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eToys Drops Lawsuit Against eToy 193

Posted by Hemos
from the woo-hoo dept.
A lot of people have caught the word that eToys has dropped their lawsuit against eToy. This story has been brewing around here for a while. It's good to see the side of reason prevail in this situation. The solution that eToys is proposing is that both sides drop their respective claims against each other (eToys and eToy both have claims against each other) I've talked with Ken Ross, eToys VP of Communications. Click below for his take on it.

Essentially, eToys has proposed that both parties drop their respective claims against each other. This means that the injunction against against Etoy would be dropped.

The reason they're trying to do this is that they've heard from people, quite a bit over the last few weeks. Quite a number of people from the arts community had contacted them, and they are responding to this, says Ken Ross of eToys.

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eToys Drops Lawsuit Against eToy

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  • by quanix (96484)
    If the world was a fair place, Etoy would sue Etoys for damages and win a couple million dollars. I hate when companies do this sorta crap.
  • by zonker (1158) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @10:52AM (#1434834) Homepage Journal
    I figured this would happen... right after Christmas... Coincidence? I think NOT!


    / k.d / earth trickle / Monkeys vs. Robots Films [xoom.com] /

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Etoys has nothing to lose by dropping the claim. Christmas season is over, the shopping is done. They have all thier sales. In addition they are risking losing a case to Etoy, who could then sue them for damages. In my view this made sense. I wish Etoy would continue thier lawsuit though, this whole thing was concocted for publicity and christmas sales. They should be punished.
  • They just said they won't 'press' the suit, whatever it means.

  • I'm sure that eToy can sue these guys under California's Anti-SLAPP ordinance.

    SLAPP == Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or a shut-you-up-with-big-money lawsuit.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, I can't see any reason for etoy not to press a countersuit. This was clearly frivolous seasonal bullying, and now is the time for justice and recompense.
  • Good to see eToys did the right thing. Now, should we all run over there and buy some toys to thank them? After all if you're going to boycott someone for doing something, you should reward them for not doing it.
  • by xyzzy (10685) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @10:54AM (#1434840) Homepage
    ...but not for the obvious reason.

    If it had gone to court, and Etoy WON, it probably would have been a precident-setting decision. Now, of course, we will probably have to go through this AGAIN with the next bone-head that tries to sue over similar names.
  • Maybe they have some sort of Y2K compliance issue with their clothes irons.
  • Now I want to see how long it takes NSI to get the domain info straightened out. Knowing them etoy.com will be back up sometime next july ;)
  • It makes sense that they dropped the suit- they would not have won since etoy had the domain first and there was no "conflict of business."

    They only wanted an injuntion and some evil PR karma to get NSI to take down the etoy domain so that potential visitors didn't go to etoy (perhaps on a random stab) and shop there.
  • Etoy declined comment, saying it had not yet been contacted by the toy seller

    For some reason i just found that part funny.

    Anyway, I am just glad that reason kicked in, apparantly some companies still read their 'comments' mail and act appropriately.

    O.D.
    Who loves to see that backpeddlin 'Oh no, we didn't want to stiffle artistic expression.'
  • If stuff like this happens every time a company's crunch time is around the corner, there are going to be a lot of irate little guys out there with their pet projects put on hold by corporations who don't want any confusion.
    feh.
  • Seems odd how the world today is embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit. There is no real solution anymore on anything other than to sue other party involved and hope for the best.

    :sigh: Oh well at least someone got the idea finally.

  • So if this is true, how long until etoy can put their sight back up? If at all. Just what does not "pressing" the law suit mean anyway? As they did not say that they were going to drop it altogether. I'll confess to be slightly confused.

    -dvorsd

  • obviously word from the stunningly obvious community just wasn't enough...
  • I imagine Etoy will continue thier lawsuit. The only people that said they were both going to call them off was Etoys, Etoy said they hadn't heard anything. I bet this is just Etoys backing out and trying to coerce Etoy into it as well.

    Grr too tired to fix the rambling thing above, sorry.
    O.D.
  • by KnightStalker (1929) <map_sort_map@yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @10:59AM (#1434852) Homepage
    No kidding! This has nothing to do with the "side of reason." I bet Amazon is right behind them dropping their suit against B&N... the Christmas shopping season is mostly over, so the injunctions are no longer necessary.
  • This just proves, in my humble opinion, that this is mearly a ruse to exploit the average coder -- by hangin' on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society. We're living in a dictatorship. ..... A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working class of coders and average lowly geeks are exploited to serve the purpose of the upper class slime.

    Just my personal opinion though ;) (Hehe, Commie alert!)
  • The reason they're trying to do this is that they've heard from people, quite a bit over the last few weeks. Quite a number of people from the arts community had contacted them, and they are responding to this, says Ken Ross of eToys.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I sent a couple of e-mails indicating that I was not buying from eToys because of this, as I'm sure plenty of other slashdot readers did.

    Perhaps they aren't admitting the influence slashdot and other aware folks have? (If they did, perhaps more people would start voting with their pocketbook, so to speak, and big corps wouldn't be able to get away with quite so much.)

  • by Uruk (4907) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:02AM (#1434856)
    I hate to be a cynical troll bastard, but the truth of the matter is that they probably would have lost horribly. I agree that it would be a very important precedent setter if they had won, but that knife cuts both ways.

    What is the part of the pledge of allegiance that everybody learns but that is never actually *IN* the pledge of allegiance? "With Freedom, and Justice for all those who can afford it". Hate to say it, but whoever has more money generally wins due to better lawyers, and more expendable time/energy/money that gets put into winning it.


  • eToys wanting to protect their trademark. (After all if they don't protect it they loose it) But there are much better ways of doing so. I mean if I was eToys the only thing I would ask is to have "etoy" put mabey a one liner "If your looking for toys click here" with a link to eToys. (And vice versa from eToys to etoy)

    Does that seem fair?
  • Of course they have dropped the issue. Christmas is over.

    They took a shot, lost big, and now are trying to `make nice` for the public because they didn't expect such an outcry.

    Hopefully they have learned. You can't bully the small guy on the Internet. It will not be tolerated.

    -eddy
  • Even better (or worse)...NSI sold the etoy.com domain to someone else in the meantime!

  • Christmas has passed, and with it eToys' worries about the etoy.com domain. Before xmas, when many people were shoping online eToys became concerned that people would end up at etoy.com by accident, and didn't want this to hurt their sales, so they pulled this little stunt to
    1. Remove what they deemed offensive from a similar domain
    2. Get their name in the news

    Xmas is over now, and they dont have anything to gain by dragging this out any further.
  • by Parity (12797) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:08AM (#1434867)
    eToys shut down etoy to increase their margin through the holiday shopping season. The holiday shopping season is now over, and the boycott is more dangerous to them than the tiny percentage of customers they lose to mistyped urls.

