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Musical Battle: Mariah Carey's Holiday Hit Sparks $20 Million Copyright Dispute

Friday, November 3, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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In 2008, Andy Stone, performing as Vince Vance and the Valiants, filed a $20 million lawsuit in California's Central District against Mariah Carey, co-writer Walter Afanasieff, and Sony Music Entertainment for "copyright infringement and unjust enrichment" on their song "All I Want for Christmas Is You." A decade earlier, Stone, who had written a song of the same title in Nashville back in 1989, filed such a suit last year along with co-writer Troy Powers in Louisiana and withdrew it five months later.

In the latest legal filing, Stone's lawyers argued his "All I Want for Christmas Is You" received radio play in 1993 and charted on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1994—about when Carey released her own festive anthem.

The lawsuit alleges that Carey appropriated the "compositional structure" of Stone's 1989 song, even though she knew the line "all I want for Christmas is you" did not belong to Stone. The attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that because Stone's song was so commercially successful and so well disseminated in the cultural discourse, it would be inconceivable that Carey and her associates would not have known it.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial. It requests $20 million in damages. Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has become one of the best-selling singles across the world, winning countless radio broadcasts and weekly downloads. Meanwhile, Stone's song continued to chart into 2000 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks and found renewed relevance when Kelly Clarkson released a cover version in 2020, later including the cover as part of her 2021 album, When Christmas Comes Around.

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