Rihanna Wins Topshop Lawsuit Over Graphic T-Shirt That Used Her Face

Meghan Blalock

rihanna topshop shirtWhen it comes to going after whomever uses her image for profit, Rihanna doesn’t mess around, and a court of law just confirmed that her no-tolerance attitude toward the issue is warranted. According to the Telegraph, a judge in England’s High Court ruled in favor of the singer in her lawsuit against mass retailer Topshop, whom RiRi sued for $5 million in May after they started selling a T-shirt with her photo on it without her permission.

A judge ruled that Topshop’s sale of the tee had been an act of “passing off,” and that a “substantial number” of customers were likely to have bought the garment because of a “false belief” that it had been approved by Rihanna herself. The justice added that the sale of the shirt was damaging to her “goodwill” and represented a “loss of control of her reputation in the fashion sphere.”

For its part, a rep from Topshop says the company is “surprised and disappointed by the judgement handed down today. We feel that the fact that Rihanna has shopped, worn and had a relationship with Topshop for several years appears to have been detrimental to our case.”

RiRi, on the other hand, has remained mum on the ruling, but she doesn’t exactly need to say anything, because she’s already won.

Typically in cases like these, brands like Topshop buy images of artists from the photographers who snapped the shot, not from the artist herself. So this ruling is a bit surprising, and might set a dangerous new precedent in the U.K., in which artists are owed royalties on every single image that exists in their likeness.

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