Rihanna Sues Topshop: Singer Wants $5 Million For T-Shirt; ‘Topshop Told Her, We Do What We Want’
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Rihanna is suing British high street fashion giant Topshop for $5 million for selling T-shirts bearing her image without her consent.
The New York Post reports that Rihanna’s team had tried to negotiate with Topshop owners Arcadia Group for eight months over the rights to her image.
“They offered her $5,000 and said they don’t care,” a source said.
Now, Rihanna, 25, has hired international law firm Reed Smith to file the lawsuit in London.
“Rihanna’s management asked Topshop a number of times to stop selling her image and were told, ‘We do what we want,’” the source said.
“They buy the pictures from a photographer, but they do not pay the artist licensing fees. Unfortunately, UK law does not protect the artist.
“What is most offensive for Rihanna is that they basically told her, ‘Go to h***. We don’t care; we are going to continue selling you.’ Topshop is now in the United States.
“They set up in Manhattan and Nordstrom, but they know better than to do this in the US because they would get in trouble,” the source said.
“Even though the UK laws don’t protect the artist, she has decided to move forward and sue Topshop. She has spent almost $1 million in litigation at this point.
“She says it’s the principle, and wants to make a statement about it. They are taking advantage of artists. It is just exploitation. What they are doing is wrong.”
Women’s Wear Daily reports that if Rihanna wins the lawsuit, it will be a groundbreaking decision in “personality” rights.
“In the U.K., unlike the U.S., there is no right of personality. Anyone who legally purchases an image can use it, unless it is trademarked. And it’s rare that an image would be trademarked. A legal source said Rihanna’s lawyers would have to prove that the Topshop T-shirt portrayed Rihanna as “endorsing” the brand,” WWD explains.
May 20, 2013 12:19 PM EDT