Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

Mariah Carey in $20m lawsuit over ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’

Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com | Singer Mariah Carey

Singer Mariah Carey is being sued for alleged copyright infringement over her 1994 Christmas hit All I Want for Christmas Is You.

Carey, her co-writer Walter Afanasieff and record label Sony Music Entertainment have been named in a lawsuit brought by songwriter Andy Stone, who claims in legal documents filed in Louisiana that the 53-year-old US singer and her collaborators “knowingly, willfully, and intentionally engaged in a campaign” to infringe his copyright.

Carey’s song, which appeared on the Columbia Records-released album Merry Christmas, is one of the best-known Christmas tracks of all time. It reached number one in several countries, and has reportedly earned the singer tens of millions of dollars in royalties. The song has been streamed more than one billion times on Spotify.

Stone, who performs as Vince Vance in the New Orleans novelty band Vince Vance & The Valiants, says he co-wrote a song with the same name as Carey’s Christmas pop classic in 1989, five years before her song was released.

Stone is now seeking at least $20m (£16m) in damages. Although the two songs reportedly have different lyrics and melodies, he has accused Carey and her co-defendants of earning “undeserved profits” from his song, acting in a way that was “designed to exploit [its] popularity and unique style”, and committing “acts of unjust enrichment by the unauthorised appropriation of [his] work and the goodwill associated therewith”.

It is not clear why Stone is bringing his lawsuit now, nearly three decades after Carey’s song was first released. His complaint says that his lawyers contacted Carey and her collaborators last year, but that the parties were “unable to come to any agreement”.

In a 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, Carey recounted her process for All I Want for Christmas Is You, saying that the song was not originally inspired by Christmas.

“I actually did bang out most of the song on a cheap little Casio keyboard”, she recalls. “But it’s the feeling I wanted the song to capture. There’s a sweetness, a clarity, and a purity to it.”

With sales of more than 15 million copies worldwide, Carey’s Merry Christmas remains the best-selling US Christmas album of all time.

The singer has yet to comment on Stone’s legal challenge.