most restrictive abortion legislation and a measure to limit who can vote in the state.
In October, Clapton told a site run by a prominent anti-vax campaigner: “Over the past year, there’s been a lot of disappearing, you know – little dust around with people moving away quite quickly. And it has, for me, refined the kind of friendships I have. And it’s dwindled down to the people that I obviously really need and love.”