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Mariah Carey sued for $20 million over most popular Christmas song

Mariah Carey on the red carpet
Mariah Carey has found herself accused of copyright infringement over her hit song, All I Want for Christmas Is You. Pic credit: ©Imagecollect.com/StarMaxWorldwide

Singing legend Mariah Carey has found herself at the wrong end of a lawsuit after being sued over her iconic Christmas song, All I Want for Christmas Is You.

The 53-year-old first released the festive chart-topper back in 1994 as part of her album, Merry Christmas. The song was co-written by Walter Afanasieff and released by Sony Music Entertainment and is widely thought to be the most popular Christmas song of all time.

Mariah Carey accused of copyright infringement

But now, Carey, Afanasieff, and Sony are all being sued for $20 million on a charge of alleged copyright infringement and unjust enrichment.

Their accuser is musician Andy Stone, who goes by the stage name Vince Vance. He claims that he and his band, Vince Vance & the Valiants, have been cheated out of millions by the Always Be My Baby singer.

Stone filed a lawsuit against Carey and Co. in a New Orleans federal court last Friday. According to the Washington Post, court documents state that in 1989 Vance co-wrote a song called All I Want for Christmas Is You, five years before Carey’s tune was released on to the airwaves.

The song by Vance was subsequently recorded at a studio in Nashville, TN, and was released during the 1993 festive period. The Post reports that court documents state the song received extensive airtime and even made an appearance on the Billboard Music Charts.

Vance and his lawsuit claim that Carey, Afanasieff, and Sony never sought his permission to use, reproduce, or distribute the song.

It’s unknown exactly when Vance decided to lodge a lawsuit, but he is believed to have approached Carey and the other defendants in April of last year before deciding to take them to court after failing to come to an agreement.

Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You has different lyrics to accuser’s version

One detail that may become a focus in the case is that the music and lyrics of both songs are completely different; only the title is the same. Currently, US copyright law does not generally extend to song titles.

All I Want for Christmas Is You was a rip-roaring, chart-topping success for Carey, with number one hits all over the world. According to CNN, the song’s appeal continues to grow as it has topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart every year since 2019.

The Billboard Top 100 website has placed Carey’s version of the song, not Vance’s, firmly at number one in their list of The 100 Best Christmas Songs of All Time.

You can check out Vince Vance and The Valiants performing their version of All I Want for Christmas Is You below.

Mariah Carey has not yet publicly addressed the lawsuit.

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