TOPLINE

Music producer Bosko Kante has slapped British pop star Dua Lipa with a lawsuit claiming she and her label, Warner Music Group, used his work without permission in remixes of her song “Levitating,” marking the third copyright infringement lawsuit to be filed over the single song.

KEY FACTS

The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in Los Angeles, said Kante worked with Stephen Kozmeniuk, one of the song’s producers, to create to create a talk box performance to be used on “Levitating” when it was released in March of 2020.

A talk box allows musicians to change the sound of a musical instrument by adjusting the frequency of the sound and vocals, the lawsuit explains, and Kante is the inventor of the $1,300 ElectroSpit Talk Box, a neck-worn talk box system.

Kante composed original melodies and lyrics for his part in the song, and his lawsuit claims he and producers “explicitly agreed” verbally that his work would not be re-used in samples of the song or otherwise by Dua Lipa or Warner Music.

Kante claims his work was re-used to create the “Blessed Madonna Remix” of the song, made by Dua Lipa, American DJ, Madonna and Missy Elliott, as well as a second remix, featuring rapper DaBaby, and a third created specifically for the American Music Awards.

The remixes used more of his work than the original song did, Kante said, and in his lawsuit he’s seeking at least $2 million in damages, $20 million in lost profits and attorneys fees.

Warner Music Group did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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SURPRISING FACT

The lawsuit is the third filed against Dua Lipa for copyright infringement in “Levitating”—band Artikal Sound System claimed she stole the song’s hook from their 2017 reggae hit “Live Your Life” in a since-dismissed lawsuit, and songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer accused her of plagiarizing the melodies from the 1979 song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and “Don Diablo,” which came out in 1980. Brown and Linzer’s suit remains in litigation.

KEY BACKGROUND

“Levitating” was first released on the album Future Nostalgia in 2020 and spent 77 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 2, the longest-charting song by a female artist in history. It also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200, No. 5 on the U.K. Singles Chart and was the No. 1 song on the year-end chart for 2021. Its remixes also did well: the DaBaby remix had reached 1.8 billion plays on Spotify as of Tuesday and the Blessed Madonna remix was successful on streaming platforms in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and the U.K. and Chile, the lawsuit claims.

TANGENT

Dua Lipa is enjoying another run on the Billboard chart thanks to the success of her song “Dance the Night” for the Barbie movie. The song is currently at No. 25 on the chart and is the 20th song by the artist to make the Hot 100. She’s had two No. 2 songs—”Levitating” and “Don’t Start Now”—but has yet to hit No. 1.