A source exclusively tells us the superstar’s team had tried to negotiate with Topshop owners Arcadia Group for eight months over the rights to her image, “but they offered her $5,000 and said they don’t care.”
Rihanna, 25, has hired international law firm Reed Smith to file the suit in London.
The source said, “Rihanna’s management asked Topshop a number of times to stop selling her image and were told, ‘We do what we want.’ They buy the pictures from a photographer, but they do not pay the artist licensing fees. Unfortunately, UK law does not protect the artist.
“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,” our source continued.
“Even though the UK laws don’t protect the artist, she has decided to move forward and sue Topshop. She has spent almost $1 million in litigation at this point. She says it’s the principle, and wants to make a statement about it. They are taking advantage of artists. It is just exploitation. What they are doing is wrong.”
We’re told the case is now in discovery. Rihanna has handed over details of her fashion deals with Armani and River Island, a competitor to Topshop in the UK.
A Topshop source told us: “This issue is related to a T-shirt provided to Topshop by a third-party supplier. We are aware it is the subject of litigation. [There are] public documents” available for inspection in the London court.
The source added, “The amount of damages sought has not been articulated anywhere in the claimant’s document.”
A rep for Topshop declined to comment last night. Rihanna’s rep didn’t get back to us.