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eToys Inc. Drops etoy Suit - For Real This Time 140

artiste writes "The NY Times tech section is reporting that eToys is dropping the suit against the artists group, etoy." (Free reg. required to read). eToys "dropped" the suit earlier, but not all the way. This time it looks like they've really and truly surrendered. They're even paying etoy's legal bills. Click Below to read etoy's e-mailed press release.

From: "etoy.AGENT027" [agent027@mail.toybomb.com]





thank you for flying etoy....

*QUOTE etoy.DAVE, TONGA 1994


according to the etoy.LAWYERS chris truax in san diego and peter e. wild in zurich eToys Inc. gave up its naive fight against the famous international art group etoy this tuesday after a long and exhausting dispute about the terms and conditions of this settlement.

on monday, january 24, 2000, the TOYWAR.crisis-control-board, 1345 special TOYWAR.agents and media warriors triggered another firestorm : within a few hours many hundred EMAIL-TOY-BOMBS exploded in the brains of customers, e-shoppers, brokers and nervous business men all over the world.

no one got hurt - but the message is placed and the eToys share value sunk below its initial price of $20: value on tuesday / 11.12 AM: $19.0625 per share unit.

one of the targets of the violence-free toy-bombing was the eToys HQ in santa monica .. eToys felt that it is now time to drop this lawsuit and to accept all the demands the etoy.CORPORATION submitted.



all agents on TOYWAR.com get rewarded with etoy.SHARES and special compensations.

TOYWAR.heros will be awarded with etoy.MEDALS and TOYWAR.titles after champagne and drugs left the bodies of the TOYWAR.crisis-control- board-members.


for one time we avoid long statements and launch the party rockets...

signed and verified: the etoy.BOARD

etoy.CRISIS-PRESS-OFFICE: 0041 1 242 40 81
if you joined this community because of the lawsuit....you can now unsubscribe@toybomb.com without any negative feelings! good bye & it was nice to meet you. otherwise stay tuned and wait for even more exciting media viruses and twisted business plans from the etoy.LABORATORIES. we are not done yet.


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eToys Inc. Drops etoy Suit - For Real This Time

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  • by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:37PM (#1336360) Homepage

    I wonder if there's anything that keeps etoys.com from simply refiling the lawsuit before next year's holiday spending season again. My impression is that etoys.com is really getting off scot-free here.

    Let's face it, the only way that this kind of bullshit stops would be when ANYONE who brings frivolous and punitive lawsuits of this nature has to pay severe financial sanctions for abusing the legal process.

    I'm, of course, not talking just about the etoys episode, but of others like that, like the current nonsense with the DVD-CCA. I'm not a big fan of class-action lawsuits, but I think that something like that, a class-action lawsuit, would be perfectly appropriate here. In my dreams, I see every Linux owner who wants to be able to play DVDs certified as a member of a class in an action against the DVD-CCA for restraint of trade and anti-competitive practices. The DVD-CCA is preventing anyone from introducing competitive DVD playing software, using coercion and intimidation. Microsoft is about to be grabbed by the short hairs, for doing something very similar, why can't the DVD-CCA?

  • This is undeniably good news. However, representative of hackers vs. corps as it was, the issue in and of itself was minor. The DeCSS conflict, for example, is much more important. If etoy got destroyed, it would be a symbolic tragedy, but if DeCSS is destroyed, far more people will be inconvienienced. If DeCSS results in a victory for us, it will be a much more public and important victory. If this victory can be recreated in that arena, it will be much more meaningful. That said, this is extremely good news, just when things were getting worse.


  • it is more of a revolving door...

    MSFT -> company that tries to steal domain -> MSFT -> bastards trying to persecute hackers for cracking stuff -> MSFT -> etc.
  • I don't think one day counts as a boycott. Its more like the annual Smoke-out or Peta's Meat-out day. Or maybe the "buy nothing" day that people were trying to get going the day after thanksgiving.

    Yeah, definitly not a boyctt. call it a protest day. *end nitpick*

    Off topic, bad Kahuna, no Karma!

  • The recommended tactic used by advocacy groups in this instance is to actually give the organization positive re-inforcement for finally coming around and doing the right thing. It doesn't mean you approve of or support the negative things they've done, but it does show them that you recognize their "change of heart" and leaves them with the realization that good actions will be encouraged. Of course, should they misbehave in the future, you have to repeat the process of punishment/reward, but if they're even reasonably intelligent, eventually they learn the lesson. The idea is to condition them to do "good" in the first place, rather than do "harm", then backpedal when the punishment becomes unbearable.
  • There are many ways to embarrass and further damage this company--the Nazi figurine eToys advertises

    All eToys's web site says about the toy is that it is a "German Soldier by Dragon". There are NO NAZI emblems on the figure/doll. So by RTMark's representation of the doll, all Germans are Nazi's.
    And some of the Slashdot readers are on their side, not with this issue, but it just seems so childish on RTMarks part..
    And the part where "Many investors responded by dumping their eToys stock." Maybe the investors where out of lockout and were finally able to sell the stock that they had in the company to make a nice profit. OH no.. It can't be that... it has to be because of RTMark.. uh huh.. some group is a little full of themselves.
  • Given that Network Solutions, Inc. was willing to discontinue the www.etoy.com propogation, etoy had no choice but to respond. As far as a judge ruling on something outside his jurisdiction, what are we, f**kin' mind readers :) ? You want my logical conclusion based on my personal review of all the facts? The judge ruled because he was ignorant of the consequences and of all the facts in the case.
  • With all the support Etoy had and the support DeCSS has, it should be no problem to overcome corporate greed.

    The problem is that these cases aren't similar. The eToys vs etoy case was extremely clear-cut: the motivations were very clear, and etoy was very very clearly in the legal clear (and still look at all the crap they had to go through). The DVD defendants don't have that luxury: whether you like it or not, the issues surrounding the DVD case are legally murky.

  • ...Peta's Meat-out day.

    This is an event where members of People Eating Tasty Animals wander around unzipped?

