Amway Pays $9,000,000
in Copyright Claims Case

In one of the largest class action copyright lawsuit ever, Arista Records, Inc (M.D. Florida., Case No. 96-175-CIV-ORL-18) and Aerostation Corp. (US MD Florida 96-CV-1102), sue the Amway Corporation and about 50 other top Amway distributors with illegally copying and selling recordings of popular rock music on their "Diamond lifestyle videos".    According to the Brinks Hofer website, there were 215 alleged copyright infringements.  In September of 1997, after some discovery was completed, the parties settled. Neither Amway, its distributors nor the video producers admitted liability as part of the agreement. 

Sidney Schwartz had two pages on this topic, which I have mirrored on my site.  The first one was the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  The second was the National Music Publishers Association.(NMPA) Lawsuit  According to RIAA President and COO Hilary Rosen, the statutory damages recoverable under the Copyright Act would increase from $11 million to $19 million based on the additional infringements.

I had first learned about big Amway copyright case from the "Foley v. Luster" case while surfing the web in December of 2001.  At the time I had though it pertained only to music being played at functions, but later found out it was mostly about the music used in promotional "diamond" videos.  Thousands of these videos were sold with the copyrighted music.  The "Foley v. Luster" case appears to be a fallout case from the main suit.  Several Diamonds (Gooch, Anderson, Haugen, Foley, Grabill) sued the videographer, Luster, who choreographed the videos  for indemnity to the copyright claims.    From the case on the web it appears that Anderson, Haugen, and the Grabill were successful in their suit against Luster.   Foley and Gooch lost and could not be indemnified by Luster.

I was able to track down Mr. Luster by telephone and we spoke about the case.    He had informed me of the settlement amount of $13.5 million to all the various parties. The Associated press reported the RIAA alone received $9 million.   He had said Amway made the settlement and basically took over for the suit to avoid having other sensitive information exposed to the public. Some discovery had already taken place in the suit, but many of the King Pins' books had not yet been reviewed according to Bruce Anderson, a defendant in the case.

Also interesting is when I did a search for "Arista Amway" on google, I got a hit to my own page on the Amway subpoena of my computer hard drive back in March of 2000.   Amway was requesting hits to many search terms including "Arista".  I find that strange since the subpoena was supposedly for the amway v. P&G, Sidney Schwartz suit.     Now that I notice it they also had the term "Anderson", which happens to be a name in the "Foley v. Luster case".   John Holgand another webstie holder also received a subpoena in Feb, 1999 also with the search terms "Arista" and "Anderson".    hmmm....Maybe Amway was real fishing expidition when they came after our computers....

I'm not sure what this means.  I guess I have some more digging to do.  Stay tuned.......

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