Mariah Carey faces new copyright lawsuit over ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’

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On Wednesday (November 1), Mariah Carey released a video of herself being ‘defrosted’ to mark the start of the holiday season, soundtracked by her holiday megahit All I Want for Christmas Is You.

The track, first released in 1994, has become an omnipresent sonic fixture of the holidays every year since then and has been streamed over 1.47 billion times on Spotify alone.

The song is now at the center of a new legal dispute, with Carey being hit with a lawsuit from a musician called Andy Stone for allegedly copying elements of his song of the same name.

This is actually the second time that Stone, who performs as Vince Vance and the Valiants, has sued Carey for allegedly copying his song, which was released in 1989.

Stone’s first lawsuit arrived back in June 2022, but was dropped in November of that same year.

In the latest lawsuit, filed in a California court on Wednesday (November 1), Stone and co-writer and plaintiff Troy Powers, names among the defendants, Carey, along with producer Walter Afanasieff and Sony Music Entertainment.

Stone’s complaint claims that the Vince Vance version of All I Want for Christmas Is You “became a country music hit” after “extensive seasonal airplay in 1993”.

The complaint also claims that Vince Vance’s All I Want for Christmas Is You “returned seasonally to Billboard’s Hot Country chart five more times throughout the 1990s, peaking at No. 31″.

According to the lawsuit, Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You, which was released in 1994 as a part of her seasonal Merry Christmas album, allegedly copies, from Stone’s song, the “compositional structure of an extended comparison between a loved one and trappings of seasonal luxury”.

The complaint also claims that Carey’s hit “includes several of [Stone’s] lyrical phrases”.

The lawsuit, which you can read in full here, claims: “Beyond the lyrical hook ‘[a]ll I want for Christmas is you’, Defendants directly copy and include the exact lyrics ‘I don’t need . . . ‘ presents ‘underneath the Christmas tree‘.”

It continues: “Instead, like Plaintiffs’ original work, Carey implores Santa to ‘bring me the one thing I really need,‘ an unnamed ‘you,’ to make their ‘wish come true’.

Stone and his co-plaintiff allege that the “infringed copyrighted lyrics account for approximately 50%” of Mariah Carey’s version of All I Want for Christmas Is You and claim that “the chord progression and melodic similarities push this percentage of infringement still higher”.

Elsewhere in the lawsuit, Stone and co-writer Powers claim that Mariah Carey et al “undoubtedly had access” to their song  “prior to writing and releasing” All I Want For Christmas Is You “given its wide commercial and cultural success”.

The suit adds: “Carey has capitalized on the success of her infringing work. All I Want for Christmas is You, has become a ubiquitous part of popular culture, and Carey’s name has become synonymous with the season.

“Indeed, the glow of success from this one song, has revitalized Defendant Carey’s career, as she headlines concert and events at all times of the year. All I Want for Christmas is you helped to propel Mariah Carey’s career, and boost her revenue from performance requests.”

Stone and Powers seek at least $20 million in damages.Music Business Worldwide

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