Ugh, can we just wave some kind of magic wand that makes it so everything we know about Eric Clapton is erased, and his only claim to fame is wailing on a guitar on a song that got sampled by Martin Scorsese in the third act of Goodfellas? Because late-stage Eric Clapton is kind of a supreme pain in the ass. Eric Clapton, noted anti-anti-racist and anti-vaxxer, also happens to be the kind of person who will sue a person over eleven dollars. Multi-millionaire Eric found the time and energy to sue a German eBay seller who was trying to sell a CD.
DW reports that a Düsseldorf court awarded Eric Clapton a victory on Wednesday, against a 55-year-old German woman known only as Gabriele P., from the town of Ratingen. The woman was trying to sell a bootleg recording of an Eric Clapton concert from the 1980s on eBay for €9.95. Gabriele P. claimed in court that the CD was given to her by her late husband, who purchased the CD at a well-known department store in 1987. Because the CD featured a bootlegged recording, Eric Clapton saw the legal grounds to pursue Gabriel P., and have the CD yanked from eBay, and punish said lady to the fullest extent of the law (which in this case, means paying legal fees). The Guardian writes that Eric Clapton’s lawyers first sent her a threatening letter, telling her to remove the listing. She reportedly responded to that letter with the following message:
“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.”
Eric Clapton’s legal team took that threat on Gabriele P’s word, and an injunction was filed. A judge ruled that Eric Clapton was well within his right to go after Gabriele’s eBay sale. Gabriele appealed the situation, stressing that she had no idea the material on the CD was an illegal recording. But the court said it didn’t matter if she didn’t know, or if her late husband told her he bought it at a department store. It was an illegal recording, and therefore Eric Clapton could sic his lawyers on her.
Eric Clapton’s legal win means that if Gabriele P. tries to sell that bootleg CD again, she’ll be fined €250,000 (or about $281,000) or face six months in prison. She has also been ordered to pay the legal fees of both parties, which total €3,400 (nearly $4000). Eric Clapton’s lawyers released a statement regarding the judgment, via 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.”
Ah Germany…home of beer, pretzels, lederhosen, Heidi Klum, and shady bootleg rock concert CDs, apparently! And I know the law is the law, but why does a rich old three-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee need to chase an eBay seller down for $11? I know it’s the principle of it, but it sounds like the rich old rock star version of demanding to see the permit of a child’s $1 lemonade stand. Although to be fair, Uptight Karen is kind of Eric Clapton’s brand at this point.