Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” was first released in 1994 on her Merry Christmas album, and it has since become a Billboard Chart-topping classic. Now Mississippi-based songwriter Andy Stone, who performs as Vince Vance & the Valiants, filed a lawsuit on June 3, 2022, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. Stone claims that he co-wrote the song with Troy Powers at least five years before Carey’s hit.
Stone seeks at least $20 million in damages, naming Carey and co-writer Walter Afanasieff and Sony Music Entertainment for copyright infringement, misappropriation, violation of the Lanham Act (which addresses consumer confusion in commerce), and other claims. He alleges that the defendants illegally exploited his “popularity and unique style” and caused confusion by recording the newer version. His country-pop song with the same title was released in 1989 and received extensive airplay during the 1993 Christmas season, even appearing on the charts and featuring a video.
According to the complaint, Stone’s attorney reached out to the defendants’ representatives in April of 2021, alleging unauthorized use. There was no resolution at that time, and the defendants did not comply with a cease-and-desist request from Stone.
Does the claim have a chance?
Despite having the same title, Carey’s song and Stone’s song have different melodies and lyrics. The claim focuses on the fact that the defendants did not seek permission to use the copyrighted subject matter. Both parties are offering no comment as the story broke in the press. Generally speaking, copyright violations have a three-year statute of limitation under the Copyright Act.