A Florida reggae band has decided to drop a copyright case accusing Dua Lipa of copying her smash hit song “Levitating” from their earlier track, two days after a federal judge cast serious doubt on the lawsuit’s allegations.
The band, called Artikal Sound System, sued the star last year over accusations that her 2020 song — which spent 77 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — borrowed its core hook from their lesser-known 2017 tune, “Live Your Life.”
But in a filing on Wednesday (June 7), attorneys for both Artikal Sound System and Lipa filed a joint motion, asking the judge to permanently dismiss the case. There was no indication that Lipa had agreed to pay any money or change the credits to her song.
The filing came just two days after U.S. District Judge Sunshine S. Sykes ruled strongly for Lipa, saying that there was no sign that anyone involved in creating “Levitating” had had “access” to the earlier song — a key requirement in any copyright lawsuit.
That ruling technically dismissed the case against Lipa, but Judge Sykes gave Artikal Sound System another chance to refile an updated version of the case within two weeks. Instead, the band appears to have decided not to pursue further litigation against Lipa and the other “Levitating” co-writers.
In a statement to Billboard on Wednesday evening, Lipa’s attorney Christine Lepera confirmed that the band had chosen to walk away from the litigation unilaterally and that no settlement had been reached.
“Following the court’s decision dismissing their complaint, the plaintiffs voluntarily chose to discontinue the case with prejudice, without any consideration whatsoever from the defendants, who were prepared to vigorously defend any continuation of the case,” said Lepera, an attorney at the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.
An attorney for the band did not immediately return a request for comment.
Artikal Sound System’s decision to drop the lawsuit brings an end to one of two high-profile cases filed against Lipa last year over “Levitating,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 before securing the honor of being the longest-running top 10 song ever by a female artist on the chart.
The other case, filed by songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer, claims that Lipa lifted the melody to her track from their 1979 song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and their 1980 song “Don Diablo.” That case is still pending but faces similar counter-arguments from Lipa’s lawyers about a lack of “access.”
Artikal Sound System is a reggae band based out of South Florida, founded in 2012 as a duo before later adding additional musicians and vocalist Logan Rex. The band released “Live Your Life” on its 2017 EP Smoke and Mirrors.
In their March lawsuit, the band said the songs sounded so similar that it was “highly unlikely that ‘Levitating’ was created independently.” The lawsuit also named Dua Lipa’s label, Warner Records, as well as others who helped create the hit track.
In November, Lipa’s lawyers argued that Artikal Sound System had no proof that Lipa or the other writers ever heard “Live Your Life” before they wrote “Levitating.” They called the allegations “speculative,” “vague” and supported by little real evidence.
Artikal Sound System offered a complex theory for how such “access” might have happened, stating that one of Lipa’s co-writers had previously worked with a woman who was allegedly taught guitar by the brother-in-law of one band member.
But in her ruling on Monday Judge Sykes flatly rejected that argument: “These attenuated links, which bear little connection to either of the two musical compositions at issue here, also do not suggest a reasonable likelihood that defendants actually encountered plaintiffs’ song.”