Eric Clapton‘s management said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t pursue the nearly $4,000 fine ordered against a German widow who attempted to sell a Clapton bootleg online.
Following a significant public backlash again the three-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Clapton’s management attempted to clarify the guitarist’s role in the suit, as well as their reason for pursuing legal action, in a statement to his fan club.
Germany, the statement explains, “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.
“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,” the statement continues. Had the widow, Gabrielle P., complied with the cease-and-desist letter, they say, “any costs would be minimal, or might be waived.”
However, the woman — who claimed that she had inherited the disc from her late husband and didn’t realize it was bootlegged — told them through her lawyer to “feel free to file a lawsuit if you insist on the demands.” Her attempt to have the case dismissed was rejected and the judge ruled in favor of Clapton’s camp, ordering her to pay $4,000 in legal fees for both parties.
“If the individual had complied” and “explained at the outset the full facts…any claim might have been waived, and costs avoided,” Clapton’s management said.
“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,” they say, Clapton decided not to take further action.
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