Why Is Dua Lipa Being Sued? Let’s Break It Down

There's a LOT to unpack here.

 

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard something about Dua Lipa being sued. However, the details always seem a little blurry or else over-complicated with heaps of legal jargon that is nearly impossible to understand.

Well, after watching Legal Blonde and the episodes of KUWTK when Kim is becoming a lawyer, I’ve finally figured out what’s going on and are happy to share the info.

To fully understand the situation, we’ll have to go all the way back to 2020.

On the 27th of March 2020, Dua released Future Nostalgia, her second studio album. Things got off to a rocky start as the entire album was leaked online before its release. As a result, the album’s release date was pushed up by two weeks. On top of all that, Covid-19 lockdowns were just beginning, which didn’t seem great for a dance-pop album that was supposed to be big in nightclubs and parties.

Despite all of this, the album did really well, receiving rave reviews from critics and went to number 1 on the charts in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and others. The 5th single to be released from the album was a remix of Levitating feature DaBaby. It was released on the 1st of October 2021 and was a massive hit, spawning a TikTok trend and reaching the top ten in the UK and USA. The song managed to stay on the charts for 41 weeks, making it one of the biggest hits of 2021.


But recently, on the 1st of March 2022, an American reggae band Artikal Sound System filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Dua, her record label, co-writers, etc. They claim Levitating plagiarises their 2017 song “Live Your Life.” In a court-filed complaint obtained by People Magazine, they allege Dua and her team “listened to and copied ‘Live Your Life’ before and during the time when they were writing ‘Levitating.'”

The complaint claims “‘ Levitating’ is substantially similar to ‘Live Your Life'”. Although it gives no further detail on the similarities, it does imply they are significant. Claiming, “Given the degree of similarity, it is highly unlikely that ‘Levitating’ was created independently from ‘Live Your Life.'”

It is worth mentioning that the situation isn’t quite as clear cut as it might seem. Artikal Sound System released their song on SoundCloud, a music sharing platform. TikToker Mathias Morte pointed out that SoundCloud allows users to edit songs after releasing them while retaining the original release date. This means that it is possible for Artikal Sound System to have revised their song recently while keeping the 2017 release.

That’s not to say they did, but it highlights that there are a lot of variables that need to be investigated before anyone comes to a solid conclusion.

You can listen to Artikal Sound System’s song and see what you think for yourself here.

 

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On the 4th of March 2022, just four days after Artikal Sound System filed their suit, Dua was faced with another one. Songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer filed a complaint claiming the melody for Levitating was plagiarised from their songs Wiggle and Giggle All Night, released 1979 and Don Diablo, released in 1980.

In their complaint obtained by People Magazine, they claim, “The notes move in the same direction with evenly matched intervals or ‘steps,’ and almost identical rhythms.”

To make this case more complicated, they have referenced the fact Duo publically said she took inspiration from retro disco tracks for her album in many interviews.

Alledging, “Lipa admitted that she deliberately emulated prior eras of music to create Future Nostalgia, the aptly named album on which ‘Levitating’ appears.”

Right now both of these cases are in the very early stages so it’s unclear if they’ll actually even make it to court.

Words by STELLAR Intern Sláine McKenna

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