Alabama’s “Christmas In Dixie” Involved In Unusual Legal Battle
Looks like Country super group, Alabama, is indirectly tangled up in a lawsuit with an Australian songwriter over their popular 1982 holiday song, “Christmas in Dixie.” The lawsuit isn’t against the trio themselves but with their label.
Allan Caswell wrote the song, “On the Inside,” recorded by Lynne Hamilton for a TV drama called “Prisoner.” The song landed at no. 1 on the charts in Australia back in 1979, a few years before Alabama’s holiday single was released.
So what’s the problem? Caswell claims that parts of “Christmas in Dixie” and his song contain very similar, if not identical melodies. In 2009, Caswell sued his publishing company, Sony ATV, claiming they didn’t collect the proper royalty payments from Alabama for using parts of his song.
If that isn’t enough, Alabama and the Australian writer are both signed to Sony labels.
“That’s the problem,” Caswell told Australian TV’s ‘Today Tonight’ (quote via the Boot). “I’m signed to Sony ATV. Alabama is signed to Sony Music. So it’s all in-house. There’s no incentive for them to take action. They basically can’t take action because they’d be suing themselves.”
Caswell claims this is not a plagiarism lawsuit but about Sony doing their jobs. He continues, “I’m saying I wrote it first, they used some of it in their song and now I want to be compensated for it.”
The case heads to New South Wales Supreme Court in June.
-Amber Morgan/100.3 KILT