    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • Sig11 has his own groupie, as do 'MEEPT!' and 'Grits Boy'. How 'bout a 'technos' groupie? It would make me feel so 1970's Mick Jagger ;-P

    ooooooo! start me up, you big slab-o-tongue! you've got your wish!

  • by mx80 ( 120744 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:41PM (#1336373) Homepage
    January 25, 2000 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Waited a month to make good on promise, just in time for earnings report

    Contact: mailto:etoyfund@rtmark.com
    More information: Press cverage [rtmark.com], RTMark etoy Projects [rtmark.com], etoy Toywar Platform [toywar.com], Shell Oil [rtmark.com], Nazi toy [etoys.com]

    Four weeks ago, Internet toy giant eToys announced to the press that it was "moving away" from its lawsuit against European art group etoy in response to the torrent of public outrage. As the weeks went by without further action, however, many activists decided that eToys' words had represented a typical corporate ploy to derail opposition, and that the company had no intention of actually dropping the suit.

    Activists quickly renewed their campaigns against eToys. RTMark initiated two new campaigns to drive eToys' stock price yet further down (it has now sunk well below its opening value of $20 per share, after a high of $67 reached the day the protests began), and a new community platform, http://www.toywar.com [toywar.com], gathered a "toy army" of 1400 activists poised to perform "operations" on command.

    The strongest attack to date was scheduled to coincide with eToys' earnings announcement on Thursday. Today, just in time, eToys formally dropped its case against etoy "without prejudice"--a phrase that means either party is still free to attack the other. eToys has also formally agreed to pay etoy's court costs and other expenses incurred as a result of the lawsuit.

    "A precedent has now finally been set in stone," said RTMark spokesperson Ray Thomas. "eToys thought it could act like corporations typically do, but it had no idea how the Internet works. Now e-commerce corporations have a choice: either obtain a legal stranglehold on the Internet, so that this kind of defensive reaction is no longer possible, or behave decently towards the humans who use this medium for purposes other than profit."

    "This is the Brent Spar of e-commerce," said Reinhold Grether, an Internet researcher and a mastermind of the anti-eToys campaigns. "Just as the petroleum industry learned it had to listen to environmentalists, so e-commerce companies have now learned that the Internet doesn't belong to them, and they can't do whatever they want with it." (See http://rtmark.com/shell [rtmark.com] for more about the Brent Spar, and http://www.hygrid.de/etoyrhiz.html [hygrid.de] for more comments by Grether.)

    "eToys will try to paint this as a misunderstanding, as just a simple error that has now been corrected," wrote etoy in a prepared statement. "But this is not what happened. They tried to destroy us, and that got them into very big trouble. They wanted to drop their case 'with prejudice,' because they fear further attacks and trademark battles, but now they see they have no choice at all in the matter. It is a total victory."


    Even though etoy has recovered its domain, the etoy Fund will not be retired, said RTMark spokesperson Thomas. Each project's discussion board will continue to function, and the resources of the etoy Fund pages will continue to be accessible for use and research.

    "We hope that this campaign continues to serve as a reminder to people of what corporations do when left to their own devices, and as a reminder to corporations of what they cannot do, at least on the Internet," said Thomas. "We also hope people continue expressing their anger at eToys, if they so choose. There are many ways to embarrass and further damage this company--the Nazi figurine [etoys.com] eToys advertises could lead to a boycott by Jewish groups, for example." Another immediate option would be a class-action lawsuit by eToys investors, said lawyer and RTMark member Rita Mae Rakoczi. "It could convincingly be argued that eToys, being an Internet company, should have known what it was getting into, and has seriously mismanaged its stockholders' money. If etoy's possession of etoy.com is so dangerous-- as perhaps it really is--why didn't eToys choose a different name for the company when they had the chance? And why did they choose to pursue in an openly hostile manner an art group best known for a piece called the 'Digital Hijack,' which made sophisticated use of technology to playfully attack users' browsers? It wouldn't take an Einstein to predict trouble."

    "If eToys stumbled into this through sheer stupidity and negligence," Rakoczi continued, "it could be liable to investors for part of the $4 billion in value that's been lost as a consequence. A successful lawsuit could even entail eToys losing its own trademark, which would likely mean the end of the company." RTMark has set up a page [rtmark.com] containing links to resources on class action lawsuits against corporate managements.

    "Things on the Internet don't go away," said etoy in its statement. "'Brick and mortar' corporations do this sort of thing and then bury it--but this will always be there when you search for information on eToys. It will always be very visible what bastards they were. They can never recover from this." The 1400 "Toywar soldiers" mustered by http://www.toywar.com [toywar.com] will remain on high alert, according to the platform's operators, and are prepared to spring into action at the slightest indication of further aggression by eToys.

    "And Network Solutions had better be careful, too," etoy said. "We will not tolerate any delay in the reinstallation of the etoy.com DNS entries." Network Solutions, the company in charge of Internet domains, illegally terminated etoy's e-mail shortly after the November 29 injunction, although no such move was required by the order. (See http://rtmark.com/etoyvaticano.html [rtmark.com] for another example of illegal behavior by Network Solutions.)


    Late last year, eToys attempted to buy etoy.com from European art group etoy, and offered upwards of $500,000 in cash and stock options for the domain. etoy turned down the offer, so on November 29, 1999, eToys obtained a court injunction preventing etoy from operating a website at www.etoy.com, which had been registered before eToys even existed. To obtain the injunction eToys told the judge that etoy.com was confusing customers, and furthermore that it contained pornography and calls to violence. etoy.com had never made any reference to eToys or toys, nor featured anything resembling pornography or calls to violence.

    During the subsequent weeks, activists attacked eToys by a variety of means that have been widely credited with contributing to the 70% decline in the value of eToys stock--a decline that began the same day as the protests.

    The Dec. 15-25 Virtual Sit-in crippled the eToys servers, as CNN reported [cnn.com], and prompted eToys to file a restraining order against one of the organizations responsible for it, and to threaten another activist anonymously.

    Simultaneously, the Disinvest! campaign filled eToys investment boards and other outlets with messages about the situation. Many investors responded by dumping their eToys stock. Even those who refused to see a link between activist attacks and the eToys stock fall were at a loss to explain how it could lose so much money, so consistently, on consistently good financial news. Some suspected foul play by eToys management, and the possibility of a class-action lawsuit was raised.

