Can artists copyright a song title? We’ll find out when Mariah Carey heads to court over a lawsuit that claims someone else had dibs on the title “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
The Washington Post reports songwriter Andy Stone — who is better known by his stage name Vince Vance — is suing Mariah and her co-writer, Walter Afanasieff, for $20 million in damages. He is arguing they infringed on his copyright because he wrote a song with the same exact title in 1989 — five years before Mariah unleashed her Christmas classic.
Vance alleges the track was released as part of his band Vince Vance & The Valiants and received “extensive airplay during the 1993 Christmas season.” He also said it appeared on the Billboard charts. While these songs do share a title, there are no similarities in their respective melodies or song lyrics.
Vance argues neither Mariah nor Afanasieff “sought or obtained permission” to repurpose his song title and that he reached out to both in April 2021 for them to make it right. He later followed up in December 2021 and claimed, “Even after communicating the concerns with Defendants, Plaintiff was unable to come to any agreement over usage of the ‘All I Want for Christmas is You.'”
It should be noted that while Mariah does have the most popular version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” there are dozens of others songs using the same exact title registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Mariah has not responded to the suit.
Speaking of Vance, Kelly Clarkson recorded a cover of Vance’s version of the song for her holiday album When Christmas Comes Around.
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