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Mariah Carey, the iconic singer and songwriter, finds herself facing yet another legal battle. Carey, known for her powerful vocals and chart-topping hits, has become no stranger to lawsuits throughout her career. This time, the Grammy Award-winning artist is being sued for copying material for one of her most iconic Christmas songs from another artist. Let’s dive into the details of the case and explore why Carey is once again facing legal troubles — ironically, again at the beginning of the holiday season.
The Lawsuit and Allegations
Songwriter Andy Stone, who performs under the name Vince Vance with his band of rotating musicians Vince Vance & the Valiants, has sued Mariah Carey for copyright infringement. Stone alleges that Carey’s 1994 classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” stole both its name and chord progression from his band’s 1989 song of the same name.
In addition to Carey herself, Stone is also suing Carey’s co-writer Walter Afanasieff as well as her record label Sony Music Entertainment. All in all, he’s asking for at least $20 million in damages.
Why Was The Lawsuit Dropped Last Year?
Mariah Carey has been the subject of many lawsuits, and this exact case was actually originally filed in June of last year before Stone filed to drop the charges in November. Stone originally accused Carey of “copyright infringement, false association and unjust enrichment” and claimed that she and her label never attempted to get permission from him to use the song’s name.
Stone brought to dismiss the case without prejudice, which is what gave him the ability to file it again this year. He and his legal team didn’t cite specific reasons for dropping the charges, and it’s unclear what they have now that makes them feel ready to open the case again.
Other Recent Lawsuits Against Musicians
Attempting to claim that a popular artist plagiarized your song isn’t a new trick in court, and artists are sued all the time by people who claim their ideas were stolen. In fact, earlier this year, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was sued by the heirs of Ed Townsend, a songwriter and producer who worked with Marvin Gaye, who claimed that he stole elements of Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On” for his song “Thinking Out Loud.” Sheeran won the lawsuit by playing to the jury a medley of songs that used the exact same chords found in both songs.
Last year, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift finally settled a long-running legal dispute with songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who claimed that she plagiarized their song “Playas Gon’ Play” in her song “Shake It Off.” There wasn’t a conclusive verdict reached since both parties chose to settle, leaving yet another strange undecided case in the world of music copyright.
What Will Happen if the Lawsuit is Successful?
If the law is successful, Mariah Carey and her team will be forced to pay Stone however much the jury agrees is proper compensation for the royalties he would have made if he was credited as a songwriter. Either way, Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” will be ever-present this holiday season. After all, the song still spent 12 weeks at number one on the charts last holiday season 28 years after its release.