Rihanna has made legal history after winning a high-profile lawsuit against Topshop, the BBC reports. London’s Court of Appeal upheld a ban against the retailer selling shirts featuring the singer’s image, a photo she argues was used without her permission.
This is the first time in the UK that a celebrity has won a lawsuit of this kind. In the UK, public figures don’t have the right to control how their images are used. However, that changes if a company makes it look like he or she has approved or endorsed it, a practice called “passing off.”
Rihanna originally sued Topshop in 2013; her team argued the photo Topshop used was a paparazzi shot taken while she was filming a music video in Northern Ireland, and she never consented to being photographed. A judge ruled at the time that consumers could mistakenly buy the top thinking it was officially endorsed by Rihanna.
Topshop appealed the decision, claiming that retailers everywhere sell merchandise with celebrities on it, ITV reports. But the ban still stands, thanks to Thursday’s ruling. Topshop cannot sell the shirt without letting customers know it doesn’t have the Rihanna stamp of approval. The Guardian notes that this ruling may encourage more celebrities to take on retailers who use their unauthorized images.