A new lawsuit targeting Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” claims the 1994 hit infringes the copyright of an even older song.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Louisiana, Vince Vance, whose legal name is Andy Stone, is suing Carey, Sony Music Entertainment and co-writer of the Christmas hit, Walter Afanasieff, for copyright infringement.
The lawsuit obtained by USA TODAY alleges that in 1989 Stone, member of country pop group Vince Vance and The Valiants co-wrote a song with the same title. Stone’s “All I Want For Christmas” was released several years before Carey’s hit, but has different lyrics and melodies.
The songs share a title and a theme of humbly asking their significant other for the holidays. According to the United States Copyright Office, song titles alone are not protected by copyright law “because they contain an insufficient amount of authorship”.
Stone alleges Carey’s song “damaged” her music career and is suing the defendants for at least $20 million.
Stone holds a copyright certificate for the song which was obtained in 1988, according to copyright records. According to the Copyright Library, many other songs with the same title also hold copyright certificates after the late 80s. But Vance says the defendants never asked for permission to use it. in promoting and distributing their 1994 soBillboard charts.
“Defendants knowingly, willfully and intentionally engaged in a campaign to infringe Plaintiff’s copyright in the Work,” the lawsuit states.
USA TODAY has reached out to Carey and Afanasieff for a statement.
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According to the complaint, Stone’s attorneys contacted Carey and her team about the infringement complaint in April 2021 and sent a follow-up letter about it in December.
“Even after communicating his concerns to the defendants, the plaintiff was unable to reach an agreement on the use of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You,'” the complaint stated.
Stone is looking for a prize for the “profits, gains and benefits” that Carey and his team got from the hit song.
Last December, Carey’s song shattered Billboard chart history by reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the third year in a row, breaking a tie with Chubby Checker’s 1960 dance hit “The Twist.” which climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960 and again in 1962.
Before the song hit the top of the charts for the first time in 2019, Carey told USA TODAY in November of that year that she “would be thrilled” to achieve the feat.
“I wanted it to sound like a classic, but I had no idea it was going to be a classic. I say that humbly because Christmas music is something really special to me,” Carey said at the time.
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