One man is not giving up on his quest to take down the Queen of Christmas.
For the second time in as many years, a songwriter has lodged a lawsuit against Mariah Carey pertaining to her hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” claiming she stole the song from him.
Andy Stone, who goes by stage name Vince Vance, filed the suit in Los Angeles on Nov. 1, alleging his band, called Vince Vance and the Valiants, put out their own song “All I Want for Christmas is You” in 1989, a few years before Carey’s 1994 release.
According to the complaint, Vance’s band “performed his hit songs in over 8,000 concerts across more than twenty countries” and claimed three of their 30 albums “attained Number One status on various charts” including their “number one Christmas song” released in 1989.
Vance and his co-complainant, fellow singer-songwriter Troy Powers, allege that their version of the Christmas classic hit the charts multiple times throughout the ‘90s and was still receiving airtime when Carey’s song began to climb in popularity.
This is the second such suit Vance has brought forth, having filed but dropped one last year with largely the same contents. The allegations focus on the “unique linguistic structure” of the songs, saying the term was not necessarily coined by Vance and his band but rather that they used it in a unique context distinct to their tune.
The suit also alleges some of the music itself was copied, saying: “The phrase ‘all I want for Christmas is you’ may seem like a common parlance today, in 1988 it was, in context, distinctive. Moreover, the combinationof the specific chord progression in the melody paired with the verbatim hook was a greater than 50% clone of Vance’s original work, in both lyric choice and chord expressions.”
Vance and Powers also named Carey’s co-writer Walter Afanasieff and Sony Music Entertainment in the complaint, saying they are all partook in the infringement. The suits claims Carey and her team” undoubtedly had access” to Vance’s song prior to writing and releasing their own.
According to Vance, the timeline of both songs appearing aligned with the peak popularity of his song, which charted on the Billboard Hot Country Chart in January of 1994, nine months before Carey’s song released.
“[This] points to the overwhelming likelihood that Carey and Afanasieff both career musicians and songwriters, who knew the importance of charting on Billboard, had access to the Vance work prior to the composition of the infringing work in question.”
The suit goes on to explore the massive success of Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” detailing the commercial gains and cultural ubiquity Carey enjoyed thanks to the single. It also dives into further detail on how the songs are similar lyrically and musically.
“Carey has without licensing, palmed off these works with her incredulous origin story, as if those works were her own. Her hubris knowing no bounds, even her co-credited songwriter doesn’t believe the story she has spun. This is simply a case of actionable infringement,” the complaint concludes.
Vance and Powers are represented by attorney Gerard P. Fox who formerly represented clients suing Taylor Swift for copyright infringement over song “Shake It Off.” While that case ended with an undisclosed settlement, the plaintiffs in this case are seeking $20 million in damages for the profit collected via “fees and royalties from the sale of theinfringing work or any derivatives thereof” not share with the plaintiffs.
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