There seem to have been constant stories in the last few months in the media about famous artists being accused of copyright infringement in their music, with Ed Sheeran being the most obvious recent example. Now one of the most famous songs of all time, Mariah Carey’s Christmas monster hit ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is facing accusations of copyright infringement.
The artist bringing the complaint (Andy Stone, performing as Vince Vance) recorded a song with the same name as the Mariah Carey hit in 1989, with the Carey song subsequently being released in 1994. The two songs share a title but that appears to be where the similarity ends with the songs appearing to be musically very different. Despite this Mr Stone is suing Ms Carey, her co-writer and her record label saying that her song has caused confusion and that Ms Carey exploited his popularity and style. Mr Stone is claiming at least $20m in damages in the case.
It is unclear why it has taken Mr Stone 28 years to bring his claim or why he has focused on Ms Carey’s song when the US Copyright Library lists 177 entries on its database with the same name. Interestingly, the claim does not appear to allege that Ms Carey copied her song from Mr Stone’s but rather that permission was not sought to use the song title, however given that there is no copyright in song titles this does not appear to be a claim that stands much chance of success.
It is not obvious why this claim has been brought, given that no copying appears to be alleged, the songs appear to be different and the only similarity is the title and lyric ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ which is not original and so not protected by copyright. It will be interesting to see how this develops and it is likely that Mr Stone has brought the claim in the hope that Ms Carey will settle rather than fight the claim.
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