Eric Clapton Sues Woman Over $11 Bootleg CD Sold Online

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

Imagine this scenario. You’re a 55-year-old widow and you’ve decided to sell some things on eBay. While digging through old items you don’t need, you find an old Eric Clapton live album. The recording of the legendary guitarist‘s concert belonged to your late husband. After listing the CD on eBay for about $11 you find yourself in court, forced to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees, and being threatened with prison time. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Well, that’s life for a German woman from the town of Ratingen.

According to DW, the Düsseldorf regional court came to a decision on the case on Wednesday. Before that, Eric Clapton sent the court an affidavit stating that the recordings contained on the CD were illegal. The unnamed defendant appealed the initial ruling. She claimed that she had no idea that the CD was a bootleg. Furthermore, she claims that her husband purchased the CD from a “well-known department store” more than three decades ago. The judge decreed that none of that mattered and denied her appeal.

In the end, the court ordered the unnamed woman to pay her court costs as well as Eric Clapton’s court costs. All told, she’ll be paying about €3,400. At the current conversion rate, that comes out to $3,827.79. Furthermore, if she tries to sell the CD again, she’s looking at €250,000 ($281,455.25) in fines or up to six months in prison.  

The price of the Eric Clapton bootleg disc might be the worst part of the whole thing. The defendant listed the CD for a whopping €9.95 which comes out to $11.20. That’s before shipping fees, applicable taxes, or eBay’s cut of the transaction.

Eric Clapton Burns Bridges

Recently, Eric Clapton has garnered criticism from many of his longtime fans. In July, Clapton, through London-based anti-vaxxer Robin Monotti, stated that he would no longer play shows at venues with COVID restrictions. He said he was “honor-bound” to make the statement. Furthermore, Slowhand said he refused to play to a “segregated” audience. This statement drew criticism from fans who think that certain safety precautions should be in place.

His view on vaccine and mask mandates at shows earned Clapton praise from many fans. Then, in September, Eric Clapton played New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center. That venue, according to Rolling Stone had both a vaccine and mask mandate in place at the time. All ticketholders had to either have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine or provide a negative test taken within 72 hours of the event. Furthermore, concertgoers were required to wear masks unless they were eating or drinking. This, of course, drew criticism from those who had praised him online for his previous statement.