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Rihanna sues Topshop for $5 million

British retailer Topshop hit with $5 million lawsuit for selling unauthorized Rihanna t-shirt.
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Ryan Porter, May 17, 2013 9:07:44 AM

Rihanna has a song for Topshop: I want you to payyyyyyyyyyy. The 25-year-old has sued the British retailer for $5 million for selling unauthorized Rihanna t-shirts. It’s so off-brand for the singer–everyone knows Rihanna doesn’t wear shirts.

In the U.K., clothing manufacturers pay the photographer for the rights to put someone’s image on a shirt. In the U.S., the subject of the photo charges a licensing fee. Rihanna, who has her own clothing line with River Island, hasn’t given the image her blessing, and the shirt isn’t sold in American and Canadian Topshops.

The ongoing law suit has cost Rihanna “almost $1 million” over eight months, a source told the New York Post. Topshop offered her a token $5,000, the Post reports, but have no intention of pulling it from their stores.

Rihanna is pushing forward with the lawsuit anyway to make a point. “She says it’s the principle, and wants to make a statement about it,” a source says. “They are taking advantage of artists. It is just exploitation. What they are doing is wrong.” Rihanna’s River Island line is in direct competition to Topshop, and details of their deal are part of the suit, as is her contract with Armani.

Rihanna probably isn’t the best poster child to challenge this law, as her face is already everywhere but your tshirt. But how weird would it be if a designer took your cyber selfies and started making tshirts with them? That argument makes me feel like Rihanna is fighting the good fight, even if the queen of the semi-nude Instagram snap isn’t necessarily the most sympathetic subject.

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Ryan Porter

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