    Not to mention that the lawsuit hasn't yet been dropped, their just making compromising noises, aka 'spin doctoring.' I feel no compunction to reward someone for trying to pull a snow job, thanks anyway.

    eToys will probably actually go into my list with Wal*mart and Starbucks of places I will never shop. Every market force -except- consumer awareness encourages corporations to be ruthless and to care about nothing but profit. Unless the senior management of eToys resigns en masse, I have to assume that that company has no ethical compunctions about being anything but a purely market driven force, and I'd be just as happy to see them go out of business. Maybe if more unethical pure-greed business went under, more people with integrity would feel that business wasn't something too dirty to be involved in, and then everyone (except scumsucking getrichquick at the expense of the suckers types) would win.


    --Parity
  • It could be they made the connection between the massive decline in their stock value and the bad press they have been getting since starting this whole mess.

    Kudos to everyone who boycoted them, they got what they deserved and lost in the process.

    Finkployd

  • by Amphigory (2375) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:09AM (#1434869) Homepage
    And I suppose that its entirely coincidental that this happened after the Xmas (please don't associate Christ with that) shopping season?

    If the lawsuit wasn't both valid and necessary, why did they pursue it in the first place???

  • This was a perfect tactic for eToys, using a suit to guarantee customers. By eliminating a potential mis-understanding by eToy through this suit, they managed to keep customers focused on it's own website, thereby eliminating a possible "confusion" which could send their customers to their competition. Now that the key season, the "make it or break it" season for eToys I'd note, is over with, they are happy to drop the suit and no damage is done, completely innocent. No damage done, except to eToy. eToys has managed to make the VC's happy, and will likely shortly begin another round of financing. With the influx of cash, they won't care if they are sued. It's a win-win situation for them.

    Such a sad commentary when a lawsuit is a marketing tactic
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:09AM (#1434871)
    I sincerely hope you are joking.

    First, they haven't said "dropping" the lawsuite, they've said "not pressing it." There may be a difference, legally speaking. Since I'm obviously not a lawyer, I'll let someone more in the know comment. In the meantime a measure of skepticism is called for.

    Second, even if they are actually dropping the lawsuite, that may very well have been been their strategy from the start: get etoy.com taken off the internet during the busy xmas season, then drop a costly lawsuite they can't win anyway after the holiday is over. By next year they would (hopefully) have enough name recognition for it not to be as big an issue, they may have acquired the name, or chosen some other tactic to address the issue.

    The other possibility is, of course, that they have wisely caved in to widespread outrage among both the artistic and technical communities and have found their legal tactics to have backfired in a business sense, costing them allot of money. That may or may not indirectly be related to their stock price falling, though of course those of us who boycotted them would like to believe it to be so.

    Either way, the only reward they may have earned is an end to a boycott, not active support from those they harmed (and that group includes IMHO the entire internet community). However, until I see them actually make good (a public apology at the very least, more preferably paying etoy.com's legal expenses), I will continue to withhold my money from their pockets.
  • Maybe I'm paranoid, but it seems to convinient to drop the suit after the xmas(tm) buying frenzy is over. I hope Etoy retaliates and makes an example of etoys so that this won't happen again. If they don't, I wonder if the suit will be brought back up next xmas(tm).
  • by Mr. Protocol (73424) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:11AM (#1434876)
    This is a skirmish in a wider war, a war that's going to go on for a long, long time.

    We live by the rule of law. Man, there are times when it hurts to say that. The Internet wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for the secret (and sometimes not-so-secret) admiration of many of its builders for the outlaw image. Except for Peter Neumann, of course. However, I live in a neighborhood where I'm glad the police saturate the streets, having had many personal belongings appropriated by other residents of the neighborhood in my absence, over the years.

    But in any frontier, society arrives first and the law plays catch-up. These are the Good Old Days of the Internet, folks, and you should enjoy them while you can. Trademark law, copyright law, trade secret protection, contract law, all are having real, and in some cases severe, problems adapting to the new territory.

    Eventually, all of this will get fixed. But it's going to get fixed in the light of what we do now, during the period of time when things don't work so good. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and the Internet violates so many of the assumptions under which the existing legal framework was constructed that sometimes it's hard to hear the packets whiz by for all the squeaking.

    So when something like this comes up, I think it's a good idea to think about the situation not in terms of "big ugly bad corporation against innocent little guy", but in terms of: "Suppose I owned etoys.com? Suppose I owned etoy.com? Suppose I were a customer of one? Of the other?"

    This might help provide a perspective on the real issues. Remember, ownership doesn't depend on how nasty the owner is. Our legal system is founded on the theory that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, even if you're a vegetarian.

    Once you've gained that perspective...well, then it's time to beat up on the big ugly bad guy. Hopefully, with better weapons in your intellectual arsenal.
  • by DaPhreaker (33196) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:14AM (#1434878)
    I applaud etoys decision to drop the suit, and the people of the Internet community that pushed them in that direction, but there is a more significant issue at stake. How did they ever get the injunction in the first place? The mere fact they won a temporary injunction is frightening to me. Based on the fact that they never owned the domain, it was not even the same name, and last but far from least etoy was around years before etoys, how could any rational person grant an injunction, it boggles the mind. At this point it looks good for the Internet community you know, all is well that ends well and that type of stuff. But what is going to be the out come when this happens again? And what will happen when the site in question is not an internationally acclaimed web site? Will that web site receive the same support as etoy received? The fact that etoys is pulling the suit is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be a clearly defined procedure in place that will not allow this to happen again. And it should be defined by the people/institutions who make the Internet thrive and not by those who thrive off the Internet. Maybe etoy should follow through with their suit and put the screws to etoys. If they win then it would be a major coup for the internet community, something that would make Mr. A. Huge Korporation think twice about hassling little Johnny web site owner. Removing the injunction is wonderful, but that only remedies a symptom, the cause is what needs to be fixed.
  • What trademark ? Their trademark had been tossed out of court. They took advantage of a judge not aware of all the subtlties of the issue. Etoy's trademark is still in progress. If ANYONE had a legal trademark issue it would be etoy. They had been operating for 2 years longer than etoys (take a look at the whois/internic records for domain registration).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    when B.J. Clinton asked Paula Jones to drop her suit. (Way off topic!)
  • at the blatant maniuplation of the legal system by Etoys? They get through the lucrative Christmas season then go "Oops, this is stupid. Sorry!".

    10 on 1 says somebody does something similar. Oops, lucrative time! Use the courts to shut down anyone who might be mistaken for us!

    Pisses me off.
  • by konstant (63560) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:19AM (#1434883)
    So here we have another victory for flame, one of seemingly dozens that I've seen since I began trawling Slashdot. CmdrTaco posts an "outrage" story, thousands of screaming techno monkeys are released from their cages, and the "evildoer" is inundated with everything that the more sanctimonious Slashdotters hate: brainless insults, threats, aimless fury, severance of business relations, and (presumably) a little rational argument thrown in for seasoning.

