Over 25 years since its release, Mariah Carey is facing a $20 million lawsuit over her Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping 1994 holiday smash, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” by another artist with a song of the same name.
Andy Stone, a New Orleans-born musician who performs as Vince Vance and the Valiants, filed a civil lawsuit against Carey, co-writer Walter Afanasieff, and Sony Music Entertainment in the Eastern District of Louisiana on Friday, alleging “copyright infringement and unjust enrichment” over a successful song — also titled “All I Want for Christmas Is You” — he co-wrote in Nashville and released in 1989.
The singer-songwriter claims his “All I Want for Christmas Is You” — which features vocals from Lisa Layne — received “extensive airplay” on the radio during the 1993 Christmas season, which propelled the country song to No. 55 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart the following year.
In the court filing, Stone, whose exact age is unknown, is said to be a self-employed artist who makes a living selling, performing, and licensing his copyrighted music.
Stone’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is a guitar-led country ballad, while Carey’s is an uptempo pop track, and the two songs don’t share lyrics aside from the title. Despite their musical and lyrical differences, the filing claims the defendants, Carey, Afansieff, and Sony, “never sought or obtained permission” to use the song’s title. Additionally, it states that Stone never gave permission, consent, or a license to use the title.
According to the court document, Stone’s lawyers claim they initially reached out to Carey and the other defendants in April 2021 regarding “the unauthorized use of the song.” After “not being able to come to an agreement” about the usage, Stone made a personal request to send a cease and desist to Carey, whom he claims continues to “exploit” his work despite the cautionary letter.
A rep for Carey had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.
Since its release on her iconic Merry Christmas album, Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” has received yearly radio play, topped the Billboard Hot 100, and been certified Diamond by the RIAA for more than 10 million copies sold — making it the only Christmas song to have accomplished the rare feat.
Stone’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” only continued to chart amongst Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks through 2000, but the song received a bump in relevance in 2020 when Kelly Clarkson released a cover version, which was later included on her 2021 album, When Christmas Comes Around…
Carey’s chart-topping hit has amassed over a billion streams on Spotify and earned at least $60 million in royalties based on a 2016 study by The Economist. The “Obsessed” singer has yet to respond to the lawsuit.