Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Rihanna wins Topshop T-shirt legal battle

Somewhere in the world while on tour, Rihanna is smiling to herself over her latest victory.

Rihanna wins Topshop T-shirt legal battle

Rihanna performs on stage at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Rihanna performs on stage at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Somewhere in the world while on tour, Rihanna is smiling to herself over her latest victory.

The pop singer won a legal battle against fast fashion retailer Topshop in London Wednesday over T-shirts bearing her image.

After nearly a year of back and forth exchanges, the artist sued Topshop parent company Arcadia Group Brands, Ltd. for $5 million over the products stamped with her photo and sold in 2011 and early 2012. The shirts, initially dubbed the "Rihanna Tank," were later called the "Icon Tank" and the "Headscarf Girl Tank" after Rihanna had complained. Her legal team asserted that the retailer had not only "duped" fans, but the offensive tees may have affected the star's ability to control her "reputation" within the fashion industry.

Rihanna, who is slowly growing her own fashion empire, currently has a line with River Island.

Topshop, on the other hand, claimed that they had the right to use what they believed was a "free standing image," acquired by the retailer from a photographer who had taken the image of Rihanna during the "We Found Love" video shoot in Ireland in 2011. Under the British legal system, when a brand acquires an image of an artist, they are able to use it without paying licensing fees to the artist.

According to the BBC, the judge ruled that "substantial number" of buyers were tricked into buying the products over the "false belief" that Rihanna had endorsed the tees. He added that the sales of the shirt damaged the pop singer's "goodwill," though emphasizing in this opinion that there is "no such thing as a general right by a famous person to the control the reproduction of their image."

The amount of damages owed to the star was not disclosed during Wednesday's ruling.

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