    And the result? WE WIN!

    Let me spell that out again for you sourpusses who can't abide being represented by puerile mudslingers.

    W E W I N E V E R Y T I M E

    Now I'm sure some of the aforementioned are already warming up their typing fingers to explain how we don't really win, that this sort of victory is phyrric, that we can only reduce our influence and tarnish our credibility by proceeding in this way, and that eventually we will be ignored.

    I disagree. Oh, how much I disagree! I say, it's time we stop shunning natural righteous anger. How long will we claim that human emotion is a bastard of which we should be ashamed? Forget it, no, if the actions of another anger me, then I won't suppress that anger in pursuit of the ideal Spock-like discourse that the Slashdot ethics police endorse.

    Rational argument is fundamental, I disagree. But not all atrocities or moral infractions have their roots in reason. Some are emotional, or even legitimately evil. Those cannot be address by reason; emotion must be an allowable tool in our arsenal.

    My two cents.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • I bet Amazon is right behind them dropping their suit against B&N.

    I doubt it. The eToys vs. Etoy lawsuit was (IMO) an on-line seller upset that the stupid portion of their clientele would be confused when they stupidly typed www.etoy.com rather than www.etoys.com. They pressed the matter based on a pre-existing TM (recently invalidated... WOO HOO!) that they bought from another company, and tried to shut down a small (foreign) website that had nothing to do with their business. In other words, the suit was based on the fact that the two had similar names. That's all.

    The Amazon vs. BN suit deals with two similar retailers (bn.com, AFAIK, is a separate business from the brick and mortar chain Barnes & Noble) using nearly identical technologies. Amazon got a stupid patent for a blatently obvious procedure, and they want to establish an "on-line monopoly" to quash competetion (sound familiar?).

    Eric

  • by |DaBuzz| (33869) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:19AM (#1434885)
    I mean, if you think about the timing of the law suit, Etoys.com main goal was to prevent people from going to Etoy.com when they meant to go to Etoys.com. The best way to fix this type of confusion beyond hijacking the domain and redirecting it is to bring it down all together.

    Scenario:

    Customer remembers something about the "etoy" toystore on the web from a TV commercial so they punch up Etoy.com into their browser ... if Etoys.com hadn't brought etoy.com down, that user may have been marveled by the content of etoy.com and forgotten that they wanted to go to etoys.com in the first place, only later to go to toysrus.com. If Etoy.com fails to resolve for the customer, there is more of a chance that they'll try "etoys.com" and get to the toy site.

    Etoys.com main goal here was to prevent the loss of even a SINGLE possible customer due to the distraction that is etoy.com ... and they did just that.

    Now they want to come off as the Good Guys(TM) for not pushing the suit while all along, their plan worked 100% as expected.
  • From the article:
    "People are telling us they want the art of
    etoy and the e-commerce of eToys to
    co-exist," said eToys spokesman
    Jonathan Cutler. "We've agreed. We're
    not pressing the lawsuit."


    Like there was any confusion in what people wanted. "Oh, Etoys decided to try and run them off of the Net because that's what we wanted".

    Baloney.

    Cutler:
    "Our intent was never to silence free
    artistic expression," he said.


    No, it was just corporate greed, which happened to shut down an artistic Website. They're obviously only "doing the right thing" due to the negative reaction they got, and not because they've "figured it out".

    Personally, I'll never buy from them because of the way they acted, they proved they're not concerned with treating their "neighbors" fairly on the 'net.
  • I was thinking about that this morning when I read this article [american-reporter.com].

    Up until today, I was pretty convinced that etoy would win, hands down - I mean, come on, they registered their domain TWO YEARS before eToys.com came on the scene. But one sentence in that article from American Reporter struck me for some reason - they said the judges would rightly want to be conservative. And for some reason, I read conservative to mean "taking the side of the big American corporation".

    If etoy would have lost (they still could, since the Wired article doesn't say it's officially dropped), well... let's just say I'd have a few bones to pick with our judicial system. I do, anyway (not relevant to this discussion), but wouldn't a victory for eToys just have made clear, once and for all, the good old American money-is-all mentality? It seems clear to me that if this case were pursued, etoy SHOULD win, and eToys should be told they did not plan well. If I named my kid the same name as my sister, whose kid was born 2 years earlier, and then went around bitching because people got confused, it would be my own damn fault. eToys could and SHOULD have researched the name first.

    I still don't think I'll be shopping at eToys, at least not until the suit is really, truly dropped. After that, well... on one hand, they were stupid to pursue this in the first place. On the other, they listened to what people were saying and responded in an appropriate manner. What to do?
  • But this is so much bullshit on the part of etoys.com If you remember correctly the initial injunction was set so that etoy.com would not have a hearing date until the 27th of Christmas - barring etoy.com from Christmas shoppers (etoys big season). The only reason etoys is "dropping" the suit, is because they've already won. Christmas buying season is over and etoys successfully stymied etoy from recieving hits from users who mistyped the etoys website.

    Now is not the time for a pathetic sigh of relief. Now is the time to fight back against etoys.
    I have never in my life seen so clearly the damages one large company can do to good ole fashion people despite "Social Stability" created through government and law.

    Etoys needs to pay. Etoy should not relent. I think RtMark would agree with me when I say that Etoy crossed the line of law on this one.
    Joseph Elwell.
  • Anyway, I am just glad that reason kicked in

    Don't you mean season? After all, since it's no longer the Christmas season, eToys doesn't care about the lawsuit anymore!

  • by Me_n_U (43721) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:24AM (#1434892)
    They SHOULD HAVE just contacted eToy and asked them to put a link on their site for mistakes. I've seen that a few times. That would make to much sense though I guess...
  • After reading your comment I looked back at my e-mail to eToys.

    At no point do I come out and say "I'm a geek and I'm outraged!"
    Rather my e-mail seems to tell them that because of their actions against etoy I was going to take my buisness, and encourage others to take their, elsewhere.

    Maybe when they received all the e-mail from /.'ers they concluded:

    Geee... these must be people in the arts! no one else should care what happens to a piddling 'arts' site.

