US star Mariah Carey is being sued for $US20 million ($28 million) for copyright infringement over her 1994 hit song All I Want For Christmas Is You.
The singer and her co-writer Walter Afansieff are both named in the lawsuit, which has been brought by songwriter Andy Stone.
The complaint, which also names Sony Music Entertainment, alleges that Carey and her co-defendants have earned “undeserved profits” from the song, arguing that they “knowingly, wilfully, and intentionally engaged in a campaign” to infringe copyright.
According to the lawsuit, Mr Stone’s lawyers contacted Carey and her co-defendants last year, but were “unable to come to any agreement”.
The song was released by Carey as part of her album Merry Christmas and has since become one of the most recognisable and popular festive hits.
In legal documents filed at the US District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Mr Stone claims that he co-wrote the song in 1989 and had never given permission for it to be used.
It was recorded by his country-pop band Vince Vance & the Valiants and released in 1989 – five years before Carey’s single was released on her 1994 Merry Christmas album.
The court documents, obtained by the PA news agency, state that Carey and her collaborators “knowingly, wilfully, and intentionally engaged in a campaign” to infringe Stone’s copyright for the song.
They added the defendants had also committed “acts of unjust enrichment by the unauthorised appropriation of plaintiff’s work and the goodwill associated therewith”.
Carey is yet to comment publicly on the lawsuit.
In a recent memoir, she said she had composed “most of the song on a cheap little Casio keyboard”. Merry Christmas has since become the best-selling US Christmas album of all time, selling more than 15 million copies worldwide.
It has also been streamed one billion times on Spotify and by 2017 had reportedly earned Carey more than $US60m ($83.2 million) in royalties.