Pop star Dua Lipa has been accused of copying a Florida reggae band’s song and turning it into one of the singer’s top hits.
A band called Artikal Sound System filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles Tuesday, accusing Lipa, Warner Records, and four songwriters of copying the band’s 2017 song “Live Your Life.”
According to the band, Lipa’s 2021 hit “Levitating” rips off significant elements of the band’s original work.
“Levitating” was the top Billboard Hot 100 song in 2021, and spent more than 68 weeks on the chart, Billboard reported. The song is also the longest-running top 10 song ever by a female artist on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, according to Billboard.
The complaint provides few details as to exactly how Lipa and her co-defendants copied its song, and it doesn’t explain the ways in which the songs are similar.
“In 2020, on information and belief, Defendants listened to and copied ‘Live Your Life’ before and during the time when they were writing ‘Levitating,'” the band’s complaint says.
“‘Levitating’ is substantially similar to ‘Live Your Life,'” the complaint says. “Given the degree of similarity, it is highly unlikely that ‘Levitating’ was created independently from ‘Live Your Life.'”
According to the complaint, Artikal Sound System has been performing and touring together since 2010.
“[T]heir album upon which the song ‘Live Your Life’ appears charted on the Billboard charts at number 2 in the reggae section in 2017,” the complaint says.
Lipa’s “Levitating” is on the album “Future Nostalgia,” which was nominated for a 2021 Album of the Year Grammy award and won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.
In order to win on a copyright infringement claim, a plaintiff must show not only that the defendant copied the song, but that there is substantial similarity between the two.
The determination of “substantial similarity” is more than just a gut feeling. It’s often based on a forensic analysis that determines how much of the original work is copied, and whether the quality or character of expression of the work is similar. Different federal courts apply different tests to make this determination, making it difficult to predict whether a copyright claim will be successful this early in the litigation.
TMZ, the entertainment website which first reported the lawsuit, posted both songs on its website and said that “the two songs do sound awfully similar, especially the chorus.”
The complaint was filed by Artikal Sound System members Christopher Edward Cope, Christopher Edward Montague, Fabian Andres Acuna, Adam Spencer Kampf, and Denton Bedward.
In addition to Lipa, who is a UK citizen, the band named Warner Records as a defendant, as well as songwriters Bosco Kante, Clarence Coffee Jr., Sarah Hudson, and Stephen Kozmeniuk.
Representatives for Artikal Sound System and Warner Records did not immediately reply to Law&Crime’s requests for comment.
Read the complaint below.
[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy.]
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