    And lumped all the e-mail they received into one pile called 'Artists are angry and hurting our profit margin' :)

  • The "rule of Law, and not of men" is an ideal in the real world as well as on the net, but it has repeatedly proven its worth in both environments. (Anarchy means no ruler, not "no rules" -- the net's functionality as an anarchy is declining somewhat with the influx'd tragedy of the commons, but the overall positive effects will eventually outweight this.) Most of what people think of as the "outlaw internet" is actually a very time-tested, freely evolved system of voluntary interaction, just as the so-called "wild west" was actually far more peaceful and law-abiding than many [not necessarily large-scale] present-day environments. And a lot of peoples' negative impressions of the law come from misapplications and abuses of the rule of law, and the perversion of law over time from being a system of justice to the elevation of a privileged class -- lawyers, by and large responsible for most of the current outrages. Hell, under the old common law, landowners could sue railroads for polluting their land via the trespass doctrines, as well as visible damages -- but a good deal of "reform" has made it near-impossible for the average person to obtain any substantive relief without crippling hardship in the form of time and expense. Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever they can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser -- in fees, expenses and wasted time. (Abraham Lincoln) The net -- and the world -- work best when we can work out our problems without resorting to guns, whether in the form of the law or in reality. I hope etoy takes the offer of simply both sides dropping (although I'd want it to be with prejudice to ensure that a repeat of the fiasco wouldn't take place at some point), as that's the traditional method on the net: You have your name, we have ours, we don't claim to be each other, and we figure the average person is smart enough to figure we aren't each other.
  • by isaac (2852) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:27AM (#1434897)
    Seems odd how the world today is embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit. There is no real solution anymore on anything other than to sue other party involved and hope for the best."


    Of course. When the Legislative and Executive branches are coopted, the sole remaining (legal) remedy is petitioning the Judiciary for redress of grievances. These days, that's all that stands between this country and a "capitalist paradise" like Singapore.


    This is why I mistrust tort-reform measures. Who's interests are represented by Congress? Who's job is it to pass legislation? Worried yet?


    -Isaac

  • Some of us corporate-IT types even sent emails to Etoys explaining why we had blocked access to their domain from our corporate networks. (I know, I know, the end doesn't justify the means...)

    However, I still don't understand why Etoys would pull this stunt right before Christmas and then drop it right after. Surely they anticipated that this kind of bullying would irritate the wired masses (the very types who do a lot of shopping online)? Did they count on nobody noticing? Did they think that enough 'average' people would shop online this year to counteract the effect that it would have on us? Or did they just not think?

    Sorry, I don't buy the explanation that they *wanted* the publicity that this fiasco generated. I think it's more likely that some legal types at Etoys didn't think the whole thing through before acting.
  • I guess some of us learned more from the Cold War than did others.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @11:38AM (#1434903)
    I think without question Etoy should continue their lawsuit agains Etoys. Etoys was clearly out of line and went so far as to even shut down their website. How can we have a government and judicial system that is this stupid about technology and the world in general. I think Etoy should definately continue with their lawsuit and if they agree to continue persuing the suit I would gladly donate to their cause. I think that Etoys deserves to be punished severely for this crap. I think the the only good part about this is that it did get Etoy a lot of publicity, and I think if they tried they could turn that publicity and attention that they have drawn for this case and get enough donations to continue with their lawsuit. Etoys clearly did this for a lot of publicity, so why can't Etoy turn it around on them? I'm hung over and tired, so if you want me to work here you better serve good coffee, and a lot of it.
  • This is precisely right.

    Everything etoys wanted from this suit has been accomplished except the handing over of the domain name etoy.com to etoys.

    Their holiday season is over; the more people that go to Etoy.com to return some worthless eToys garbage, the happier the crass merchandise site is.
  • You can legally sue eachother and ask for no damages. Two companies can sue each other in a friendly fashion so as to get a legal ruling on something. Sometimes companies do this to get an official ruling on certain business practices, mergers, etc. It can also be used to test the legality of a contract.
  • All I see is that ETOYS has offered to drop it's suit if ETOY drops theirs.
    I have seen nothing that says ETOY has any intention of dropping their suit.
    Now if I were ETOYS, would I drop my suits?

    I dunno. Maybe just my pants.

  • This is what the Scopes trial was about (when a teacher was charged with breaking the law by teaching evolution in Tenassee(?) in about 1930.) The *intention* was to get a quick conviction so the constitutionality of the law could be challenged. It was a dismal failure - the circus the trial turned into was irrelevant to the goal, and the conviction was overturned on a technicality so that it could not be appealled on constitutional grounds as planned. The law remained on the books into the 1960s.
  • Now, should we all run over there and buy some toys to thank them?

    No, as I believe you're implying, we should not actually go over there and buy a bunch of stuff to reward them for dropping suit. They deserve no reward. It was idiotic beyond compare, IMHO, that they brought up the suit to begin with. Therefore, they need no reward for actually behaving in an aware state.

    I think that eToy should press for damages... eToys is a big corporation, a user and as it seems in this case, a loser, and they should be taught, along with all other corporations, that it's not right to throw their weight around, for any reason, including boosting holiday sales. Geez! The love of money in this world.. *sigh*

    Then again, I'm going to have to guess that there is/are some major flaw(s) in my argument, for which I apologize. Thank you.
  • Of course it has.

    Their analysts probably pointed out that last year X% of their revenue was lost to etoy.com. This lead to the formulation of a strategy to bring etoy.com down over this year's Christmas season. Wheels turn, cogs rotate, and the lawyers get called.

    The laywers, of course, pointed out immediately that Etoys.com didn't have a leg to stand on in court, but proffered the same results without a court visit: injunction. Now that the shopping season is through, they can backpedal to avoid setting a precedence on this issue - a precedence that most likely would prevent them from pulling the same trick next year!

    My bet is that Etoys.com will still work on etoy.com to try and get them to change, and if they don't do it by next Christmas shopping season, we will be seeing more injuctions. If etoy.com had the backing, the should try to get this into the courts and get the precedence set. However, I doubt they do, so we may see this tactic tried by others until it "slips unintentionally" into the courts.

    later,
    kristau
  • After reading your comment I looked back at my e-mail to eToys.
    At no point do I come out and say "I'm a geek and I'm outraged!"

    I've just looked back and mine and see the same problem. And also in my email to babycenter.com (after I discovered they're "a wholly owned subsidiary of eToys, Inc.").

    When a website gets /.ed, it is (or should be) obvious to the the admins, but it looks like a /. via email will need to explicitly state that the flood of mail is coming from geeks.

  • I mean if I was eToys the only thing I would ask is to have "etoy" put mabey a one liner "If your looking for toys click here" with a link to eToys.


    eToys DID ask for a link to eToys's site.. etoy basically gave them the finger.
  • You do have a point there. But I would guess that Amazon's real motivation was not protecting their IP, but redirecting those Christmas sales from B&N to them. Now that they've accomplished that, it might be in their best interest (bottom-line wise) to drop the suit and not risk losing it. But maybe I'm just too cynical. ;-)
  • While you paint a wide swathe with your comments, I'd like to take a closer look at the issue at stake here. The etoy/etoys claim/counter-claim of trademark-bearing web-sites.

    Actually, the better example is the one over at www.ajax.org where Colgate (I believe) wanted NSI to shut down ajax.org as it (Colgate) owns the Ajax Trademark. The crux of the matter, is that Trademarks are *not* broadly based. Colgate may hold the Trademark on Ajax for drain cleaners (or whatever their product claims to do), but that can not stop me (or anyone else) from getting a rocket fuel Trademarked as "Ajax".

