DALLAS — Mariah Carey may only want you for Christmas, but one musician is asking a lot more from her, alleging she stole his song “All I Want for Christmas is You” for her identically-titled hit single.
The musician, Vince Vance, filed a civil complaint Friday against Carey, producer Walter Afanasieff, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Corporation of America in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Louisiana. The complaint alleges copyright infringement unjust enrichment, misappropriation and violation of the Lanham Act, which prohibits several activities like trademark infringement.
Vance, with his band Vince Vance & the Valiants, first released their single “All I want for Christmas is You” in 1989, five years before Carey released her own single with the same title in 1994.
The complaint alleges that Carey, co-writer Afanasieff, nor her record label ever sought or obtained permission from Vance to use “All I want for Christmas is You.” Furthermore, the complaint states Vance is the owner of the copyright for his original song.
“Defendants’ actions have deprived [Vance] of just compensation in association with the use of the work “All I Want for Christmas is you”, thereby causing [Vance] financial and professional damage, and if allowed to continue, will cause further injury to [him],” the complaint details.
Vance’s counsel initially contacted Carey in April 2021 to discuss the use of the song, followed by sending a letter in December 2021, the complaint continues.
After conversation about the concerns between the two parties, both were unable to come to an agreement over use of the copyright, the complaint states. Vance then personally requested Carey and the other defendants cease and desist from further distribution of the song.
“Despite [Vance’s] request, Defendants continue to exploit [his] work “All I want for Christmas is You”, reaping tremendous financial awards and other pecuniary benefits to the detriment of [Vance,]” the complaint reads.
The complaint is asking for Carey, Afanasieff and Sony to pay him at least $20 million in damages sustained as a result of willful copyright infringement, at least $20 million in profits, gains and advantages derived from him as a result of the Lanham Act, and an additional $20 million at least in damages as a result of misappropriation and unjust enrichment.
No further court dates have been set at this time.