Rihanna takes legal action against Topshop for using her image on T-shirts

T-shirts bearing the singers image were on display at London's High Court

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T-shirts bearing Rihanna's image have been on display at London's High Court, where the singer is understood to be suing a British retailer for using her image.

Lawyers for the star are reportedly seeking damages from Arcadia Group Brands Ltd., which owns the Topshop fashion chain, after it sold shirts bearing her picture without permission.

The shirts were initially sold as the “Rihanna Tank” and then as the “Headscarf Girl Tank” and the “Icon Tank” after she made a complaint.  

Rihanna's lawyers accuse Topshop of attempting to pass off the T-shirt as being approved or authorized by the singer.

According to the BBC, Rihanna's lawyers said: “In 2012, Topshop sold a T-shirt displaying a clearly recognisable image of Rihanna taken when she was on a video shoot. She was wearing her makeup and hairdo for the video shoot, and very similar images of her appeared on her CD inlay (for the album Talk that Talk.)

“The sales...gave rise to a likelihood of deception, damaging Rihanna's goodwill.

“A substantial number of people buying, or even seeing, those T-shirts would think they are approved or somehow connected with Rihanna, when, in fact, they were not approved of or connected with her at all.”

But the store argues Rihanna is seeking legal recognition for a flawed assumption that “only a celebrity or her successors may ever market, or license the marketing, of her own character.”

Geoffrey Hobbs QC, for Topshop, said that as Topshop purchased a licence to use the image from the photographer who took it, they were fully entitled to sell the T-shirt, the BBC reports.

“We resist the claim on two main bases; first, this is, in substance and reality, an impermissible attempt by Rihanna to establish an image reproduction right in the UK. There is no such right.

“On the contrary, Topshop are entitled honestly to sell the garment, having obtained the necessary copyright licence.

“Secondly there is no representation here, given that the garment is fashion wear and not promotional merchandise.”

The hearing continues.