    Which leads me to the crux of the current problem. The Internet is a HUGE namespace collision. Take Ajax. Suppose Boeing (or some other large, old) company holds a valid (worldwide) trademark on Ajax in rocket fuel (sidebar: Company names and product categories are being used as examples). Who has "ownership" over the ajax.com domain now? According to NSI, if Colgate registered the domain first, Boeing could come in and file for injunction, as it is a valid trademark owner of the name in question. If "ownership" is then awarded to Boeing for the ajax.org domain, then, Colgate becomes free to pursue the same action - and we're in for a nasty "while true;"-loop.

    Indeed, the Internet violates trademark assumptions. Why should McDonalds Corporation be allowed to reverse-hijack mcdonalds.com away from a Family McDonalds-owned bar? Because the Corporation has better lawyers/more money/more "brand" recognition? Should the family be able to keep the domain because it had it first? What if the Family McDonald set up some kind of e-commerce site and obtained Trademark on "McDonalds" within the e-commerce sphere?

    Frankly, I abhore the idea that a Trademark in one domain (drain cleaner) automagically applies to another (domain-names). I do not believe that is the intent behind Trademark. I'm sure we all remember Apple's "handling" of the imac.com situation. What if imac.com turned out to be some parody site by Intel? What if the site bordered on "bad-taste" (avoiding the issue of defining "bad-taste")? What if imac.com was a porn-site with 3 months prior history? With 2 years prior history? What if the "imac.com" string were a Trademark itself?

    As a (US) Civil War general once said, "The key to victory is to get there first-est, with the most-est". I'm all for cyber-squatting. Before the flame-throwers come out, I'll qualify that by saying that cyber-squatters should not blackmail or threaten their targets.

    Cheers,
    Slak

  • I don't think so. I think that's why eToys dropped their lawsuit. I'm sure that they would have won in the first case, but there is no way in hell an appeals court would have upheld it. Combine that with the fact that etoy was getting a lot of donated money for their lawyers, and they would have had the money to take it to appeals court.

    Smaller courts in the west know where their bread is buttered unfortunately, so they are more likely to rule infavor of the local company that is bringing in jobs and capital. Appeals courts are removed, and that is why they're more impartial.
  • by WilliamX (22300) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @12:10PM (#1434920)
    I certainly hope etoy does continue their suit against eToys. If they can afford to, it would serve to put corporate America on notice that there are consequences to their legal bullying tactics, and perhaps make them stop and think before acting.

    The intellectual property groups, like the RIAA, MPAA, attorneys for companies like AT&T, are working right now to stop new Top Level Domains, like .web, .biz, .box, etc, because they want rules in place that let them suspend someone's domain name rights without having to go meet the legal standards that a court filing would force them to. I am on the Workgroup C group of the Domain Name Supporting Organization [dnso.org] of ICANN, and this workgroup is charged with coming up with a proposal or proposals for ICANN to consider in creating new Top Level Domains. The Intellectual Properties advocates have been fighting VERY hard to block any results, despite the fact that the two largest and most contentious camps in this process have been able to find common ground to move forward with 6-10 new top level domains.

    Corporate America needs to be taught a lesson that they can't assert rights they don't have, or try and abuse the rights they have, to trample the rights of others. A win by etoy over eToys would go a long way to putting them on notice.

    --
    William X. Walsh
    william@dso.net

  • eToys has owned the domain toys.com all along... why not rename themselves?

    Alternatively, they might eventually want to expand beyond toys into other goods, and rebrand themselves more with a more generic name.

  • I think it is totally ridiculous that people are fighting over these two stupid and uncreative domain names in the first place. Frankly, I'm tired of all the e* and i* buzzwords, company names, and trademarks. C'mon people, be a little more creative than that.
  • by HomerJ (11142) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @12:35PM (#1434928)
    etoys.com didn't have a legit suit against etoy.com because not only was etoy.com there first, they have nothing to do with one another. That's not always the case.

    For instance. microsfot.com redirects to linux.org. The only reason to have that domain is because it's based on a user making a typo to microsoft.com. Would microsoft have a legit suit against the owner of linux.org because it's using the Microsoft name to get hits, and users?

    And what's worse, is a website like gamefaq.com. gamefaqs.com is a well known website where users(mostly under 18) get game information. gamefaq.com is a porn site. Would IGN(of which gamefaqs.com is affiliated) have a legit lawsuit against the owner of gamefaq.com becuase it's trying to lure it's mostly under 18 userbase to a porn site?

    The two above examples are, what I think, legit reasons to sue a webiste based on a domainname. Both are shameless attempts to get hits from users typing in the wrong url. I could go on forever with examples, whitehouse.com being anohter one.

    Should there be a law, or a line in the NSI contract saying that it would be illegal to have a name based on a typo, or a misleading name? I think it wouldn't be that bad of an idea. Sites like etoy.com would still be legal, even if registered after etoys.com because they aren't selling toys and trying to milk of the etoys.com name. Registering misleading names like gamefaq.com would be illegal, which I think it should be illegal to do so.
  • Etoys.com main goal here was to prevent the loss of even a SINGLE possible customer due to the distraction that is etoy.com ... and they did just that.

    And how many people now refuse to shop at etoys.com because of the lawsuit agaisnt etoy.com? Doesn't that count as a loss of business as well?

  • I don't know about the rest of you, but I sent a couple of e-mails indicating that I was not buying from eToys because of this, as I'm sure plenty of other slashdot readers did.

    You did WHAT? Don't you see etoys' true evil plan? To collect thousands of un-spam-proofed email addresses? What have you done? All is lost...

    Now that etoys' has your email address, and the email address of every other proactive slashdot reader, they will unleash unto this world a tidal wave of SPAM. This is horrible! We're all gonna die! Ahhhhhhh!

  • The suit cannot be dropped until both parties agree, since etoy has filed a countersuit against eToys. In addition, etoy should not permit the suit to be dropped without a proper settlement, including a legal recognition by eToys that etoy has complete rights to the etoy.com name. Etoy should ensure that eToys can never sue them again. Cash for reasonable legal fees should also be part of the settlement.
  • Jesus H. Christ. Just get a fuckin' user account so you can be a real moderator, just like mommy and daddy.


    -Andy Martin
  • How many of those who now refuse to shop at etoys.com would otherwise have gone there? Think about it.

    --

  • "...emotion must be an allowable tool in our arsenal."

    I agree with this TO AN EXTENT. However, allowing flames to degenerate into badly spelled, poorly written, insulting, aimless flamemail is not effective. Most of these mails just get deleted by those who read them. True, the volume does make a difference, seeing so many people so angry over something you are doing does tend to make one pause and rethink one's actions. However, logic and emotion are NOT opposites, and they need not each be used to the exclusion of the other.

