Mariah Carey, her co-writer Walter Afanasieff and the Sony Music Group are being sued by musician, Andy Stone for their well-known Christmas tune All I Want for Christmas Is You.
In a civil lawsuit filed in Louisiana, Stone alleges he co-wrote and recorded a song with the same name in 1989 and never permitted, consented or granted Mariah Carey a license to use the title. Stone claims Mariah Carey, her co-writer and Sony have ‘knowingly, wilfully and intentionally engaged in a campaign to infringe’ his copyright and have unjustly enriched from the song title. Stone is seeking damages of $US20 million (approximately $27 million) for alleged financial loss.
Stone and his band, Vince Vance & The Valiants’ version of the song allegedly received ‘extensive airplay’ in the immediate years after its release. Vince Vance & The Valiants enjoyed ‘moderate success on Billboard’s country music charts’ and presently have over 4 million streams on Spotify for their track.
Comparatively since 1994, All I Want for Christmas Is You has earned Carey an estimated $US60million in royalties. It has sold approximately 16 million copies worldwide and features heavily in the popular Christmas film, Love Actually. In December 2021 the song hit 1 billion streams on Spotify, truly demonstrating its success.
In the recently filed lawsuit, Stone claims Mariah Carey, her co-writer and Sony have ‘[exploited] the popularity and unique style of his song’. Despite the songs clearly having different sounds and lyrics, Stone maintains Carey’s use of the same song title has caused ‘confusion’ and ‘unjust enrichment’.
However on the United States Copyright Office website, 177 songs are entitled ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ as it is common practice in the music industry for artists to create works with the same name.
According to the ABC, it remains unclear as to why Stone has filed nearly three decades after Mariah Carey released the song. In the filed court documents, Stone’s lawyer made contact with Mariah Carey, her co-writer and Sony in April 2021 however they could not come to an agreement regarding the ‘unauthorised use of the song’.
If you would like legal advice in relation to a suspected copyright infringement or general music and entertainment advice, visit our website sanickilawyers.com.au or call us on (03) 9510 9888.