Mariah Carey is being sued for copyright infringement for her iconic Christmas jingle, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." The complaint was filed at US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for Carey as well as her songwriting partner, Walter Afanasieff.
Andy Stone of the country group Vince Vance & The Valiants claims that a similar holiday-themed song was released by his group in 1989, five years before Carey dropped her track.
As per the Daily Mail, Stone's song was a country ballad complete with a music video as it featured lead vocals from Lisa Layne. The track received significant airplay and charted on Billboard Hot Country Songs almost six times in the 1990s.
Carey released her version in 1994 with a music video, as the lead single to her fourth studio album Merry Christmas in 1994.
The five-time Grammy winner's track was co-written by Afanasieff and went on to become the 'Christmas standard.' Even 25 years after its release, the song continues to top the Billboard charts and is the only track to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in three separate runs: 2019, 2020 and 2021, the Music Universe reported.
As per various media outlets, Carey's version topped the charts in 26 countries and reportedly earned her nearly $60 million in royalties by 2017. The Grammy winner is expected to earn even more royalty as her track reigned billions of music streaming platforms on Christmas last year.
In his lawsuit, Stone is demanding at least $20 million in damages for alleged copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Lanham Act, a federal statute which governs service marks and trademarks, for "causing confusion as to the association" between the two songs. In simple words, he claims that neither Carey nor her legal team attempted to seek permission to use the title of the song.
The usual focus of Copyright infringement suits in such cases is towards the sound and melodies of songs. In case of Stone and Carey, the sound of their tracks and the melodies are completely different each other.
According to Los Angeles entertainment attorney Gordon Firemark, a.k.a The Podcast Attorney, since the only similarities between the songs are the titles, it is highly unlikely that Stone's claims will 'hold up' in court.
Bearing in mind the three-year statute that exists for limitations on copyright claims, Firemark believes that because the Grammy winner's version is 28 years old and has been played thousands of times every year since it was dropped, Stone will not be successful in pursuing the lawsuit.
"My take on this suit by Mr. Stone is that it is lacking â at least on copyright grounds â on any real basis of the law. The statute of limitations and other legal doctrines will certainly, I think, bar him from successfully pursing this lawsuit," he mentioned.