    I repeat: logic and emotion are not opposites. Logic is analasys of cause-and-effect, the reasoning intelligence which allows us to process the world around us. Emotion is our base reaction to that process. Using both is the best way to write anything, be it poetry, prose, or even hate mail to someone who is doing something wrong.

    Yes, you do have a point, that the outrage and volume have a direct effect. However, if all that was generated was idiot-mail, it would more likely be ignored than responded to, and it would be far less effective than intelligent responses. The fact that there WAS some intelligent email generated, and that even those who could write properly were talking about boycott, probably had just as much of an effect, if not more.

    Angry mail can be a very important tool - indeed, it IS a very important tool - in any attempt to make other people change their behaviors. But it is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. It can be abused, and it can be inappropriate to use in many cases. Winning happens because we choose appropriate targets, because there IS something going on for which people are willing to boycott. In most cases, the wrongdoers know this, they just hope noone will notice.

    Don't give the trolls the credit they crave, you'll only encourage stupidity. Using one's emotions, accepting their existence, does not have to make morons out of us. I've seen some very effective flames come out of people who could accept both intelligence and emotion at the same time. Anger can put the flame behind the words, but reason MUST choose the words, or you wind up being incoherant and looking stupid.

    -Elthia
  • I, speaking on behalf of the slashdot community, would like to be the first to note how glad I am to be represented by idiots such as yourself.

    Now that you have this first victory under your belt, why not do even more? You've already proven your qualifications for the US Congress!!!

    Now, with that out of the way, what basis do you have for thinking that it was the flames that won this? Why do you think that anyone besides a 20-ish customer service rep read any of these emails?

    eToys got publicity out of this lawsuit, and around this time of year, publicity equals money. And who said lawyers didnt generate anything useful?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder whether Etoyss bullying tactics and
    the following bad press had contributed to the dive of Etoys stock.
    Check out here [stockmaster.com]. A friend of mine bought at 57 because he was sure
    that ETYS had potential.

    Then came the dive. Oooops. That hurts.

    This ETOY-ETOYS battle shows that even
    small guys have a chance against big guys if they
    march united.

    Another reason to think about supporting the
    Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org].

    I today subscribed for a membership. Costs me 35
    bucks per year. I think that these people do
    a good job supporting my interests. Nobody should
    feel pressed to subcribe, but consider that
    you still can do some good before y2k hits us and
    our boxes and well have to shine up before our Lord and blah blah....

    Give them a hand, they IMHO deserve it.


  • Of course they dropped it, they got their Xmas injuction which is all they wanted. Maybe they'll do something similiar next season. So far the lesson learned is 'Its ok to piss on the little guy and get away with it if you just back off in time.'

    Hopefully, etoy.com will continue its suit and if they're really lucky they *might* get some sort of justice in an AmeriKan court.

  • logic and emotion are not opposites.

    hmmm... but can you see the benefit of illogic and emotion? "Honey, this man is saying really crazy stuff... don't try to reason with him, just stop doing whatever is pissing him off..." The problem with being too logical is that people realize exactly how far they can push you.

    And while I'm here, let me second the call for the boycott continuation: given that we can never catch all of the criminals, the punishments have got to be worse than the crimes to make the expected-values come out right. Too logical? OK, how about because we just don't like eToys any more, and maybe we're feeling just a little kooky... "Honey, that man is still following us. Don't look, DON'T LOOK..."

  • I doubt either Etoys or Amazon got much extra business because of their actions, or that they intended to.

    Etoys shut down etoy.com. How would that get them extra business? Joe Average-User accidently types etoy.com instead of etoys. Before the suit he gets the Etoy site, which doesn't mention Etoys. He has to retype before he can buy anything. After the suit he gets an error message. He has to retype before he can buy anything. No difference to Etoys sales.

    Amazon v. BN isn't quite as clearcut, but how many users you think said "Hey, I'll have to click twice at BN, and only once at Amazon. I'm going to Amazon!"
  • The (main) goal was not losing customers to etoy. etoy didn't sell anything. It was to do something to address customer complaints. They wanted to do something about kids and other customers going to what they thought was etoys.com, and got something quite a bit more offensive to them than what they wanted to so.

    Let's not ignore the fact that, in any other situation, etoys is a hero - one of the largest sites on the web running linux/perl/apache and a plethora of other free software tools.
  • For instance. microsfot.com redirects to linux.org. The only reason to have that domain is because it's based on a user making a typo to microsoft.com. Would microsoft have a legit suit against the owner of linux.org because it's using the Microsoft name to get hits, and users?

    It might be a "legit suit" in terms of the legal interpretations of this country. But unfortunately we live in a litidigious culture, where the meaning of justice is seldom understood, and everyone else is to blame for our mistakes. Take the $3 million lawsuit agains McDonalds won by some buffoon who spilled hot coffee on herself, for example.

    Let's let people use whatever domain names they want to. The public's stupidity should not be the basis for law.

    And who, really, is to decide if the motivation for using a given domain name is to ride on someone else's coattails or if that was a legitimate choice? It's not always as obvious as in your micros~1 example. If we allow anyone the power to make that choice, those people would likely be influenced by those with the most money and the best lawyers.

    I don't think we need to encourage further lawsuits and other governmental intervention in the internet by considering such frivolous claims as "legit suits".

  • The question isn't what would I or we do if I owned etoys, etoy, or am a customer.

    The question is what is ethical in the regards to the rights of others, its not a case of role-playing. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who are happy, glad, and proud a bunch of "weirdo artists" have been censored because business and especially children need nothing to do with them. These artists might give people *gasp* ideas!

    History shows it will not get 'fixed eventually.' Unless your time scale for 'eventually' is ridiculous. We've had protests since day one yet even the oldest social problems still exist and are plainly brought to light with cases like this. Unfortunatly, it IS a case of have vs. the have-nots, abuse of power, and disregard for the rights of others.

    In the context of this overy-materialstic society I have little hope for anything resembling justice to come out of this and some people have reached the point where this is 'old news' and really don't care what happens to etoy.com.
  • "how could any rational person grant an injunction," It was a judge. Some of the stupidest people on the planet are judges.
  • There are quite a few porn sites that use commonly visited sites names mistyped to try and get some hits. (I think www.webcrawler.com has one like this but I can't remember what the typo was :)

    As for other lawsuits, didn't Yahoo sue the owners of www.yahooka.com? Whatever became of that?

  • They SHOULD HAVE just contacted eToy and asked them to put a link on their site for mistakes.

    Perhaps they could have asked eToy to do so, but I know that if I ran a site like eToy I wouldn't want to have any link to eToys.

    It would be like Monet saying to Manet, "I want you to put a note on your paintings saying, 'if you really wanted to see Monet's paintings, you can view them at address such-and-such.'" No artist in their right mind (except Warhol, maybe!) would want this kind of useless noise incorporated into their art.

