Mariah Carey has been sued by a songwriter named Andy Stone for alleged copyright infringement over her iconic 1994 holiday song ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’, because it shares the title of a song Stone released five years earlier.
In a lawsuit filed in New Orleans federal court last Friday, Stone’s lawyers argue that – despite the fact that the two songs do not share significant musical or lyrical similarities – Carey and her co-writer Walter Afanasieff created a “derivative” version of his song, which he released as part of his group Vince Vance and the Valiants in 1989.
“Defendants knew or should have known of Plaintiff’s copyright,” the lawsuit states, due to Stone’s song receiving “extensive airplay” during the 1993 holiday period. Stone is seeking “the profits, gains an advantages derived” by Carey and her co-defendants, Afanasieff and Sony, “as a result of willful copyright infringement, in addition to punitive damages and compensation for the damages sustained.” Stone is seeking an amount “not less than” $20 million.
As Deadline points out, the road to Stone’s claims of copyright infringement being proven may be difficult, citing Los Angeles-based attorney Pamela Koslyn, who noted that there are 177 works with the title ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. “Song titles aren’t entitled to copyright protection,” Koslyn said. “That’s why there are 177 works using the same title.”
Since its release in 1994, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ has become a global success, topping charts in dozens of countries and, in 2019, the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, two and a half decades after it was first released. It’s earned Carey the moniker Queen of Christmas and experiences a huge surge in plays each festive season.
Compare the two versions below.