Mariah Carey Facing $20 Million Lawsuit From Songwriter Claiming He Wrote 'All I Want for Christmas Is You'

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Mariah Carey is known as the Queen of Christmas, but a lawsuit alleges there's a less-than-idyllic backstory to the inception of her iconic holiday jam, "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Carey is being sued for copyright infringement by songwriter Andy Stone for allegedly taking inspiration from a song he wrote and recorded -- by the same name -- years before she released the mega-hit in 1994. 

According to CBS News, Stone filed a civil lawsuit in the Eastern District of Louisiana on Friday against Carey, song co-writer Walter Afanasieff and the Sony music group over alleged "copyright infringement and unjust enrichment" among other reasons, over a song he wrote with the same title five years before Carey's hit was released. 

Known artistically as Vince Vance and the Valiants, Stone co-wrote and recorded the song in Nashville in 1989 and claims his version of the song got "extensive airplay" and made it to the Billboard charts during the 1993 Christmas season.

Stone alleges that Carey and Afanasieff "never sought or obtained permission" for the use of the title "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and that Stone never gave permission, consent or a license to use the title. 

The court filing claims that Stone's lawyers first reached out to Carey and the other defendants in April 2021 in regard to "the unauthorized use of the song," and after "not being able to come to an agreement" about the usage, Stone personally requested to send a cease and desist letter. Despite that, Carey and the other defendants "continue to exploit" his work. 

So far, Carey has not responded to the lawsuit. 

Carey and Afanasieff released their version of the holiday single on Carey’s 1994 Christmas album, Merry Christmas, and the timeless track has had a staying power that makes it the song to kick off the season. It has been streamed at least 1 billion times on Spotify, is certified 6x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and has spawned a children’s book, family film and mini-documentary, Mariah Carey Is Christmas: The Story of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You,’ for Amazon. As of 2017, it's also earned $60 million in royalties. 

Twenty-five years after its release, the single rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time ever, having previously reached number three in 2018. 

In old ET footage of Carey taken less than 48 hours after the song's release, she said that she wrote the song's lyrics after they filmed the music video. "I wrote the song after I shot the video and it just happened to work really well when we put it to the music," she shared.

In an Amazon special, Carey reflected on the iconic hit, which has earned her more than $60 million in royalties.

“When I first made the record, it wasn’t as big a hit as it is now. It’s grown in popularity over the years,” she said. “My favorite line in the song is, ‘I won’t even wish for snow,’ because I always wish for snow!”

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