    It would really be a kind of arrogance on the part of the requester of this kind of action that the site with the similar sounding name give them free advertising in this way.
  • this isn't that relevant in tbis case, but it is in fact very interesting

    the book "How the Mind Works" by Stephen Pinker goes into this topic in-depth.

    Basically logic is your enemy if you are trying to get what you want. If the person you are trying to convince knows you are thinking clearly and logically, he can use that to his advantage.

    However, as you said, if someone is acting crazy, you don't know what to expect and will be more afraid of not doing what he asks.

    Pinker gives an example (IIRC) that if you go to someones door with a gun and say you will kill yourself if the person doesn't give you $10, you will do better if your eyes are bloodshot.

    I would contest your claim that it's applicable here. What can you really do that will scare eToys? About the best thing you can do on the net is to claim you'll never buy anything from them again, and that you'll set up a website critcizing them or something. There isn't all that much you can threaten them with unless you want to be arrested.

    Anyway, read the book. There's also a Slashdot review of it kicking around somewhere.
  • eToys is free to ask, of course, but if I ran eToy, I know I wouldn't do it.

    It would be like Monet saying to Manet, "I want you to put a note on your paintings saying, 'if you really wanted to see Monet's paintings, you can view them at address such-and-such.'" No artist in their right mind (except Warhol, maybe!) would want this kind of useless noise incorporated into their art.

    It would really be a kind of arrogance on the part of the requester of this kind of action that the site with the similar sounding name give them free advertising in this way.
  • by Gromer (9058) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @01:58PM (#1434955)

    I most emphatically disagree with your take on this. First of all, this specific situation. Your argument is a classic post hoc argument, and is quite groundless. You have no evidence at all that the Slashdot flameage had anything to do with eToys' descision. For all we know, this could have ended weeks ago, and only eToys' frustration with the flames kept it going this long. In fact, they say that it was the artistic community's response (not, be it noted, the technology community's response) that led to the dropping of the suit. Furthermore, it seems far more likely that what provoked eToys' withdrawal was not either communities' response, but simple damage control. This was always simply an intimidation measure, to try and force eToy to relinquish their domain name. eToy, to their credit, refused to be bullied, and eToys had to face the possibility of spending a huge amount of money on a possibly unwinnable suit, and facing eToy's countersuit. In the face of these dangers, it is entirely predictable that they would back down, flamers or no flamers. On the whole, there is no reason to believe that Slashdot flameage had anything to do with this.

    Furthermore, in general terms, nobody is advocating a Spock-like devotion to pure reason, and few people (least of all me) would argue for the supression of emotion. Emotion is a powerful, and often useful, motivating force. Anger and indignation, both emotions which Slashdot posessed in the extreme, can cause us to rise up and oppose wrongs which a purely rational being might not, regarding the battle as unwinnable or not sufficiently relevant to his or her self-interest. Emotion can be a powerful motivator for good.

    However, it can also be a powerful force for evil. The problem with anger, and especially its close relative, hate, is that it is morally and intellectually neutral. It is as easy to become angry over a right as over a wrong- anger has no judgement. In fact, historically, much evil, and very little good, has come of large-scale anger and hatred. The Holocaust is a classic case of what anger and hate can do, and I presume no-one here will try to tell me that was righteous, justified anger.

    The point is that rational argument, even rational argument backed by intense passion, could never have led to the Holocaust- there simply isn't an even remotely plausible argument by which exterminating 6 million people makes sense. Some people would believe such an argument, but they would be by far the minority. As long as an environment exists in which opposing ideas are tolerated, intelligent discussion is encouraged, and rationality and judgement are the ground rules, the majority would never permit the Holocaust. The Holocaust came about because the Nazis created an environement in which the above conditions did not apply- dissention was viewed with suspicion and hostility, intelligent discussion was criticized as head-in-the-clouds academic (Spock-like?) nonsense, and above all, the ground rules were hatred and fear. Once that happened, all was lost, and it took the utter defeat of WW2 to bring Germany to its senses.

    To return to the more prosaic matter of Slashdot flameage, the same principles apply, although the stakes are (obviously) far lower. Let us suppose that it really was the avalanche of flames that beat eToys into submission. If so, it was not the truth of our arguments that brought this about, but our anger, and their fear and frustration. We would have become the bully in our eagerness to defeat the bully. The Slashdot community may have been in the right in this case, but that may not always be true. Surely you can accept the possibility that Slashdotters, for whatever reason, may someday be on the wrong side of an important judgement. In such a case, the flames would be exactly as effective as if Slashdot were in the right. You said it yourself- "We win every time" (reformattted for legibility, of course). This is what I mean by anger being morally and intellectually neutral- the power of a flame does not in anyway depend on the correctness of the view expressed. The objective of any sort of argument or discussion is (or at least ought to be) the selection of a more-or-less correct course of action. This is why rational discussion is so important. If matters were decided by shouting matches, we might as well roll dice, for all the difference it makes in terms of the correctness of the outcome. Rational discussion is the only form of argument which is in any way biased in favor of right over wrong.

    In short, the point I am making is that the goal of an argument is not to win, but to arrive at a solution. Flaming and anger support the former, but rational argument supports the latter, and it is for that reason, and not out of some Vulcan shame of my emotions, that I value a strong rational argument infinitely more than any amount of seemingly righteous anger.

  • What makes you think NSI would have anything to do with the new top level domains? That is one thing there is a clear consensus on, there would be new registries running the new top level domains.

    And you have no absolute need or right to have your name in every top level domain. If you choose to do that, then that is your perogative, but by no means do you HAVE to. You choose to.

    That's what new Top Level Domains are about. CHOICE. Introducing real competition into the domain name business, and helping to alleviate the real and actual shortages of available domains in the existing infrastructure.

    The only obstacle remaining are those, which seem to include you, with anticompetitive attitudes.

    --
    William X. Walsh
    william@dso.net

  • Etoy.com existed when Etoys.com was just a glimmer in the eye of some enterprising lad. It's an extremely clear-cut case which Etoy.com had a really good chance of winning. It's ashame to see Etoys.com whore Etoy.com around for the entire Christmas season (just long enough to ensure their profits and prevent Etoy.com from selling anything) and then, what do you know, drop the lawsuit four days later. I hope Etoy.com doesn't cave; they stand a great chance of winning. Personally I'd love to see the big fat corporation recieve a nice kick in the domain name ass, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

    --
  • ... by the Bar Soc. That's the only way the message will be learned by those that need to learn it.

