Pop star Mariah Carey again has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit, where plaintiff Andy Stone asserts that her hit single, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” bears a striking resemblance to his 1989 song of the same name, and is demanding millions of dollars in compensation.
Carey’s 1994 classic is not only her signature song, amassing a whopping 16 million copies in sales, but one of the world’s top-selling songs ever. It is the first and only holiday single to take home the RIAA’s coveted Diamond Award, prompting the president of the Commercial Music Group at Sony Music Entertainment, Richard Story, to dub her “the Queen of Christmas.”
Stone (known as Vince Vance & The Valiants) and his co-writer, Troy Powers’ song is substantially less successful.
While Stone’s song was not history-making, it did make some ripples. It peaked at #31 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and also #23 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart (re-named the Radio Songs chart) in 2014.
Both men believe the song’s “extensive airplay” in 1993, influenced the Carey hit and that she, her production team, and Sony Music Entertainment stole portions of their song to make the Christmas hit and should be compensated.
The plaintiffs initially filed the lawsuit in April 2021, but withdrew it in 2022. Now, represented by attorney Gerard P. Fox, who previously represented songwriters accusing Taylor Swift of copyright infringement, they have revived their legal action as the 2023 holiday season approaches, Billboard reports.
“Carey has, without licensing, palmed off these works with her incredulous origin story, as if those works were her own. Her hubris knowing no bounds, even her co-credited songwriter doesn’t believe the story she has spun. This is simply a case of actionable infringement,” the new lawsuit, which now includes Powers, reads.
The latest civil complaint was filed on Nov. 1, in Los Angeles federal court.
According to court documents, the suing party argues that substantial similarities in melody, lyrics, and overall feel underpin the plaintiffs’ infringement claim.
“The phrase ‘all I want for Christmas is you’ may seem like a common parlance today, in 1988 it was, in context, distinctive. Moreover, the combination of the specific chord progression in the melody paired with the verbatim hook was a greater than 50% clone of Vance’s original work, in both lyric choice and chord expressions,” the lawyers argue.
Many in the public believe the lawsuit lacks merit.
Stone and Powers are seeking $20 million in damages, asserting that Carey falsely presented their works as her own without proper licensing, branding it as a clear case of actionable infringement.
Carey, who has an estimated net worth of $340 million and reportedly makes approximately $3 million a year from the song alone, has not released a statement.
Instead, she is preparing for her next tour. Leading up to the holiday season, when her song is in full rotation, Carey is engaging in a 13-date tour called “Merry Christmas One And All!” running from Nov. 15 in California to Dec. 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York.