Singer Mariah Carey is being sued over her holiday smash hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
The lawsuit has been brought by songwriter Andy Stone who alleges he co-wrote a song with the same title five years earlier.
A complaint filed Friday in New Orleans federal court shows that Stone, who lives in Mississippi, is seeking at least $20 million in damages for copyright infringement and misappropriation, among other claims, from Carey and her co-writer Walter Afanasieff as well as from Sony Corporation of America and its subsidiary Sony Music Entertainment.
Stone, artistically known Vince Vance of the New Orleans country-pop band Vince Vance & the Valiants, co-wrote and recorded his version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in 1989, according to the complaint. The song then received “extensive airplay” during the 1993 Christmas season and “began making appearances on the Billboard Music Charts.”
Carey’s version was released in 1994 as part of her “Merry Christmas” album. The tune has long received widespread play on the radio and on streaming services, particularly during the holiday season, essentially turning the song into the ultimate Christmas anthem.
It has also topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart every year since 2019, despite having been recorded a quarter century earlier. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was Carey’s 19th No. 1 song, one fewer than The Beatles.
While both songs share the same title, they have different lyrics and melodies.
However, the lawsuit argues that Carey and the other defendants “never sought or obtained permission” to use, reproduce or distribute Stone’s song which was a “copyrightable subject matter” prior Carey’s 1994 release.
Attorneys representing Stone did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sony and Afanasieff as well as representatives of Carey also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Diana Dasrath and Reuters contributed.