Eric Clapton Rethinks Collecting Nearly $4,000 Fine From Widow Selling Bootleg

Eric Clapton’s management said that the guitarist would not pursue the nearly $4,000 fine ordered against a German widow who attempted to sell a Clapton bootleg online.

Perhaps in an effort to quiet the uproar that followed Clapton’s team seeking legal action against a woman who put her dead husband’s unknowingly unauthorized CD on eBay, the guitarist’s management issued a statement to the guitarist’s fan club clarifying Clapton’s role in the situation, as well as why they pursued legal action in the first place.

As Clapton’s management explained, Germany “is one of several countries where sales of unauthorized and usually poor-quality illegal bootleg CDs are rife.” As a result, Clapton “and a significant number of other well-known artists and record companies” hired German lawyers in the region to restrict the sale of the bootlegs.

“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,” Clapton’s management said. “It is not the intention to target individuals selling isolated CDs from their own collection, but rather the active bootleggers manufacturing unauthorized copies for sale. In the case of an individual selling unauthorized items from a personal collection, if following receipt of a ‘cease and desist’ letter the offending items are withdrawn, any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.”

However, the widow — Gabriele P. — did not comply with that initial cease and desist order, Clapton’s management said, and told them — through her lawyer — to “feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands.” Gabriele P.’s attempt to have the case dismissed was rejected and, as a result, the judge sided with Clapton’s camp, ordering her to pay $4,000 in 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.

However, Clapton’s team have ultimately decided to take the high road. “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,” his management said. “Also, he hopes the individual will not herself incur any further costs”; if Gabriele P. were to re-list the bootleg on eBay, she would face a fine of €250,000 or six months in prison, the judge previously ruled.

With the legal stuff out of the way, Clapton fans can look forward to Friday’s release of his new song “Heart of a Child,” which he co-wrote alongside his friend and fellow vaccine skeptic Robin Monotti.

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