Watch CBS News

Dua Lipa will face lawsuit from two songwriters who claim she copied "Levitating"

Ed Sheeran wins copyright lawsuit
Ed Sheeran wins copyright lawsuit over "Thinking Out Loud" 02:40

Dua Lipa and two songwriters who worked on her single "Levitating" are being sued by two songwriters who claim the song rips off their 1979 disco song "Wiggle and Giggle All Night (Wiggle)." A judge in New York ruled this week it will go forward.

L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer are suing Dua Lipa, 27, and songwriters Sarah Hudson and Stephen Kozmeniuk, who all claim copyright of "Levitating," one of the singles off Dua Lipa's 2020 album of the same name. 

Brown also sued over the song in 1980, claiming the song "Don Diablo," recorded by Miguel Bose, infringed on "Wiggle," which was recorded by Cory Daye. He won the copyright suit and now claims "Levitating" resembles both "Wiggle" and "Don Diablo." 

Brown and Linzer claim in the suit that the defendants "were inspired by past musical eras in composing the music on 'Future Nostalgia,'" and that after noticing another song on the album resemble a 1987 disco song, the defendants credited the original songwriters. 

U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla ruled that the plaintiffs proved "Wiggle" and "Levitating" were "strikingly similar," which is enough evidence to move the suit forward, even though the defendants filed a motion to dismiss it last month. 

"Like 'Wiggle' and 'Don Diablo,' 'Levitating' begins with a 'signature melody' that Plaintiffs claim Defendants copied," Failla's opinion reads. "Levitating also allegedly copies a repetitive rhythm from the prior works."

According to court documents, the plaintiffs claim the allegedly copied melody occurs six times in "Levitating" – about 1/3 of the song – and the rhythm repeats 16 times.

The song was the topic of another copyright suit filed in Los Angeles. Florida reggae group Artikal Sound System claimed "Levitating" copied one of their songs, but a judge dismissed their case in June, according to Reuters.

Dua Lipa also released several remixes of the song and musician Bosko Kante says she never got his permission to include his "talk box" recording. A talk box distorts vocals to sound similar to a synthesizer. Kante filed a suit in Los Angeles in July, according to Reuters.

There have been multiple copyright-related lawsuits brought against high-profile artists in recent years, including against Ed Sheeran, who earlier this year won a lawsuit brought against him by one of the songwriters on Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On." The lawsuit had alleged Sheeran copied the chord progression for his song "Thinking Out Loud."

"There's four chords that get used in pop songs and there's however many notes, eight notes or whatever, and there's 60,000 songs released every single day," Sheeran told Seth Doane for "CBS Sunday Morning" in May. "And if you just think mathematically the likelihood of this song having the same chords as this song … You are going to get this with every single pop song from now on, like, unless it just stops, which I don't think it does because it's a big money business to take things to court."

CBS News has reached out to the plaintiff's lawyer as well as Warner Records representatives for Dua Lipa. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.