Rihanna Wins T-Shirt Lawsuit Against Unapologetic Store
Singer shames Topshop in British court, demands tank tops be destroyed
Rihanna shouldn’t have any trouble paying those pesky court fines. The BBC reports that the Unapologetic singer has won the $5 million lawsuit she brought against British fashion retailer Topshop over the sale of T-shirts bearing her image.
In March of last year, the clothing chain started selling a shirt dubbed the “Rihanna Tank,” which featured a photo of the starlet taken during a 2011 video shoot. According to Reuters, Topshop had a license from the freelance photographer who snapped the shot, but did not receive permission from Rihanna to use her likeness.
A High Court judge in London ruled in favor of Robyn Ferry, a.k.a. Rihanna, on Wednesday, July 30, following a four-day hearing. In his decision, the judge said that a “substantial number” of shoppers were likely duped into buying the t-shirt because they assumed it was officially authorized by the “Diamonds” queen herself. The judge added that the sales were damaging to Rihanna’s “goodwill” and had an unfavorable effect on her reputation in the “fashion sphere.” He did clearly state, though, that there’s “no such thing as a general right by a famous person to control the reproduction of their image” (via E!).
“The taking of the photograph is not suggested to have breached Rihanna’s privacy,” the judge said. “The mere sale by a trader of a T-shirt bearing an image of a famous person is not an act of passing off. However I find that Topshop’s sale of this T-shirt was an act of passing off.”
Topshop stated that it was “surprised and disappointed” by the ruling. “We robustly dispute the Judge’s conclusion,” the company said. “There was no evidence of consumer confusion to support the Judge’s conclusion.”
An exact award of damages will likely be determined at a later date. W.E.N.N. notes that Rihanna, who has her own clothing line with River Island, was reportedly seeking an injunction, $5 million in damages, and a guarantee that the remaining shirts will be destroyed.