Eric Clapton, despite being one of the all-time most revered guitarists and the man behind classic songs like “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight,” hasn’t earned a ton of goodwill for himself lately: The musician has refused to play venues with COVID vaccine mandates (but later did so anyway) and has given financial assistance to an anti-vax band.
Now, he finds himself in a situation that might rub some folks the wrong way: German publication DW notes that Clapton won a legal case against a 55-year-old German woman who was attempting to sell a CD featuring a bootleg recording of a Clapton concert from the ’80s, with the eBay price set at a lofty €9.95 (about $11.25). The decision was reached in a German court on Wednesday, December 15, and the injunction requires the defendant to pay the legal fees of both parties, which are approximately €3,400 (about $3,844) in total. If she continues to offer the CD for sale, she faces a fine of €250,000 (about $282,653) or six months in prison.
The defendant said she was unaware she was infringing copyright when putting the CD for sale and claimed that her late husband bought that CD from “a well-known department store” in 1987. The court ruled, though, that it didn’t matter that the defendant didn’t buy the CD herself and that she didn’t know the recording was made illegally.
It would seem this case was a matter of principal for Clapton, as a single bootleg sale likely wouldn’t put much of a dent in his bottom line: In the history of recorded music, only a few dozen artists have sold more albums than Clapton has.