"This case is about the three biggest Record Companies in the world conspiring to break promises they made to Amway, to ambush Amway, and to entrap people who uploaded videos with the Record Companies' copyrighted sound recordings on to YouTube."
So opens the formal -- and dramatic, with sections titled "The Ambush," "Unclean Hands" and "Entrapment" -- complaint by the well-known direct-selling business Amway against the big three record labels. Amway has accused the labels of stockpiling copyright infringement claims in order to "ambush" the company, making "a mountain out of what would have been a molehill," as Amway writes in the complaint, filed late last week in Florida by Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed on behalf of Amway and and Alticor, the parent company.
Amway says that it had signed an agreement with Sony and Universal in 1998 on how to deal with claims of infringement (Warner later agreed to abide by the agreement's provisions), with the labels agreeing to give Amway reasonable opportunity to respond to their infringement claims before bringing further action against the company or its individual distributors. The agreement was initiated after a 1996 case, Arista Records, Inc. et al. v. Amway Corporation, et al., which accused high-level Amway distributors of infringement on commercials they had produced. The later agreement was part of Amway's settlement of that suit.