blender still wont behave!

i have 3 armatures - i used the ipo curve thing to get them all to behave.
lets say the names are top, right and bottom.
i have another identical 3 armatures.
so on each of top, right and bottom i copy them now have top.001 etc.
i select the the second armatures and use the .001 etc.
but now it says that top bottom and right are unused.
the first set has forgotton them.
what did i miss?
another odd thing.when i select any of the second armatures- in pose mode - it always knows which of the top etc to use! but it is never an .001.
i even put in three totally detached new armatures.
one of the second set would use the new names but the other 2 just want to use the top, right etc.