    Finally, on December 29, eToys announced it was "moving away" from its lawsuit in response to public outrage. At first, etoy and the activists were delighted, and a formal counterpart to the statement was expected from hour to hour. Then, when nothing happened for days and then weeks, it became clear that eToys' announcement had been an empty verbal concession it had no intention of making concrete--a typical corporate ploy to derail activist momentum.

    Activists quickly renewed their campaign to damage eToys. Perhaps startled by the endurance of its opponents, and nervous about further attacks and proof of instability during the week it is to announce its quarterly earnings, eToys today--at 15:20 Pacific Standard Time, to be exact--finally backed down on paper, ceding full rights to etoy.com on etoy's terms, without precondition and with payment of court costs and other expenses.

    RTMark, which is in no way associated with etoy, aims to publicize the widespread corporate abuse of democratic institutions like courts and elections. To this end it solicits and distributes funding for "sabotage projects." Groups of such projects are called "mutual funds" in order to call attention to one way in which large numbers of people come to identify corporate needs as their own. RTMark projects do not normally target specific companies; the etoy Fund projects are an exception.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    and written, signed by etoys.com trademark owners that they shall forever hold etoy.com harmless, etc. this remains, a temporary situation and can still reverse at any time. What proof is there otherwise? Words over a phone? Feh.
  • DNS at their ISP is probably fine, but the DNS at your own ISP isn't! It takes up to two days for some DNS boxes to update, depending on what your local server admin has it set to. If you want to know for sure, you can set your local Linux box up to be a small-time DNS server, and poll the root name servers (the official ones). Check the How-To's to find out how!

    Brad Johnson
    --We are the Music Makers, and we
    are the Dreamers of Dreams
  • No better time to invest. I just sunk $500 into them while their stock's cheap. (Disclaimer: I am not a stock advisor.)
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine [nmsu.edu].
  • You actually think the ETYS stock price is affected by propaganda from the likes of RTMARK? Think again. Read the comments from stock analysts on ETYS. There is no relationship.
  • no one got hurt - but the message is placed and the eToys share value sunk below its initial price of $20: value on tuesday / 11.12 AM: $19.0625 per share unit.

    This is just silly. A shift of $1 in the price of an Internet stock is not even worth reporting. Suggetsing that there is somehow a causal relationship is just somebody's ego talking.

  • $20 was the IPO price. It was up at about $70 two months ago.
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @07:05PM (#1336381)
    I say we go after the people who are harassing Jon Johansen in Norway. These include the state attorney (Ms Inger Marie Sunde; relevent post [slashdot.org]) and the law firm [www.simu.no] which pulled the strings
    (relevent post [slashdot.org]). These people need to be "informed" of the error of their way.. or crusified if they will not reform. It would be especially helpful if people would track down the law firm's customers, so we can complain to them.

    [switching back to topic of this article] I'll be curious to see the real analysis of the etoy thing. I'd love to think that we really hurt their stock price.

    Also, I should say that I really liked the style of the etoy press release. These guys are pretty good.

  • Hey man, you see that neat little button just to the left of the "A" key? That's called the "Caps Lock" key. It's not just for randomly pushing to turn on and off that cool light on your keyboard. Learn to use it.
  • Patents expire after a limited term of years, so I'm not sure that is the model we want. Patents can also be bought and sold (and even auctioned to the highest bidder), so I'm not sure, keefer, what you are really trying to argue here.

    I, too, think there have been problems (Dennis Toeppen's registration of Panavision, for example) with the domain name system. I'm more than willing to hear your views about what, precisely, the "problem" is and how, precisely, you propose to "correct" it.

    At the same time, I am skeptical about whether the new statute makes things better or worse. There is still an active marketplace in domain names (and I'm not persuaded yet that an active marketplace is a bad thing -- you need to make a more presuasive argument before you can convince me that the existence of a market is a problem), so the statute has not stopped that.

    However, I CAN give you a concrete example -- "famous personal names" are not trademarks and have never traditionally had any federal trademark rights. The statute says it is okay to register a "famous personal name," even if that name is not your own, IF you are doing so to create a bona fide website. Now, let's say the celebrity comes along before the website is posted and says "thanks for being a good fan, but I'd like the name instead and I will pay you $100,000 for it." Guess what -- under the statute you cannot sell the domain name without violating the law. Then again, I would say one could make a fair argument (I'm not completely sure I will adopt it, but I like it nonetheless) that famous celebrities should ALWAYS be prohibited from owning their own names as domain names. Instead, how about a rule to promote diversity of Internet speech, that says whoever owns a celebrity domain name has an affirmative legal duty to share it with other fans, so everyone can express themselves at the website. It really depends on your politics and your worldview whether you prefer THAT hypothetical world, as opposed to a hypothetical world in which a "famous personal name" celebrity gets an automatic monopoly over all [celeb].com, [celeb].net and [celeb].org domain names on the Internet and gets to EXCLUDE everyone else from it, or charge RENT for the privilege of publishing there. If I had to choose one or the other, I suppose I would prefer an Internet where every fan has the right to publish, but the celebrities have to play by the same rules as everyone else. There's a lot of rhetoric inside the Beltway about the wisdom of keeping the hands of government off the Internet. Well, in this case, the Laisez-faire Republicans disregarded their own advice, and the result (the so-called "Cybersquatting Act")is a confusing patchwork of random ideas thrown together at the last minute. As I said before, the statute makes things worse and creates more problems than it allegedly solves. We would be better off just going back to the way the rules were before the statute was passed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:09PM (#1336384)
    Now, Slashdot needs another company to bash. Who's next in the queue?
  • I'll probably refrain from purchasing something from Etoys until next year. If they don't try this same crap again during the next Christmas season, that'll be much more convincing evidence that Etoys is sincere and has learned something. But unfortunately, it's difficult to tell until then.

