Rihanna Image Infringed by Topshop 

July, 2013 - Gary Assim

The High Court has ruled in favour of pop star Rihanna against high street clothes retailer Topshop, which used an unauthorised image of her (almost identical to one used on her CD) on some of its T-shirts.

Customers had believed it was an approved image, so the High Court confirmed Topshop was guilty of passing off. 

Whilst the judge stated that there is no 'general right by a famous person to control the reproduction of their image', Rihanna's image, and the reputation in it, were the important factors in this case. It is likely to spark further debate about whether formal image rights should be available or recognised under English law.

At present, only Guernsey has a formal registration system for image rights (see http://ow.ly/nuy7b). Interestingly, Topshop sells in Guernsey, and it is highly likely the Rihanna T-shirts were on sale there. Consider, then, that Rihanna had registered her image in Guernsey. She could have added infringement of registered image rights to her claim, which could have led to a landmark judgment. 

Any other celebrities out there with similar claims? Are the goods you are complaining about sold in Guernsey? If so, you might consider registering your image in Guernsey and adding it to your claim in England.



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