An accusation that British pop artist Dua Lipa plagiarized a 1979 dance tune for her 2021 megahit “Levitating” was dismissed by a federal judge in Manhattan.
On Tuesday, US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla stated that the song’s authors, L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer, could attempt to demonstrate “substantial similarity” between “Levitating” and their song, “Wiggle and Giggle All Night.”
Requests for response from Lipa’s legal team and Warner Records, the company that publishes her music, were unanswered right away.
The March 2022 lawsuit alleged that “Levitating” and “Wiggle” shared “compositional elements,” most notably by imitating each other’s opening melodies.
According to the defense attorneys, it is improbable that Lipa, 27, heard “Wiggle” before writing “Levitating.”
Failla concurred, but noted that the plaintiffs had provided “just enough facts” to support their claim that Lipa had stolen their compositions because they were “strikingly similar,” including having the same “repetitive rhythm” and “signature melody.”
“The court cannot foreclose the possibility of plaintiffs meeting the undoubtedly high bar of proving striking similarity,” Failla wrote.
Jason Brown, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement said they “have great respect for the artists of today but if their material is used there must be proper attribution and compensation. We look forward to conducting discovery and taking this case to trial.”
Failla’s opinion does not cover the plaintiffs’ claim that “Levitating” copied another song, “Don Diablo,” to which they owned a copyright.
“Levitating,” from Lipa’s album “Future Nostalgia,” spent 77 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 US singles chart, and was the No. 1 song on Billboard’s 2021 year-end chart.
A lawsuit alleging Lipa of plagiarizing “Levitating” from a 2017 song by the Florida reggae band Artikal Sound System was dismissed by a federal judge in Los Angeles in June.
On July 31, a different complaint was filed in Los Angeles alleging that Bosko Kante’s “talk box” audio was used in “Levitating” remixes without Lipa’s consent.
US District Court, Southern District of New York, Case No. 22-01872 is the venue for the litigation between Larball Publishing Co. et al. and Lipa et al.