  • sometimes you've just got to appreciate the gracious use of internet slang and caps lock that people use to make a point these days.
  • by jawad ( 15611 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:12PM (#1336389)
    artiste writes "The NY Times tech section is reporting that eToys is dropping the suit against the artists group, etoy." (Free reg. required to read). eToy "dropped" the suit earlier, but not all the way. This time it looks like they've really and truly surrendered. They're even paying etoy's legal bills. Click Below to read etoy's e-mailed press release.

    You mean eToys dropped the suit earlier. Probably obvious, but the subtle difference between "eToy" and "eToys" is what started the suit anyway.

  • Yeah, a little company won a battle against one company. But in the fact if the DVD/CCA issues going on, I see no reason to celebrate. /p
    If you can't figure out how to mail me, don't.

  • You mean eToys dropped the suit earlier. Probably obvious, but the subtle difference between "eToy" and "eToys" is what started the suit anyway.

    Exactly. And if you ask me, that's when and where it should have been stopped. End of story.

  • Lets hope that the DVD-CCA lawsuit goes away like this one did -- down the drain! With all the support Etoy had and the support DeCSS has, it should be no problem to overcome corporate greed.
    • Does anyone wonder what would happen if there were a judge who was actually net-competant?
    • Would these cases take this long?
    • Has anyone ever had a great judge who understood computers and the net?

  • "We survived their brute force. It's minds over money."

    -Linux Torvalds (someday)

  • Not to.MENTION if they.STOPPED putting.PERIODS between.WORDS. All the.WORLD is a domain.NAME to these.GUYS, i.GUESS.

    much.CONGRATULATIONS to.ETOY on.WINNING, now brush.UP on your.GRAMMAR!

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @07:07PM (#1336395)
    Does anyone wonder what would happen if there were a judge who was actually net-competant?

    how about other entities?

    for example, I applied for that oh-so-cheesy linux logo credit card. [yeah, I'm a sucker for penguins]. I used my brand new PO box as my mailing address - I'm trying to cut down on the # of places that have my real physical addr - right to privacy and all..

    so anyway, I get this letter in my PO box asking for verification of my addr (since my credit history only lists my street addr). I call the issuing bank up and read the case # (and other special #'s that were on that letter I received) to the bank guy - as proof that I did in fact get the letter and I am who I say I am. so even though I can recite the special check codes I listed on the credit app, etc, - still no dice - the bank guy insists on getting a copy of a utility bill or similar that goes to this PO box. (ok - how many utility bills do YOU have that go to your PO box?)

    I then ask the bank guy (who, whether he realizes it or not, is representing linux via the linux credit card) if he has net access (since I remember that my PO box is listed as my whois record address. and of course he's clueless about that whole whois thing. I guess I should have expected as such ;-(

    so anyway, I guess us neticens who spend way too much time online assume that many other folks are net.versant. and of course, its still only like 5-10% of the US pop who's really online.

    well - the banks - I can live with them as they are. it was a pain to resubmit my credit app all over again (using my actual street addr. this time) but I did it and now have that shiny penguin in my pocket [vbg].

    but when it comes to things legal, I DO expect our judges and lawyers to be net.versant (when arguing and deciding things in that domain). and of course they're not aware of technology and this field - so things like the DVD/decss crap drags on and on, usually heading in the wrong direction. and spam laws are still slow to be put on the books. oh, and now that guy from Norway is harassed by his gov't who clearly seems clueless on the actual subject at hand.



  • I was kind of hoping (like many others) that this would set a precendent to avoid this kind of crap in the future

    Oh come on now, Remember what drives the corporate world. Stock Price Occasionally one attempts to increase stock price through law suit. In this case the law suit resulted in the stock price [yahoo.com] falling 75% to below it's IPO value. What better precedent could you ask for. What board of directors would tolerate the stock price plummeting. I'm surprised heads haven't yet rolled at eToys.

  • Backing off on a lawsuit that they were bound to loose doesn't make them any less evil in my opinion.

    I doubt they'd care, but before they ever want any of my business again, they'll need to make major restitution to the internet community at large.

    maybe throwing some of those high dollar laywers at helping the DVD/DeCSS issue or huge donations to FSF, EFF, and other non profit orgs would be a start.

    but until they do, I'll still loathe them as an organization and they'll never see a dime of my business. Or the business of anyone who will listen to me rant for about 5 minutes on the subject.

  • No, it was much higher than the initial IPO price when this started. I don't have the #'s handy, but the drop was significant. Still not necessarily a causal relationship, but way more significant.
  • Oh, I see. It looked like they were saying they caused it to drop yesterday.
  • We can stil bash on the DeCSS. We can bash on Mattel for their suit [sorehands.com].

    We can always go to the backup bashee - Microsoft

    Or we can bash the company that when you call them, and you get put into a queue that tells you, "Your call is very important to us, please hold on."

  • from their whois record:

    Domain Name: ETOY.COM
    Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
    Referral URL: www.networksolutions.com
    Name Server: NS.C3.NET
    Name Server: NS.DESK.NL
    Updated Date: 10-dec-1999

    and now the nslookup...

    # nslookup etoy.com NS.C3.NET
    Server: visio.c3.hu

    Name: etoy.com

    seems their dns server is fine, just good ole slowass network solutions is takin their time about it. altho interestingly enough the ip doesn't do anything particularly interesting on the web so either it's /.ed or their isp is havin issues

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These guys [andover.net] have a horrible record, denying Slashdot addicts the ability to get through to Slashdo during peak U.S. times.
  • You definetly have to be rooting for those guys because that was the best press release I've ever seen in my life!
  • I haven't needed a login for the nytimes articles I've seen linked too from slashdot or yahoo in a couple months. I don't recall entering one of the many free logins & passwords either (but wouldn't rule that out, I can forget stupid things like that :). Have they gotten smart and ditched the login idea?
  • This is not the real "Foogle" - notice the period after his name.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • This is not the real "Foogle". Notice the period after his name.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Several Other Comments ask whether another Goliath vs. David lawsuit is just around the corner. Well, truth is that several Goliath vs. David reverse domain name piracy lawsuits are already pending in the courts and just haven't received any Press yet. (Reverse Domain Name Piracy means the use or threat of lawsuits and big $$ in legal bills to extort the little guy to give up his domain name).

