Sharman Networks, owners of file sharing software Kazaa have launched a countersuit against major record and movie studios saying they have misused copyright laws to drive online rivals out of business.

Sharman Networks maintain that they attempted on numerous occasions during 2002 to pursue the licensing of copyrighted material to legally distribute via Kazaa. They claim that trade groups like RIAA instructed executives to not pursue agreements.

A RIAA spokesman said; "Sharman and its cohort Kazaa, which built the world's largest piracy network, premised on flouting copyright laws and not obtaining licensees, now claim that a lack of licensing has somehow inhibited their development".