It’s the hit of the holiday season: American singer Mariah Carey is accused of copyright infringement for her heady “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, by an artist who claims 20 million dollars. The plaintiff, Andy Stone, claims he co-wrote and recorded a song of the same name in 1989, without ever giving permission to use it, according to the text of a lawsuit filed Friday in Louisiana. He is claiming $20 million in damages from Mariah Carey, whose title was released in 1994.
Andy Stone accuses the singer and Walter Afanasieff, who co-wrote the Christmas tune, of having “knowingly, voluntarily and intentionally engaged in a process aimed at violating” her copyright. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is one of the most widely streamed titles of all time: it topped sales in more than 20 countries, and it is widely released each year.
The hit has sold 16 million copies and alone would have earned Mariah Carey some $60 million over three decades. Andy Stone’s song, recorded with his band “Vince Vance and the Valiants”, had moderate success with country music fans. If the two songs have the same title, the music and the lyrics differ.
Andy Stone nevertheless criticizes the singer, some thirty years later, for having sought to “exploit the popularity and unique style” of her title, thereby creating “confusion”. The document filed with the Louisiana court indicates that the plaintiff’s attorneys contacted Mariah Carey and her co-author last year, but were “unable to reach an agreement”. Representatives for the singer were not immediately available for comment. In total, some 177 songs with the title “All I Want for Christmas Is You” are registered on the United States Copyright Office website.