    I'm still waiting for jamie (/. regular) to publish something about the Superbowl of Domain Name Disputes (need to trademark that title :) !! ) -- the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball are all going after a company called FlairMail (www.FlairMail.com) that makes vanity email addresses (like HotMail addresses, but you get to have [myname]@goyankees.com or [myname]@bulls1.net, instead of advertising for a Bill Gates subsidiary) available for FREE to subscribers. All of the sports vanity names are DIFFERENT from the team names, by adding "go" or "1," and several non-sports names are also available. FlairMail has NEVER claimed to be endorsed, sponsored, or approved by the sports leagues (and it doesn't have to be -- the law does not require the approval of the sports leagues).

    Some fans who buy hats and clothing or who subscribe for vanity email addresses may perfer to pay extra for the knowledge that they have the "official" product. Other customers may not prefer to pay extra. The bottom line (and there are quite a few court cases to prove it) is that THAT CHOICE BELONGS WITH THE CUSTOMERS. The sports leagues do not have the right to make that choice for them. But that doesn't stop sports licensing organizations from trying. For example, a couple of months ago, Collegiate Licensing went after a father and son in Ohio for selling "Beat Michigan" sweatshirts. Collegiate Licensing claimed it violated U of Michigan's trademarks. I live in Ann Arbor and I graduated from Michigan law school, and no matter how big a Michigan fan I am, I am still upset and embarrassed by the greed of Collegiate Licensing.

    There are lots of other Goliath v. David lawsuits pending or that have been resolved by the courts. Here is a sample (less than a third of the examples I know about):

    Avery-Dennison vs. Sumpton -- Vanity Email Business had to go through trial and appeal before "little guy" won on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. Appeals court told the trial court to consider awarding attorneys' fees to deter the big company from doing the same thing again.

    Hasbro vs. Clue Computing -- It only cost Eric Robison, a Colorado computer consultant, $100,000 and his marriage to defend himself after toy giant Hasbro decided it wanted to take over the domain name www.clue.com . Robison ultimately "won" in the sense that the court said he could keep his domain name. But did he really "Win?"

    Northern Light Technology vs. NorthernLights.com A search engine was not happy enough with its own domain name and the roughly 300+ additional domain names that NLT registered. So the search engine (which is named after a clipper ship) sued one of its neighbors (which uses the domain name NorthernLights.com -- a reference to the Aurora Borealis), in an effort to take over that domain name, too. The defendant (NorthernLights.com) was using the domain name almost an entire year before the search engine website was launched. The case is still pending in Boston federal court. The judge has suppressed the expressive activity of the little guy by ordering a black "jump page" to be posted in front of his website. (I confess I have a personal interest in this one and the "Superbowl" case.) See http://www.NorthernLights.com/new/

    HealthNet.org -- this website belongs to a charitible group of international physicians. However, there is an insurance comapny in California that already owns HealthNet.com and HealthNet.net. As you can imagine, the Insurance company sent a threatening letter to the physicians' organization, who had to file a lawsuit to defend themselves in Boston.

    There are many more examples, but I'm tired of typing.

    And Congress isn't helping to fix things. Some members of Congress are actually trying to make things WORSE! Congress is making things worse by passing laws that encourage more of these kinds of lawsuits. Senator Abraham of Michigan (who is up for re-election this year), along with Senators McCain and Hatch (who also needed campaign $$ this year), were the original sponsors of S 1255 -- the original so-called "Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act."

    The "Cybersquatting Act" did not need to be passed -- existing trademark law already provided adequate remedies in cases of REAL cybersquatting. Remember, Dennis Toeppen lost all his lawsuits, even without the passage of the law. What the law REALLY does is that it allows Hasbro to threaten Eric Robison with $100,000 in punitive damages if Robison doesn't give up and settle. The law lets Health Net the big insurance company threaten the charity HealthNet.org with $100,000 in punitive damages if the charity does not cave.

    Some of the "Internet-smartest" law professors, like Johnathan Zittrain of Harvard, signed onto a letter by the Association for Computing Machinery opposing the "Cybersquatting Bill," but Congress ignored the advice of people who know something about the Internet. The Clinton Administrration was on record as opposing the bill (but remember the line-item veto was struck down as Unconstitutional).

    To make a long story short, at 4:00 in the morning on the day the Omnibus Appropriations Act (essentially the budget for the Whole Government) was up for a vote, Senator Trent Lott, Congressman James Rogan, Senator Abraham, and Congressman Howard Coble slipped the so-called "Cybersquatting Bill" into the Appropriations Act. The "Cybersqatting Bill" could not have passed Congress any other way. Which leaves nonprofits, small businesses, artists, and others (like ETOY) at the mercy of big commercial enterprises (like eToys).

    So what do you do about it? I have in mind what I call an "Open Source Democracy Project" to help communicate to Senator Abraham and others that decisionmaking about the Internet needs to be done in the open -- subject to public scrutiny and with input from the Internet community. Decisionmaking about the Internet needs to be done with the interests of the entire community in mind and not just a few big-$$ campaign contributors.

    If any /. readers are interested in helping to use Open Source methods of collaboration and cooperation in order to achieve political ends -- to communicate effectively with elected representitives, the I urge you to contact me at your earliest convenience. Specific skills that are needed are (1) factual research (fact gathering), (2) writing, (3) high-quality website design, (4) fact-checking (we need to be absolutely accurate), and (5) publicity. If the project is a community project, it will be FAR MORE EFFECTIVE than a single person's efforts ever could be.

    Eric C. Grimm

    Attorney at Law

    CyberBrief, PLC

    Ann Arbor, Michigan


  • Is paying another companies legal fees enough to compensate for completely removing them from the market during the holiday season when more toys are sold than any other time of year?
  • It brightens my day just a little to see that NatePWIII posts with a default of zero now. ;)
  • Etoys' only purpose was to shut the site down for the Chrismtas season when they were generating huge earnings. After December 26 or round about they didn't give a damn about Etoy. Of course, now they are dropping the suit "in the spirit of good will and open-mindedness" or whatever.
  • OK, I'm happy. Score one point for the little guy. Cograts, etoy!

