The case of the alleged plagiarism of Dua Lipa's 'Levitating' is another example of legal disputes in the music industry relating to copyright and intellectual property protection. This article examines the allegations, the legal arguments and the implications of the case for musicians and the industry in general.
In 2021, artist Dua Lipa was accused of plagiarism by reggae band Artikal Sound System, who claimed that her hit single 'Levitating' infringed the copyright of their song 'Live Your Life', released in 2017.
The plagiarism allegations against Dua Lipa were based on the similarity between her song "Levitating" and Artikal Sound System's song "Live Your Life". The plaintiffs argued that both the melodic structure and the chord progression of the two songs were substantially similar, indicating copyright infringement. In addition, the lawsuit noted that certain phrases and lyrical elements of the two songs were similar, which strengthened the claim that there was an unlawful copy of the copyrighted work.
Artikal Sound System also argued that 'Levitating' has generated significant revenue, both in sales and plays on streaming platforms, and that Dua Lipa and her collaborators have unfairly profited from the alleged copyright infringement. The band therefore sought damages and an injunction to stop the sale and distribution of 'Levitating'.
The legal arguments
To establish copyright infringement, the plaintiffs must prove two key elements: that Dua Lipa's song is sufficiently similar to the copyrighted work, and that Dua Lipa or her collaborators had access to the original work before creating "Levitating".
In cases of alleged copyright infringement, plaintiffs must prove both similarity between the two works and prior access to the copyrighted work by the defendants. In this case, Artikal Sound System argued that due to the popularity and availability of the song "Live Your Life" on various streaming platforms and social networks, it was likely that Dua Lipa and her collaborators had access to the original work before creating "Levitating".
On the other hand, Dua Lipa's defence could argue that the similarities between the two songs are inevitable coincidences and that it cannot be proven that Dua Lipa and her collaborators had access to "Live Your Life" before creating "Levitating". In addition, the defence could point to differences between the songs, such as musical style, tempo and thematic focus, to support its claim of no copyright infringement.
Another common argument in copyright cases in the music industry is the concept of "commonality," which holds that certain elements of a creative work, such as a chord progression or melodic structure, are common and cannot be copyrighted. Dua Lipa's defence could use this concept to argue that the similarities between "Levitating" and "Live Your Life" are due to common elements in pop music and not copyright infringement.
Ultimately, it will be up to the court to evaluate the evidence presented by both parties and determine whether copyright infringement has occurred in this case.
Implications for the music industry
This case is another example of the legal disputes surrounding copyright in the music industry. The outcome of this case may have a significant impact on how future copyright disputes are addressed and how artists protect their creative works.
It is critical that musicians and other industry professionals understand copyright law and take the necessary precautions to protect their work and avoid potential lawsuits. This may include obtaining proper clearances before using copyrighted works and staying informed about applicable laws and regulations.
The case of alleged plagiarism of Dua Lipa's "Levitating" highlights the importance of copyright protection in the music industry and highlights the challenges artists face in creating and protecting their works. As copyright disputes continue to be a recurring issue in music, it is critical that musicians and industry professionals stay informed and take the necessary precautions to protect their creations and avoid legal disputes.
Photo by Justin Higuchi
Author Gabriel Espinoza