On Tuesday March 1, Dua Lipa was sued for copyright infringement by a Florida reggae band that claimed the British pop star stole her smash hit song “Levitating” from a lesser-known 2017 track. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court, the members of a band called Artikal Sound System claim that Lipa’s “Levitating” was ripped off from the band’s “Live Your Life.”
On Friday March 4, a new complaint filed in Manhattan federal court by songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer accused Lipa of copying their 1979 song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and 1980 song “Don Diablo.” They said the opening melody to “Levitating” was a “duplicate” of the melody to their songs. In this newer lawsuit, Brown and Linzer pointed to press interviews in which they said Lipa had “admitted that she deliberately emulated prior eras” and “took inspiration” from earlier music to create a “retro” sound.
The new lawsuit claims that the “signature melody” from the beginning of “Levitating” — starting just a few seconds into the song when Lipa begins singing, “If you wanna run away with me…” — copied a similar portion of the earlier songs. And the accusers said that section of the song, repeated multiple times, was particularly important because it had helped turn “Levitating” into a viral sensation on TikTok.
“The signature melody is the most listened to and recognizable part of the infringing works and plays a crucial role in their popularity,” attorneys for Brown and Linzer wrote. “Because video creators frequently truncate the already brief snippets of sound on TikTok, the signature melody often comprises fifty percent or more of these viral videos.” Listen to the three songs below.