    Now onto the bigger battles. Amazon, DVD CCA, and (though this one seems less clear-cut) RIAA vs. everyone. But it's heading in the right direction....

    --Josh Rosenberg (Colbey)

  • All that can be said is let this be a lesson. This really is a great day in internet history.
  • An etoy "share" is an artwork, not a financial instrument. Inasmuch as etoy are artists with a certain degree of fame, I suppose an etoy "share" is worth something in terms of money, like a sculpture or a painting, but it does not have the same kind of value as an share of stock, that is, a fractional part of the value of the issuing organization.

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • Most of us noticed.

    You know you've hit the /. big-time when you start accumulating groupies. Sig11 has his own groupie, as do 'MEEPT!' and 'Grits Boy'.

    How 'bout a 'technos' groupie? It would make me feel so 1970's Mick Jagger ;-P
  • I won't be surprised if etoys once again sues etoy when next Christmas comes around...

    That assumes that Etoys will still be around next Christmas -- not something I'd bet much money on right now.
  • ... resistance type efforts would be successful if they were run as well as TOYWAR. That's some kick-ass coding, cohesion. Resistance is not futile.

  • Yes, it was a very well-executed piece of media virus, and I too was proud to serve! I think the one big lesson that was learned here (and one that as an artist, I am surprised to see similar communities continually RE-learning recently), is that a sufficiently large group of talented, creative people united for a common cause CAN have a tremendously positive impact! I think we are already beginning to see this energy spill over into the DVD/DeCSS situation, and it is my sincere hope that the community that was formed to support etoy.com will continue to exist, grow, thrive and seek out avenues to use this groundswell to make the internet a realm where the freedom to create will not be squashed. Semper Ars Chris Comte etoy.AGENT Capt._Yosarian
  • I didn't post that. He's got a period on the end of his name.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I didn't post that comment. He's got a period on the end of his name.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • It is my understanding, based on the media reports of the settlement, that both sides have withdrawn their respective suits and countersuits "without prejudice", which essentially gives either side the option to reinstante their legal action at anytime in the future, should they so choose. So, you point is well taken. However, given the intense negative publicity, not to mention catastrophic stock devaluation Etoys has suffered, it hardly seems likely that they would do so. But, maybe they think people on the 'net have attention spans similar to that of their customers... CPC
  • by Lupus Rufus ( 11262 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @07:57PM (#1336433) Homepage
    Does anyone else think the timing of these proceedings is a little strange? Back when people were discussing the lawsuit in the first place, I remember there being talk of how Etoys didn't want to lose a chunk of marketshare during the Christmas season rush to people mistakenly going to etoy or becoming disgusted with Etoys as a result of going to etoy. Well, now the Christmas season is over and done with, so the incentives for Etoys to maintain the injunction against etoy have evaporated. They're only pandering to the free-internet-speechers once their original purpose (to protect holiday-season mind- and marketshare) has been amply satisfied.


    If Goliath can push David around until Goliath gets his feast, only then letting poor David go, Goliath is still in charge. As others have said, the only way to assure a proper victory is to make sure stupid preliminary injunctions cannot be carried out in the first place. This requires a court decision or legislation. Since the latter is pretty unlikely (Wall Street owns Congress, yadda yadda yadda), we need someone to take one of these lawsuits to completion.

    How about a countersuit, etoy? You and the rest of us first-amendment-pushers deserve to reap the rewards.
  • Microsoft. They're always good for a swift kick or two. Not to mention a lawsuit or three...
  • Also, I should say that I really liked the style of the etoy press release. These guys are pretty good.

    visit toywar.com, tell 'em I sent ya.
  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @09:21PM (#1336436) Homepage Journal
    This is a public forum.
  • On Dec. 29, eToys offered to dismiss the suit after receiving what Ross at the time called "a lot of heartfelt, well-reasoned e-mails."

    I'm sure eToys also got a fair number of flames, too, but I wonder if this means there was a good logical-argument-to-flame ratio this time.


  • There was also a link to a new york times article at the top of the slashdot article. (I think the reason you often see the second paragraph repeating the first on slashdot is that readers sometimes forget what the first paragraph said, and start reading the second.)


  • Has anyone ever had a great judge who understood computers and the net?
    Partial list:
    Three Judge District Court Panel in CDA I, and, to a lesser extent, The Nine in that same case;
    District Court Judge in CDA II;
    District Court Judge and two of three Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges in Bernstein;
    Ninth Circuit panel ruling morphed child porn provisions unconstitutional;
    Various federal District Court and Appellate Judges in Blumenthal v. AOL and Zeran v. AOL holding that service providers are not liable for (alleged) libel of content provider;
    District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema, in Virginia, for holding that Loudoun County's mandatory censorware policy in the public library was unconstitutional;
    Any number of judges, state and federal, who have held that the mere fact that a web site can be accessed in the State of the Plaintiff does not mean that the Defendant automatically can be sued in that State.
    There are any number of other examples -- and IAAL -- but the basic points are these:
    Like anything else in the law, it takes time for the the law, and the Judges who rule on it, to catch up;
    Despite that, and not ignoring the "bad" cases, there are plenty of good rulings, plenty of good judges already out there, and as more do "get it", the numbers figure to grow.
  • They turned down a lot of money.

    They are artists. They expressed themselves.

    You appear to be offended by offensive language. I am not. It's expression and I'm going to defend their right to do it.

    I'm sorry, but your Tipper Gore attitude is not going to win me over, especially since I'm a musician.
  • NT = NoThing
  • Thank you for the informative post, but what I personally think would be greatly appreciated is perhaps more information on the Cybersquatting act.

    You make good points about what SHOULD be common sense cases, i.e. people using their own names in businesses, businesses or websites formed way before a company even existed, etc. But there IS in fact a problem out there. It is easily illustrated by checking out this yahoo link [yahoo.com]. These are all domain name brokers, where you can go to buy or sell domain names.

