A bandleader who co-wrote "All I Want for Christmas Is You"—not the famous, top-selling song, but another one—has decided that what he wants is $20 million. Andy Stone has filed a federal lawsuit against Mariah Carey; her co-writer, Walter Afanasieff; and Sony, saying they "intentionally engaged in a campaign" to infringe on the copyright for his song, the Guardian reports. Stone says he didn't give permission for Carey and Afanasieff to use his title. That's all the songs share: the melodies and lyrics are different.
Under the name Vince Vance—of the New Orleans country-pop band Vince Vance & the Valiants—Stone says he co-wrote his version in 1989, NBC News reports. That "All I Want for Christmas Is You" showed up on the Billboard charts during the 1993 holiday season and had "extensive airplay," the suit says. Carey's version was released on her Merry Christmas album in 1994. It's sold more than 15 million copies globally since, earning royalties topping $60 million, and has been streamed 1 billion times on Spotify.
Scores of songs are entitled "All I Want for Christmas Is You"—the US Copyright Office has 177 entries for that name. Stone's suit says Carey and Afanasieff caused confusion by trying to "exploit the popularity and unique style" of his version, per the Guardian. "I actually did bang out most of the song on a cheap little Casio keyboard," Carey wrote in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. Christmas wasn't the inspiration, she said. "But it's the feeling I wanted the song to capture." (Read more Mariah Carey stories.)