- A songwriter is suing Mariah Carey for copyright infringement over “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
- The songwriter, Andy Stone, says he released a song by the same name five years earlier.
- Song titles are typically not protected by copyright laws.
A Mississippi songwriter has sued pop star Mariah Carey over her 1994 Christmas hit, “All I Want for Christmas is You,” saying he released a song with the same title five years earlier, according to court records.
The songwriter, Andy Stone, from the group Vince Vance & the Valiants, alleged in a civil complaint that Carey and Sony Music Entertainment “never sought or obtained permission” from Stone to use the title. He also accused Carey and Sony Music Entertainment of “knowingly, willfully, and intentionally” infringing upon his work.
Stone filed his lawsuit in federal court in Louisiana. The complaint did not specify when Stone learned of Carey’s version of the song, which resurfaces every holiday season and has hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart for the last three years.
The lawsuit said Stone at some point “became aware” of Carey’s “use of his work” and retained lawyers who contacted the defendants in April of 2021.
Sony Music Entertainment, which owns the record label that represented Carey at the time of the song’s release, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
It’s unclear how successful Stone’s litigation will be. Song titles are typically not protected by copyright laws, and it is highly common for multiple songs by different artists to share a name.
For instance, the title “All I Want for Christmas is You” is shared by dozens of other songs and musical compositions listed in the US Copyright Office’s public catalog.
Stone’s lawsuit did not allege any other similarities between his and Carey’s songs beyond the titles. The lyrics of both songs, though thematically similar, share only the titular refrain, “all I want for Christmas is you.”
As Insider’s Debanjali Rose reported last year, “All I Want for Christmas is You” is one of Carey’s most celebrated, beloved, and critically acclaimed hits, and has earned her more than $60 million in royalties since its release nearly three decades ago.