Andy Stone, the songwriter behind the lawsuit, said he co-wrote a song with the same title in 1989 and accused Carey of profiting off his work in her song five years later. Stone, who goes by the stage name Vince Vance, said Carey did not ask permission to use the title.
Carey and the song’s co-writer, Walter Afanasieff, behaved in a manner “designed to exploit the popularity and unique style” of the song, the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, claimed.
“Plaintiff personally requested that Defendants cease and desist from further distribution of Plaintiff’s work. Despite Plaintiff’s request, Defendants continue to exploit Plaintiff’s work ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ reaping tremendous financial awards and other pecuniary benefits to the detriment of Plaintiff,” the filing read.
The song has raked in $60 million in royalties, according to the Guardian. There are 177 songs that share the same name, according to the United States Copyright Office.
Carey has not responded to the lawsuit, filed 28 years after her song’s release. Her Merry Christmas album is the highest-selling Christmas album of all time, according to the outlet.
The song has topped the charts in multiple countries, and it has been streamed on Spotify over a billion times.
Copyright protections last for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years, according to the U.S. Copyright Office.