Reporting Shannon Carlin
She found money in a hopeless case.
Rihanna won her $5 million dollar lawsuit against Arcadia, the parent company of British retailer Topshop, over a sleeveless tee that bared an unapproved image of the singer.
The shirt, which featured an image of the Rihanna taken during a 2011 video shoot for “We Found Love,” was originally sold on the company’s site as the “Rihanna Tank,” but following a complaint from the singer’s camp they changed the name to “Headscarf Girl Tank,” and then again to “Icon Tank,” according to BuzzFeed.
Rihanna’s lawyers—the singer was not present at the trial—told the London court that the featured image was very similar to ones used in the promotion of her 2011 album Talk That Talk and that they felt the retail company had tricked fans into thinking Rihanna had played a part in the making of the shirt.
In their defense, Topshop said that image they used of Rihanna was taken in a public place where there was no expectation of privacy, stating that according to the current British legal system, an image taken in a public place didn’t “constitute trademark, image, license or rights infringement.”
According to the BBC, the judge agreed that the image did not breach Rihanna’s privacy. But said a “substantial number” of buyers were likely deceived into buying the T-shirt because of a “false belief” that Rihanna herself approved the shirt, ruling that the company was guilty of “passing off” or misrepresenting their goods as being associated with the singer for their own gain.
After the ruling, Topshop told the press that they were “surprised, disappointed and perplexed” by the outcome, stating that “there was no intention to create and appearance of an endorsement or promotion.”
“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,” the company told the BBC.
Rihanna has her own fashion line, River Island, which launched his summer collection back in May.