This case was before the English High Court of Chancery in London. In March 2012, the retailer Topshop started selling a t-shirt with an image of the pop star Rihanna on it. Topshop had a license from the photographer, but not from Rihanna who contended that sale of the t-shirts without her permission infringed her rights.
The court found it "important to state at the outset that this case is not concerned with so called 'image rights'. Whatever may be the position elsewhere in the world, and how ever much various celebrities may wish there were, there is today in England no such thing as a free standing general right by a famous person (or anyone else) to control the reproduction of their image." Instead, "this case is concerned with passing off." The burden was on Rihanna to establish that she has a goodwill and reputation amongst relevant members of the public, the conduct complained of was likely to deceive those members of the public into buying the product because they think it is authorized by her, and that misrepresentation damaged her goodwill. For passing off to succeed, there must be a misrepresentation about trade origin.
The Court concluded that Rihanna "was and is regarded as a style icon by many people..." and that she had ample goodwill to succeed in a passing off action. The scope of her goodwill was not only as a music artist but also in the world of fashion.
"The real issue in this case" was misrepresentation. The Court concluded that a misrepresentation was made, and held that "it is a matter for the claimants and not Topshop to choose what garments the public think are endorsed by her." Finding in favor of Rihanna.
The UK's main retail ISPs were ordered to take measures to block or impede their customers' access to three peer-to-peer file-sharing websites (KAT, H33T and Fenopy) due to infringement. Plaintiffs were record companies. The Court concluded: (i) that UK users of the websites who have accounts with the Defendants have infringed, and are continuing to infringe, the plaintiffs copyrights by copying the Claimants' sound recordings on a large scale; (ii) that users of the Websites infringe the plaintiffs' copyrights both by copying and by communication to the public; and (iii) the operators of the Websites infringe the plaintiffs' copyright. The plaintiffs' application was granted.
Azerbaijan has begun to enforce a law that bans foreign companies from broadcasting on national frequencies, effectively closing its airwaves non-domestic radio broadcasters. Foreign companies are still permitted to broadcast on shortwaves, satellite and cable. “They can broadcast any way they like, except for on our national FM frequency,” said an official in Azerbaijan’s presidential administration.
In response, Gottfried Svartholm Warg, one of four founders of The Pirate Bay, said Monday that "record companies can go screw themselves".
But, for readers interested in the visa application process for UK citizens, here is a link to the US Embassy in London's visa services page.
Show of hands here among lawyers at CMJ? A la carte wins by a landslide.