disrespect the classics

Eric Clapton, Recurring 2021 Villain, Wins $11 Bootleg CD Lawsuit

Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Maybe lay down for a bit, man. Eric Clapton has capped off his Year of Jackassery by winning a lawsuit against a German widow who tried to sell an unauthorized bootleg album on eBay for $11. Rolling Stone reports that the woman claims she was unaware that the album, Eric Clapton — Live USA, fell under the category of copyright infringement; her late husband had purchased it at a department store in the late ’80s. “They told me Eric Clapton had complained,” she told German newspaper Bild last month. “The CD is said to have been recorded illegally. I received a warning first, then the ruling.” Despite an appeal, a Düsseldorf regional court judge ordered the woman to pay nearly $4,000 in legal fees for both parties, and if she attempts to sell the copy of Eric Clapton — Live USA again, she would face a fine of about $281,000 or serve six months in prison. While Clapton has not commented on the lawsuit, his manager told The Guardian that 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.” We’re sure Slowhand is celebrating this big win with all of his friends … oh, wait

Update, December 22: Friendless martyr Eric Clapton will not be collecting the nearly $4,000 settlement from the German widow. Clapton’s management issued a statement to his fan club clarifying that it was they, and not Clapton himself, who filed the lawsuit. “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,” they said. This difference in this case, according to Clapton’s management, was that this gosh dang widow didn’t comply with the original cease and desist letter, writing back, “feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands.” Fun fact: If you write to Clapton’s lawyer saying “go ahead and sue me!” they’re going to sue you.

“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,” the statement continued. “Also, he hopes the individual will not herself incur any further costs.”

Eric Clapton, 2021 Villain, Wins $11 Bootleg CD Lawsuit