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U.S. District Judge Dismisses Artikal Sound System’s Lawsuit Against Dua Lipa, Citing Lack of Evidence of Copyright Infringement

June 16, 2023 by in News

Christian Dattolo

June 15, 2023

The Case of “Levitating” vs. “Live Your Life” Falls Flat in Court


In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Sunshine S. Sykes dismissed the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by indie reggae band Artikal Sound System against pop sensation Dua Lipa and Warner Records. The lawsuit claimed that Lipa’s chart-topping hit “Levitating” copied the core hook from the band’s 2017 song titled “Live Your Life.” However, the judge concluded that crucial evidence of access to the earlier song was lacking, a fundamental requirement in any copyright case.

Artikal Sound System presented a complex theory, suggesting a connection between one of Lipa’s co-writers and a person taught guitar by the brother-in-law of a band member. However, Judge Sykes found these claims to be lacking sufficient factual allegations. The judge emphasized that the alleged links bore little connection to the two musical compositions at the center of the dispute and therefore did not establish a reasonable likelihood of the defendants encountering the plaintiffs’ song.

The band also argued that the widespread availability of their song through concerts, physical CDs, and various streaming platforms implied that the writers of “Levitating” must have heard it. However, Judge Sykes dismissed these arguments as too generic and lacking sufficient factual allegations. She pointed out that Artikal Sound System failed to provide specific details about the frequency and scale of their live performances or the venues and audiences involved, making it impossible to establish plausible exposure of their song to the defendants.

While the ruling dismissed the lawsuit against Dua Lipa, Judge Sykes granted Artikal Sound System the opportunity to address the identified flaws by allowing them to refile an amended complaint. The band has until June 16 to make necessary amendments to their case and present stronger evidence of copyright infringement.

Dua Lipa’s song “Levitating,” released in 2020 as part of her second studio album Future Nostalgia, enjoyed immense success, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Notably, it solidified Lipa’s status as a prominent figure in the music industry by becoming the longest-running top 10 song by a female artist on the chart.

The dismissal of the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Artikal Sound System against Dua Lipa serves as a reminder of the importance of providing sufficient factual allegations of access in such cases. Judge Sykes’ ruling highlights the requirement for a reasonable likelihood of exposure to the allegedly infringed work. As the band has the opportunity to refile their case, it remains to be seen if they can strengthen their claims and present a more convincing argument of copyright infringement. In the meantime, Dua Lipa can continue to enjoy the success of her hit song “Levitating” as it continues to resonate with audiences worldwide.