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Mariah Carey Faces $20 Million Copyright Infringement Suit Over ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’

Mariah Carey is being sued for 20 million dollars (£16 million) for copyright infringement over her hit song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from her 1994 album “Merry Christmas”. The singer and her co-writer Walter Afansieff are both named in the lawsuit, which is being brought by songwriter Andy Stone. Read on to learn more about this.

 

An Intentional Campaign to Infringe…

Singer-songwriter-record producer Mariah Carey has been accused of plagiarism as a country music songwriter has claimed copyright infringement over ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. “The Songbird Supreme” and co-writer Walter Afansieff are named in the lawsuit by songwriter Andy Stone.

Andy claims who claims his ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Vince Vance & the Valiants from 1989 is being infringed, reports ‘Deadline’. Stone filed his papers in the US District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

While the songs have the same title, there is only a hint of Mariah’s melody or lyrics beyond the title call-out. Her version of the song came out in 1994 and is the most played song on the radio, streaming, and on the NBA’s annual slate of games on Christmas Day.

On the other hand, Stone claims his song received extensive airplay during the 1993 holiday season. He is asking for $20 million in damages. Stone claims Mariah and Afansieff “intentionally engaged in a campaign to infringe” his copyright on the work.

177 Works With Similar Titles…

Pamela Koslyn, a Los Angeles attorney specializing in music and intellectual property rights, noted there are 177 works, many of the musical compositions, with “All I Want For Christmas Is You” as the title. Koslyn noted that she would have a different answer if all of the lyrics are “substantially similar” to Carey’s version.

She said, “Song titles aren’t entitled to copyright protection. That’s why there are 177 works using the same title. An even more popular title is “My Baby,” which has 4860 works registered with the Copyright Office. And that doesn’t even count “common law” (unregistered) works using the same title.”

Well, song titles do not come under copyright infringement. In such a scenario, the country songwriter faces an uphill battle to prove his claim. There has been no comment from Carey’s side but in case she decides to file a counter-suit, Stone may have to give hefty damages if he loses this battle.

The Success of All I Want For Christmas Is You

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” was written by Mariah Carey for her fourth studio album and first-holiday album, Merry Christmas (1994). Written and produced by Carey and Walter Afanasieff, the song was released as the lead single from the album on October 29, 1994.

The track is an uptempo love song that includes bell chimes, backing vocals and synthesizers. The song has become a Christmas standard and continues to surge in popularity each holiday season.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” received critical acclaim, with The New Yorker describing it as “one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon”. The song became a global success, topping the charts in twenty-six countries including Australia, Canada, France and Germany.

In 2019, it topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, 25 years after its original release, thereby breaking several records, including the longest trip to number one. The following year, it also topped the charts in the United Kingdom for the first time, spending a record 69 weeks in its top 40 before reaching number one.

With an estimated sales of over 16 million copies worldwide, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is undoubtedly the best-selling holiday song by a female artist and one of the best-selling physical singles in music history. The Carey version of the song has over 1 billion streams on Spotify alone.

Last year, it became the first song to be a No. 1 hit in three separate runs on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Coming back to Stone’s lawsuit, it wasn’t clear from the complaint when Stone first learned about Carey’s song.

The complaint said Stone’s lawyers first contacted the defendants in April 2021 about their alleged unauthorized use but were “unable to come to any agreement.” Stone’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment. However, there doesn’t seem any similarity between the two songs.

Mallika
I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.
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