    There are literally thousands, maybe even 10s of thousands of domain names just sitting there by people speculating that someday they'll be useful. A quick check at the domainmart on that yahoo page shows e-businesstv.com available for US$1,000,000! eJobSeeker is a relative bargain for only $1,795.

    Big clue: No one on any of those domain-name-for-sale registrars ever has any intention of ever using them. To me, that is what the cybersquatting rule should really enforce, because I agree that trademark rule should apply to cases where it is generally obvious the name in question has nothing to do with the owner of the name.

    In my personal perfect world, owning a domain name would be like owning a patent (yes, I know patents don't work like this now, that's part of my point): You should be actively engaging in using your IP or domain name or whatever for it to really be enforceable. Companies I have worked for have been stymied by people that own patents, despite the fact that no product has ever been produced by them utilizing said patent. If you're not using it, and we come up with this idea, and it turns out some schmoe has a patent on it, we can't do it.

    I feel that trademarks, patent law, all that stuff does in fact have its place. To me, it seems obvious that etoy was clearly in the right, having existed long before etoys came into being. But the world is driven by lawyers, not by logic. So any light you could shed into this murky bog would be greatly appreciated.

  • ] I'll be curious to see the real analysis of the etoy thing. I'd love to think that we really hurt their stock price.

    The discussion I saw on it claimed that the price was largely related to a combination of volume problems over christmas, and a freeing of locked-in shares from the IPO (or something like that) that were finally allowed to be sold by people who'd held them for a long time. I forget where I read the discussions about etoys' post-christmas dive into the share-price dumpster, but they rated the feud with etoy to be a distant third to these two factors.
  • Actually, and this is so totally off topic I don't know why I'm posting this here, is that if you get enough positive karma, your posts automagically show up as a +2 by default.

    Go figure.

    Now I have this little button down below that allows me to set it to +1 instead of +2; normally I select that when I submit a random bit of blathering like this. But I forgot to moderate myself down when I posted the above.

    Sorry 'bout that.
  • by jfunk ( 33224 ) <jfunk@roadrunner.nf.net> on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:17PM (#1336449) Homepage
    After reading about certain events in the ongoing DVD scuffle over the past while, we now have something to be happy about.


    Etoy simply backed down, rather than have a court rule on it. I was kind of hoping (like many others) that this would set a precendent to avoid this kind of crap in the future.

    I hope something like this doesn't happen again, or the accused would be back to square one. Another thing to note is that Etoy fought *hard* to retain their rights, much harder than most people would. I have incredible respect for those guys. I hope the victims of any future abuse follow their example.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now our favorite socialist art group haswon against the evil capitalists we can go out and press for victory in the realms of DeCSS and others!!! We need to get our GNU/GPL message and socialist pamphlets out!!!
  • by pirodude ( 54707 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:17PM (#1336451) Homepage
    Is this a real press release?
    Last time i checked
    was not common in an offical press release.

  • Good news, but how much longer until another stupid lawsuit comes up? Honestly not all lawyers/business people will be able to learn their leason from Etoy/Etoys.
  • by Duxup ( 72775 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:20PM (#1336454) Homepage
    If you're waiting for a perfect world with no questionable lawsuits, you won't ever be celebrating. I enjoy it for what it is. *raise glass and take a drink*
  • Gee, it seems that this lawsuit lasted just about as long as the holiday shopping season. Could it be that etoys filed suit to keep holiday shoppers from wandering onto etoy's site and then going to toysrus.com because they couldn't find etoys? And now the case has been dropped, if etoys was really in this for copyright infringement wouldn't they have pressed the case further?

  • I wouldn't say they got off scot-free.

    Their stock was at $65 a share. It dropped below $20 a share. That's below the IPO.

    Meanwhile there still seem to be a lot of pages out there that the search engines are picking up. I wonder how many people are going to be all that interested in cleaning those old files off their web space.

    I'm thinking my "How to build your own etoys resistance site [virtualsurreality.com]" page may stay up for a long time as a HTML primer....

    Want to reply? Don't know HTML? No problem. [virtualsurreality.com]

  • From the NY Times aricle,

    Once the injunction is lifted, etoy will again be able to sell its "shares" -- another of its pseudo-corporate projects -- in the United States. Those who supported the group during the lawsuit will be rewarded with shares, which are more valuable as a result of the suit, zai said.

    Is slashdot one of the recipients of these "shares"? If so, do these "shares" count legally (will Rob, etc. now be required to say "Disclaimer: we own shares in etoy"?)


  • etoy.com does not resolve. and the previously mentioned IP address does not answer an icmp echo request... hrmmm.. /.ed or maybe it has been hacked by etoys.com's cgi programmers in responce to that press release.
  • if you know what lawyers cost, it would seem excessively expensive on etoyS part to do it just for the shopping season...
    i mean, if a lot depended on it, yes, but if it is just some people who can't type URLs but know how to complain... well... BAD INVESTMENT.
  • Already started ... check out all the LinuxOne stuff (not to mention the MPAA and RIAA).
  • If you're boycotting /. how are you posting this?
  • So, you eToys did everything you asked them to, including paying the legal bills of etoy, and you say you still won't give them a chance. That's unfortunate because:

    - It shows companies that they have nothing to gain by doing what you ask of them.
    - It shows that your stance is not rational, but rather an emotional ride on the Slashdot bandwagon.

    I would respectfully suggest that you give your emotions a little time to cool off and then reconsider. If you have toys to buy and eToys is the best site for them, give them a shot.

    And consider this: eToys actually did something you asked them to do. How likely is it that Amazon will drop their petty patent lawsuit for you?


    How very Nietzchen. Not to mention loud.

  • And pigs can fly... Probably what did the trick was thousands of email, each with the contents: We don't like you, the way you conduct business and I am spreading this to everyone I know. Furthermore, I am blocking your site, cancelling my orders (if any) and I'm not ordering anything from you anymore. It's not nice, it's not eloquent, but if enough people yell it in your ear...

  • Well, when it comes from a fringe art group, it's not all that suprising.

  • Yes, I agree: it would be nice to set a courtroom precendent; remember, though, that settling out of court is also a precedent, just not as strong.

