Really annoys me when “celebrities” kick off cos a photo of them has been used without permission. In the Rhiannha v Topshop case, the mediocre singer complained because the shop was selling t-shirts bearing her photograph. She claimed that Topshop were making out that she had endorsed the use of the photo. Rihanna won because the High Court decided that despite the copyright licence a substantial number of purchasers would have believed that Rihanna endorsed the sale of the product shirt with her image– because the image was taken from her current album – Talk That Talk – and Topshop had collaborated in the past with trend setting celebrities (from www.fashionlaw.co.uk).
This kind of crap is ridiculous, and demonstrates how $$$ is more important than the facts and the law in courts. When a photographer shoots a photo of an individual, the copyright belongs to the photographer, whether the subject of the photo likes it or not (this is English law). As for this nonsense that the public might think Rhianna endorsed the t-shirt in question – that has nothing to do with it. The t-shirt did not bear any lettering suggesting that the crap pop star liked the t-shirt.
Rhianna, probably realizing that she would be broke in a few years, decided to get a few extra bucks suing Topshop. Stupid (as you might expect from a pop bimbo with less brain than a stick insect) – instead of taking Topshop to court, she could have got her lawyers to arrange for her to be paid royalties. But no: the twat tries to occupy the moral highground (and how in hell did she manage that?).
At Shmoosmiths.co.uk, it was reported that Judge Justice Birss was at pains to point out that no new law was being developed as a result of his findings:
Unlike other jurisdictions (including many US states) there is no such thing in English law as ‘image rights’. In some jurisdictions it is possible for celebrities to rely on extensive statutory protection for their personal brand covering everything from their voice to their signature. In Guernsey it is possible to register such rights. However, in the UK the courts have refused to extend the law to prevent the use of a celebrity’s image if they consider that the use is simply fair competition without misrepresentation.
In the UK celebrities may be able to use existing law to protect their images and reputations in certain circumstances.
So, were those “certain circumstances” met in this case? I think not. Basically, Rhianna’s singing skills are leaving fast. All the silly cow has going for her are her looks. It won’t be long before those fail her and she ends up looking like the back end of a bus. So she’s making the most of them while they last. Hence the court action.
As a photographer, I have the right to take pictures of just about anyone I want to, so long as I am standing on public roads/areas or have permission of the landowner that I’m standing on, and so long as the subject of my photography does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as far as I can tell, Rhianna did not have a reasonable expectation. And, also very important, Topshop had obtained a licence of the copyright in the photograph. Topshop owned the copyright, the photo was taken legally… yet Rhianna still won. English courts are ridiculous. Rhianna (and her legal team): a bunch of pillocks. Fuck Rhianna and all who sail in her.
Here’s another blog post about Rhiana from Mind of Malaka “What do Rhianna and my daughter have in common?” It’s not about this story on the photos… but if you don’t want your kids to grow up seeing Rhianna as some kind of role model, click of the link and read it. Stupid dopey Rhianna fool, she is one big mass of idiocy-with-money…