Dua Lipa beats copyright case for ‘Levitating,’ judge dismisses lawsuit — for now

Tribune Content Agency

A Los Angeles federal court judge has sided with British pop star Dua Lipa and her label Warner Records, ruling that there’s “insubstantial” evidence Lipa broke copyright laws with her 2020 hit “Levitating.”

In a court ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Sunshine S. Sykes dismissed a lawsuit filed by Florida reggae group Artikal Sound System, reports Billboard.

The reggae band alleged Lipa’s hit song, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 77 weeks after its release, copied the core hook from their own 2017 track “Live Your Life.”

Artikal Sound System claimed that one of Lipa’s co-writers had worked with a woman who had connections to a band member. However, Judge Sykes felt there was not clear evidence that the “Levitating” creators had “access” to the earlier reggae song.

“These attenuated links, which bear little connection to either of the two musical compositions at issue here, also do not suggest a reasonable likelihood that defendants actually encountered plaintiffs’ song,” Sykes wrote in her decision.

The band argued that their song had been widely available, and that the “Levitating” writers could have easily heard it.

“Live Your Life” had been played at concerts, sold “several hundred” physical CDs, and was available on certain streaming platforms, they reasoned. But Sykes said the evidence was insubstantial.

“Plaintiffs’ failure to specify how frequently they performed ‘Live Your Life’ publicly during the specified period, where these performances took place, and the size of the venues and/or audiences precludes the Court from finding that Plaintiffs’ live performances of the song plausibly contributed to its saturation of markets in which Defendants would have encountered it,” Sykes reasoned.

Lipa, however, is not necessarily done with the case. Sykes ruled that Artikal Sound System could refile an amended complaint by June 16, and the lawsuit would be reexamined.