Legendary Mississippian songwriter Andy Stone, from the even more legendary Vince Vance & The Valiants, is suing unknown pop singer Mariah Carey for copyright infringement. The suit complains that Ms. Carey, in cohorts — and, dare we say it, in cahoots — with one Walter Afanasieff, wrote a song titled “All I Want For Christmas Is You” some five years after Mr. Stone composed his immortal tune bearing the same title.
The actual songs in question bear no relation to one another save the name, along with some 179 other entries presently registered with the United States Copyright Office under the same title. While the above-listed reference includes recordings in addition to songs themselves, it is a relatively safe bet more than one song bearing the moniker is presently on file somewhere in a Washington, D.C., basement.
We proceed with a warning: the following videos contain material that may prove upsetting or offensive to sensitive people–such as music lovers.
BBC News has more on the grievance.
Songwriter Andy Stone says he co-wrote a song with the same name five years earlier, arguing that Ms. Carey exploited his “popularity” and “style”.
Despite sharing a title, the two songs appear musically different, but Mr. Stone claims Ms. Carey caused confusion and did not ask for permission.
The exact nature of Mr. Stone’s “popularity” and “style” is presently under research.
Although statistics for Mr. Stone’s song are oddly unavailable, Ms. Carey (who is she again?) has managed naught but a meager $60 million in royalties from her song. It has over one billion Spotify streams, the latter earning Ms. Carey, to date, approximately $47.18. (Briefly setting sarcasm aside, Spotify is the worst when it comes to paying artists.)
It warrants mention that while copyright laws cover actual song content —melody, lyrics, chord structure, stuff like that —song titles in and of themselves are ancillary, which makes Mr. Stone’s case somewhat suspect. Rendering it even more suspect is the minor detail that Ms. Carey’s song debuted in 1994. Even when considering Mr. Stone’s location, Mississippi does have all the accruements of modern living, such as radio, television, and other contemporary broadcast mediums. This makes it difficult to accept any idea of just now finding out the song existed, even if one never ventures into a retail establishment between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mr. Stone’s case is so weak. Amber Heard just left him a message advising he pack it in.
Mr. Stone is asking for $20 million. Good luck with that.
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