Eric Clapton has successfully sued a woman who was selling a bootleg CD for just £8.45. The 76-year-old actor had taken legal action against a 55-year-old German woman identified only as Gabriele P, who had claimed she was unaware she was committing copyright infringement by listing ‘Eric Clapton – Live USA’ – which contained recordings of performances from the 1980s – on auction site eBay.
Lawyers in Germany had sent a letter to the woman about the listing, and she had replied: “I object and ask you not to harass or contact me any further. Feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands.”
An injunction was filed and the court found in the ‘Wonderful Tonight’ hitmaker’s favour, with the woman then appealing the verdict, stating she had removed the listing after one day and that her late husband had originally bought the CD in 197 at a popular German department store.
Gabriele lost her appeal, with the judge insisting it was irrelevant she didn’t buy the CD herself. The court ordered her to pay both parties’ legal fees, which totalled £2,889 and warned her that if she continued to list the disc for sale, under German copyright law she could be fined up to £212, 353 or jailed for six months.
Michael Eaton, the singer’s manager, said: “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 newspaper that they intend to appeal again.