Songwriters claim 2020 hit steals the “signature melody” from their 1979 disco song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night”
Less than a week after Dua Lipa was hit with a copyright lawsuit over her “Levitating,” a second lawsuit from a different set of songwriters was filed Friday that also accuses Lipa of stealing their song for her 2020 single.
Lawyers for songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer claim in the lawsuit filed Friday at a Manhattan federal court that “Levitating” infringed on their 1979 disco song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night, originally performed by Cory Daye, as well as Miguel Bose’s 1980 song “Don Diablo.” (The latter track also infringed on “Wiggle and Giggle All Night,” and was subsequently obtained, via lawsuit, by Brown and Linzer).
“The infringing works have compositional elements substantially similar to those of the [Brown and Linzer, or BL in the lawsuit] songs,” the lawsuit — obtained by Rolling Stone — states. “Most significantly, the first and defining melody (the ‘signature melody’) in the infringing works is a duplicate of the opening melody from the BL songs. The signature melody is repeated six times in ‘Levitating’ and three times in ‘Levitating (Da Baby).'”
As proof of the infringement, the lawsuit also cites a few examples of music journalists’ reviews of “Levitating” where it was compared to “Wiggle and Giggle All Night,” as well as a TikTok video with 363,000 views that pointed out the songs’ similarities.
Linzer was one of the songwriters behind the Four Seasons hits “Working My Way Back to You,” “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” and “Let’s Hang On,” while Brown penned songs for artists like the Partridge Family, Tony Orlando and Dawn and the Four Seasons.
The new lawsuit includes musical notation as evidence that “Levitating” is similar to both “Wiggle and Giggle” and “Don Diablo.” “It is apparent that all three iterations of the melody are substantially similar,” the lawsuit states. “The notes move in the same direction with evenly matched intervals or ‘steps,’ and almost identical rhythms.” The lawsuit also cites an interview with Dua Lipa where she admits she credited INXS on the Future Nostalgia song “Break My Heart” to avoid potential litigation.
The lawsuit also lists DaBaby (who appears on the song’s remix), its producers, songwriters and Universal Music Group as defendants. Reps for Dua Lipa did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
“Our clients are storied songwriters who wrote some of the great standards of rock & roll for groups like the Four Seasons, Four Tops, and Tony Orlando and Dawn,” Jason T. Brown, one of the lawyers representing Brown and Linzer, said in a statement to Rolling Stone Sunday.
“Even before the lawsuit, individuals commented all over Youtube about the similarities between ‘Levitating’ and the original songs composed by our clients. We look forward to vindicating this in Court and for the artists of today to properly pay homage to the greats that preceded them.”
Earlier this week, the Florida reggae band Artikal Sound sued Dua Lipa over “Levitating,” arguing the track ripped off their 2017 song “Live Your Life.” Following the lawsuit, Rolling Stone consulted musicologists to see the copyright argument in this case had merit:
© 2022 PMC. All rights reserved.