    If I got taken to court for the same thing, I'd say "Hey, eToys knew they didn't have a case."

    Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun.

  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:27PM (#1336478) Homepage Journal
    Um, it's a real *etoy* press release. They're not exactly straight-line corporate people, okay?

    Most press releases are sleep-inducing. At least etoy is interesting. And (just maybe) that's why they are so loved in online art circles.


    - Robin "roblimo" Miller
  • I agree with the sentiment. However, the MPAA has far deeper pockets (and far thicker skulls) than eToys. I suspect we have a hell of a lot of work ahead.

  • For the last couple weeks, I've been taking part in etoy's "game" over at toywar.com, and while surely its effect isn't solely responsible for the settlement, I'm wonder what sort of part it played.

    It was quite well-done, well-implemented and occasionally even subtle satire, and it probably attracted the sort of people that might be able to make their sensible voices heard by Etoys.

    Hell, even if it didn't, it was a remarkably interesting and innovative way to battle the 800 pound corporate gorillas, and it was an honor to serve :)

    If you're an etoy.agent, feel free to say 'hi' sometime or if you haven't taken a look at it yet, you might want to try to sign up as soon as possible. My alias is John.Prime and I guess I'll see y'all on the battlefield. Fight the power...

  • I don't think that there are is any parelell between the etoys law suit and the DVD-CCA one. In fact the only similarity is that a big guy is trying to smash the little guy. For one, the DVD suit is due to a conglomerate out to keep people from distributing their merchandise for free, instead of paying the companies for it. Also, if the decryptons codes are readily availible, this companies also lose thier power over the market. The only case close to this one is the RIAA vs MP3 and niether of these are going to go away anytime soon.
  • is in the middle of the left side of the keyboard.
    If they considered using it, etoy's press releases might be a little more legible.
  • I think that this does not mean the end of internet sqatting problems. Right now there is a case aginst some guy in Canada who regestered his name, and is being sued by a NHL player becuase he thought that the guy will give it up. Wake up, if a large corperation wants your name, they will get 20 Lawyers and drain your money. In this case this didn't happen and eToy got their name back. The average joe internet when faced with a knock on the door will be scared and give up the domain name, pull the web site, etc.. We need a site on the internet that lists all the pending legal actions aginst domain name squatting, having a legit web page being pulled (I am not talking about the WarEZ D00Dz) or lawsuits involving internet flaiming. Sorry about the long rant I needed to get it out.
  • I'm with you, Jimmie Funk. The courts and coporations seem not to realize that simply not understanding some else's form of expression does not allow suppression of that expression. Whether interpreting how an encryption scheme works, or using a domain name similar to that of a corporate entity (in this case, a domain name secured well before the corporation came into existence), the right to voice one's self is an inalienable right. The Constituion spells it out, but the people themselves know they should have this right to speak and express, whether written in stone or screamed into the wind.

    One's and zero's -- perhaps streamlined, but the electrons flow for one reason only: the sharing of information, the expression of a person's view into the world...
  • Actually they havent done everything I want them to do. Even if I don't count the fact that I would like them to go bankrupt. They have compensated the legal bills, but what about the other damages done? let alone post a very large public apology and a link to eToy on their sites replacing the normal portal-page. Sure.. they did something. but not enough for me to consider them an honest business (if such a thing exists)

  • It surprises me that someone would make this claim, I mean my brother had the whole Raiders of the Lost Ark set of action figures, and as you might expect it included that tough Nazi who got chopped up in the airplane propellor (I think it also included that sadistic Gestapo guy in the black trenchcoat). I'm hoping that people aren't going to try to make the case that we should boycott Steven Spielberg because of this.

    Truthfully, I don't see how an artists group could say, "We are opposing censorship by encouraging censorship," but perhaps this is just typical of avant guard artists seeing nothing worthwhile in pop-art, like action figures or comic books.

    It reminds me of Wolfenstein 3D for the Super Nintendo, somehow removing all the Nazi imagery and having your marine fight some generic evil dictator was supposed to be "sensitive." Yet having the same imagery in two of the three Indiana Jones movies was not considered insensitive, all Nintendo's actions showed me were that some people were determined to keep game consoles a kiddy media in which no serious content would be allowed. We've come a long way since then, witness the Steven Spielberg produced game Medal of Honor [mohgame.com], essentially Wolfenstien 3D with an upgraded realistic engine.

    Again, I would hope people aren't going to say, "Boycott Medal of Honor" because it has Nazi's in it. Remember, if you can't talk about Nazi's you can't talk about all the awful things they've done, and that doesn't help anyone.

  • I think they replaced the login idea, with charging for archived stories.

    Far worse, in my opinion.

  • Like arms dealers, lawyers supply both sides of the field, always win regardless of which side loses, and never get tarnished with the mud and blood that flies.

    Somehow that doesn't seem right.
  • Could someone explain to me why eToy even bothered responding to this suit? How can the decision of a judge in Los Angeles be enforced against an artist collective in Zurich? And why would a Californian judge even bother to make a ruling on a case that is clearly out of his jurisdiction?


  • What other damage done are you referring to?

    etoy got their legal bills paid, AND a boatload
    of free advertising. I'd wager there are many
    thousands of people out there that at least will
    visit etoy's site on occasion that weren't
    even aware of its existence previous to this

    eToys did a stupid thing, they got slammed, they
    gave it up. etoy got taken offline, but in the
    meantime got tons of great publicity.

    eToys will pay back the damages they are
    responsible for (the legal fees), and etoy will
    come back much more successful and popular
    than they were before. It's ludicrous to continue
    to persecute eToys, and refuse to give them your
    business, when they have done no lasting damage.

  • In fact the only similarity is that a big guy is trying to smash the little guy.

    Hehe, that is the similarity. You are completely correct about the RIAA vs. MP3.com suit but I left that out of my post. I knew someone else would mention it.

  • by gothic ( 64149 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:35PM (#1336497)
    As of 2000, Jan 25 - 9:45 Central time, I still cannot resolve (www.)etoy.com. Is this still the 'problem' with NSI? Or is it now a problem with the DNS server at the ISP? Could anyone let me know?

White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.