Rihanna is suing British fast fashion giant Topshop for $5 million for selling tank tops bearing her image without her consent. According to the singer's lawsuit, which is well under-way in a London court, her team tried to negotiate with the Arcadia Group (Topshop's parent company) for about eight months over the rights to her image, “but they offered her $5,000 and said they don’t care.” Some reports say Topshop bought the image at issue from the original photographer, but has not paid Rihanna any of the relevant licensing fees. Other reports allege that the retailer giant bought the shirts from a third party supplier. (We think the latter is more likely the case).
According to a source for the NY Post: “What is most offensive for Rihanna is that they basically told her, ‘Go to hell. 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.” Yes, they would get in trouble in the U.S., for copyright infringement, among other claims, but in the U.K., laws are not in place to protect the artist. Rihanna has decided to go forth with the suit anyway.