Grammy-Winning Singer Dua Lipa Beats Copyright Lawsuit Over “Levitating”

On February 16, 2023, Grammy-award-winning singer Dua Lipa and Warner Records Inc. successfully had a copyright lawsuit dismissed by US District Judge Sunshine S. Sykes of the for the Central District of California. The lawsuit, brought by reggae band Artikal Sound System, alleged that Lipa’s hit song “Levitating” from her 2020 album “Future Nostalgia” imitated their own track, “Live Your Life,” released in 2017. 


The legal battle ensued when Artikal Sound System filed an infringement lawsuit against Dua Lipa, Warner Records, music producer Bosco Kante, and the co-writers of “Levitating” in March 2022. The band claimed that Lipa and her songwriters had listened to and copied “Live Your Life” before and during the creation of “Levitating.” Lipa’s song went on to become a massive hit, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and securing the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s 2021 year-end Hot 100 singles chart.


On February 16, 2023, Judge Sykes, dismissed the case. The judge ruled in favor of the defendants due to the plaintiffs’ inability to provide “hard evidence” of infringement, as required by copyright law. To establish their claim of copyright infringement, the plaintiffs carried the burden of proving Dua Lipa had access to “Future Nostalgia.”


Artikal Sound System failed to sufficiently prove their work had been widely disseminated thus proving a reasonable possibility that Dua Lipa had access to the song. Specifically, Judge Sykes stated Artikal Sound System failed to show how frequently they publicly performed “Live Your Life” during the specified period, where these performances took place, and the size of the venues and audiences.


Judge Sykes noted that vague allegations concerning CD sales were also insufficient to demonstrate access to the song by Lipa and her songwriters. As a result, without concrete evidence of access, Judge Sykes ruled in favor of Dua Lipa and dismissed the case.  


Artikal Sound System is represented by Robert S. Besser of the Law Offices of Robert Besser, and Stewart L. Levy of Eisenberg Hefler & Levy LLP.


The defendants are represented by David A. Steinberg and Gabriella N. Ismaj of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.


The case is Cope et al. v. Warner Records Inc. et al., case number 2:22-cv-01384, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.


* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is a boutique entertainment and business law firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The firm has extensive experience handling cases involving copyright law, having provided top-quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized for its many achievements, including successfully litigating many high-profile cases.

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