On September 2, 2019, American popstar Ariana Grande (“Grande”) filed a lawsuit in US Federal Court against clothing company Forever 21 and its beauty brand, Riley Rose, for allegedly using her name, likeness and music for its own benefit without her permission. The claim brought by Grande seeks 10 million USD in damages for copyright and trademark infringement, false endorsement, and violating her right of publicity.
The claim alleges that earlier this year, Forever 21 and Grande met regarding a potential endorsement deal, which ultimately resulted in Grande declining due to “Forever 21’s unwillingness to pay the fair market value”. Shortly after, Forever 21 and Riley Rose posted images of at least 30 unauthorized images and videos on social media, which Grande claims, are likely to create a false perception of her endorsement.
The social media posts depicted a model with an “uncanny” resemblance to Grande dressed in a manner similar to how Grande was dressed in her music videos. According to the claim, the posts contained trademarks, lyrics, images, video and audio from Grande’s recent album “Thank U, Next”.
Under the California Civil Code, it states that in order to use a person’s likeness for profit, their consent must be obtained. Nonetheless, there have been cases where even if a celebrity’s likeness had been captured, it was found that consumers, when faced with the likeness, would not be confused as to whether it was actually the celebrity.
Forever 21 and Riley Rose has yet to respond to the claim.
Summary By: Juliette Sakran
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