(NEXSTAR) – Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the undisputed champion when it comes to Christmas songs, but it may also pose some legal trouble for the singer. A songwriter, who says he co-wrote a song with the same title in 1989, is accusing her of copyright infringement.
Last week, Andy Stone filed a complaint in New Orleans federal court against Carey, her co-writer Walter Afanasieff, and Sony Music Entertainment. Stone is asking for at least $20 million in damages for copyright infringement, misappropriation, and additional claims, Reuters reports.
According to Stone – better known as Vince Vance in the band Vince Vance & the Valiants – the song he wrote was played “extensively” in late 1993 and appeared on Billboard charts. He has accused the defendants of illegally exploiting his style and causing confusion with their song.
Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” has topped the Billboard charts every year since 2019. As of 2017, the song had reportedly netted Carey more than $60 million, according to BBC.
In her memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah,” the singer says she composed most of “All I Want for Christmas is You” while using a “cheap little Casio keyboard.” With over 10 million sales and streaming units in the U.S., it is the first and only holiday song to be certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The fact that the songs share the same title is the basis for Stone’s copyright claim, according to Rolling Stone. He doesn’t argue that they sound alike – Carey’s has different lyrics and melodies than Stone’s song. Instead, Stone argues he has the copyright on any works with the title “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
There are other works bearing the title “All I Want for Christmas is You,” including multiple TV episodes and an animated film starring Carey herself. The United States Copyright Office shows there are 177 works sharing the same title. Song titles aren’t entitled to copyright protection in the U.S.
Stone’s lawyers explain in the lawsuit that they first contacted Carey, Afanasieff, and Sony last spring but were “unable to come to any agreement.”
Neither Stone’s legal team nor the defendants have responded to Nexstar’s request for comment on the lawsuit.