the law

Have You Written a Song That Sounds Like Dua Lipa’s ‘Levitating’?

Not to be confused with her “Don’t Stop Now” wiggle. Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Anyone else have a song they think sounds like “Levitating” by Dua Lipa? Now’s your time to come forward. In less than a week, two separate copyright lawsuits — pertaining to three different songs — have been brought against Lipa’s hit, which was the No. 1 song of 2021 on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100. The first came from the Florida reggae band Artikal Sound System, which claimed “Levitating” resembles their song “Live Your Life,” released in 2017. Per Billboard, the band said it was “highly unlikely” Lipa and her co-writers made “Levitating” separate from its song, although the lawsuit did not note how Lipa would have heard the song. Since then, a second claim has come from the songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer, who said “Levitating” pulls from two of their songs, 1979’s “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and 1980’s “Don Diablo,” by the singers Cory Daye and Miguel Bosé. (How does it pull from two songs? Because they previously made a successful copyright claim on “Don Diablo.”) In their lawsuit, also according to Billboard, the writers noted interviews where Lipa “admitted that she deliberately emulated prior eras,” along with reviews and a TikTok comparing “Levitating” to “Wiggle and Giggle.” “Defendants have levitated away plaintiffs’ intellectual property,” their lawyers said. “Plaintiffs bring suit so that defendants cannot wiggle out of their willful infringement.” Lipa has not responded to either complaint.

Sure, the chorus of “Levitating” does sound a bit like “Live Your Life,” and the verses do sound like “Wiggle and Giggle,” especially hearing them back to back. But is that enough for a copyright claim? The forensic musicologist Joe Bennett told Rolling Stone that while “Levitating” and “Live Your Life” share similar melodies in the chorus, copyright infringement is about the confluence of a number of factors in the music, stating, “In my opinion, for what it’s worth, I think this is a coincidence.”

Have You Written a Song That Sounds Like ‘Levitating’?