Does Dua Lipa's "Levitating" infringe another song? Only if pop music began in 2017

Originally published at: Does Dua Lipa's "Levitating" infringe another song? Only if pop music began in 2017. | Boing Boing


“Often imitated, never duplicated” is in dire danger.


post-Blurred Lines, I don’t see how any infringement lawsuit can fail.

Unless they really did fake their upload date and the song isn’t 3 years old.


It essentially boils down to what’s genre-defining pattern and how many listenable songs have been published until the genre gets saturated that originality becomes very difficult. Does it really matter so much in this age of streamed music in terms of revenue to the artist?


People will be shocked to learn that people used to reuse the same tunes over and over again with new lyrics all the time…


No no… the REAL crime is an artist/band can have ONE hit song and then go on tour selling out arenas and stadiums.


Like every 12 bar blues song ever…


I’m not talking about songs that have a similar sound, though, but literally taking a tune and just putting new lyrics on top of it (which I assume was done with blues, too, but I suspect you’re meaning the similar structures of many blues songs, so correct me if that’s not what you’re saying here). Like the song John Brown’s Body with the tune being what we now know as the Battle Hymn of the Republic (but it originally came out of an old camp tune).

Sound recording changed that, and “fixed” songs in time… But prior to the wide spread use of sound recordings and the copyright regimes that evolved along with it, it was not considered “stealing” to reuse and remix song structures. We just have this idea in our heads that every single song has to be “original” to be valid…


Do we have a final count on the number of drinking songs that had their tunes lifted for national anthems? Cuz I know it has to be a lot more than just the one I know of…


No idea, but I’m sure it’s a few…


You know what is funny… I didn’t understand the concept of remakes or sampling when I was younger.

So I had the naive balls to claim that War’s Low Rider had copied Beastie Boy’s Slow Ride.


See also: Greensleeves/What Child Is This. My guitar teacher decided to teach me a Christmas song this past December, and picked What Child Is This. I’m sure I’d heard it before, but I haven’t been Christian in a very long time, so I don’t make a habit of listening to religious Christmas songs. A couple of bars in, I stop him and say, “This is just Greensleeves.” He wasn’t aware. In his defense, his primary instrument is drums.

Edit: To be clear, I did not mean this as a criticism of my guitar teacher. I love my guitar teacher. He’s awesome. He just wasn’t that familiar with a hundreds year old song that mostly only ren faire nerds (like me) are all that familiar with.



I like how many patriotic songs are the same tune as God Save the Queen, I think because for the longest time people felt like that’s just how patriotism was supposed to sound.


For a more recent example of putting new lyrics to an existing song, see St. Vincent’s My Baby Wants a Baby. She didn’t actually set out to put new lyrics to Morning Train (9 to 5), but it just worked out that way.


I mean, it’s nearly impossible not to be influenced by the more than a century of popular music that came before you… :woman_shrugging:


True, although that went beyond influence. It’s actually a funny story. She thought initially she had written this really cool music, and then spent a weekend writing lyrics for it, only to realize a couple of days later that she had unintentionally copied Morning Train almost note for note. She decided she really liked the song, though, so she just got the rights for it and gave the original songwriter songwriting credits on her song. Which is what is supposed to happen, and would avoid a lot of these lawsuits.



Yeah, but of course, a lot of people probably don’t realize where their inspiration is coming from and by the time it’s out, many people just double down instead of figuring out some fair way to move forward. I don’t think that people are intentionally going out and copying songs, but like St. Vincent, it sometimes just happens…


From what I’ve heard from songwriters, it happens a lot. Sometimes it’s intentional, like it was in Blurred Lines (they wanted the song to sound like a Motown/Marvin Gaye song, more as an homage than just an inspiration), sometimes it’s unintentional (like with St. Vincent), and sometimes it’s complete coincidence (Katy Perry Dark Horse).