    The lack of accountability for being dumb is just appalling in the legal profession. All that seems to matter is that you adhere to the standard legal procedures, a triumph of form over content, and as long as you do that then any bollocks you say or do in the application domain is just fine.
  • What you have just asked for is a law granting etoys.com the right to do what they did to etoy.com. Let me explain...
    There is very little difference between your gamefaqs.com/gamefaq.com example and the etoys.com/etoy.com example. Apart from the similarities in the domain names, when the lawsuit was initiated etoys.com sued etoy.com for misleading consumers even though they were involved in seperate businesses. gamefaqs.com is a video game site while gamefaq.com is a porn site, there is no relation. But I can see a judge closing gamefaq.com for some crap sentimental reasons like not wanting kids to view porn by accident (kinda like not wanting kids or parents to view the "profanity" on the etoy site)... and voila the etoys.com vs. etoy fiasco becomes a legitimate argument on etoys.com side.
    Secondly how long will it take before a law like that will be misused especially where the lines blur... I still don't see how the gamefaq.com domain being a porn site and gamefaqs.com being a porn site have anything to do with each other... before long any website with an s after it will be sued by or sue the domain of the same name without the s. Then it'll be a battle of who has better lawyers?

    Also do you realize that following your reasoning if etoy.com was created after etoys.com they would have no legal leg to stand on even though their business has nothing to do with selling toys? Bad idea...

    A better idea is to follow the existing ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy [icann.org] which sadly had not been implemented by NSI when this fiasco started.
    Under the policy the following must be true for a domain to be disputed:
    • the domain name infringes on a trademark
    • the owner has no rights to or legitimate interests in the domain
    • the domain name is being used in bad faith
    .
    Those seem like better rules to me than what you suggest and there is less room for misuse or misinterpretation.
  • Anyone been following the eToys.com stock ticker (ETYS)? When this story broke on slashdot [slashdot.org] eToys.com had 6 billion dollars in market capitalization (at just under $60 a share), today the market value of etoys.com has dropped to 3 billion dollars and it's share price is around $26.

    Now who said boycotts and sending out emails don't work? Now only if we had an anti-Amazon patent page like the anti-eToys lawsuit page [eviltoy.com] I'd have a happy new year. I'd probably make it if I had webspace. :)
  • "Our Intent Was Never to Silence Free Artistic Expression" said Etoys spokesperson Jonathan Cutler.

    Wrong!

    In their legal papers, Etoys frequently refers to pornographic images on etoy. In particular, they refer to a picture of a woman's naked breasts pierced by dozens of needles. What they fail to mention in their legal documents is that the picture is depicted beneath the caption "es ist der selde wind. Der die blumen bestaeubt und die haeuser zerstoert". This translates to: "it is the same wind that inseminates the flowers and destroys houses". Only a lawyer (in the worse sense of the term) would miss the point that this is obviously cultural commentary. One simple interpretation being that the same wind (sexual desire), can be both a positive force (loving union between two human beings) and a destructive force (degradation, etc.). This is art! To call it pornography is to claim that there is no artistic expression.

    Moreover, eToys claimed unfair competion by etoy because of the sale of etoy.shares. Etoy.shares are obviously a parody of both the art market and the real market. It was blatantly tongue-in-cheek, and numerous disclosures of the artistic nature of the stock were made. However, eToys tried to silence this form of artistic expression by claiming that this constituted securities fraud. Only lawyers with no sense of honor or decency could fail to see the art. If this is not attempted suppression of free artistic expression, I don't know what is.

    Finally, eToys referred to more art as "terrorism". Both the famous "digital hijacks" (where etoy manipulated search engines) and a photo of the Oklahoma bombing under the caption "such work needs a lot of training", were implicated as supporting terrorism. Totalitarian states are famous for branding artists as terrorists. Now corporations are getting into the act.

    Etoys LIES!

  • Ah, but don't you see? Etoys comes out of this as the victor.

    1. Etoy's initiates a stupid lawsuit, get's primary injunction passed, gets site off web during holiday season.
    2. Etoy's is flamed, reducing /.'s credibility, multiple DoS attacks with little or no effect commence.
    3. CNN reports idiotically [slashdot.org] on the whole debacle; the general public remains in the dark.
    4. Etoys, after the holiday season, removes their lawsuit, appologizing (*cough*bullshit*cough*), and politely asks etoy not to hit back after Etoys gave them a bloody nose.

    Result: etoy forced off the web, Etoys is victorious.

    Now: What happens if etoy decides to justfully pursue their lawsuit?

    Answer: Story gets top headlines, Etoys puts the full weight of their PR department behind it, etoy becomes the greedy little website trying to exact vengence after a little "misunderstanding."

    Sigh...

    -Sam Black
  • very good article! lots of great points in it...
    On Nov. 29 in Superior Court here, the company won an injunction that has kept etoy off the Net and unable to use its domain for email or a Web presence
    I'll assume that was California Superior Court... what I'd really like to see on this is some non-us registry decide that a pidling injunction from some clueless judge in California has no meaning in the international market and reinstate etoy.com! might teach NSI a thing or two.

    Etoy claims the various actions forced eToys to extend its deadline for Christmas delivery. "The 'sit-in' is one of about 15 campaigns coordinated by RTMark, aimed at disrupting the internal and external communications of eTioys.com, [sic] and targeting telephone and fax lines as well as behavior and morale of employees, management, and major investors," all aimed at "making eToys.com an example the online world will never forget," the press release said.
    I'm not sure I agree with the more militant actions some are using against eToys; but then what is that compared to illegally cutting off an entire domain, making the sale of a particular piece of art illegal, bullying an american company into breaking an international database....

    I love the analogy of the kids btw... I was trying to explain to my parents why we're boycotting eToys... wish I had that at the time.

    On the other, they listened to what people were saying and responded in an appropriate manner.
    ahem. no offense to you, but bullshit. the silly-season shopping frenzy is over, they slacked off on their TV ads - I normally heard/saw four or five a day while I had the idiot box on for background in the morning while getting up or over lunch or dinner, this week that number is ONE, for the week - therefore they no longer had as much of a worry about new users not being able to remember the extra 's'... returning users will either have it in a bookmark, or a link they emailed out, or in the location history (auto completion). That's why they appear to have backed down, that and the sorry state of their stock [yahoo.com].

    What to do?
    Keep the boycot going... FOREVER. They've earned themselves a permenant place in my firewall's gouhls section (not even outbound connections are allowed) This is an honor usually reserved for known hacker sites. I've made sure they know this.



    on a somewhat related topic, NSI's incompetence:

    [cabbey@tweedle cabbey]$ nslookup 146.228.204.72
    Server: localhost
    Address: 127.0.0.1

    Name: www.etoy.com
    Address: 146.228.204.72

    [cabbey@tweedle cabbey]$ nslookup www.etoy.com
    Server: localhost
    Address: 127.0.0.1

    *** localhost can't find www.etoy.com: Non-existent host/domain

    so they got the A record but not the PTR... smooth dns admins they got there....
  • etoy.com had nothing to do with etoys.com. They didn't want to mislead. They didn't go "hey, let's get etoy.com so we can get some idiot etoys.com customers to view our site" they didn't know anything about etoys.com because when they registered the name, etoys.com wasn't even a glimmer in someone's eye.

    That's not the same with gamefaq.com. They thought "hey, alot of teenagers go to this site. I bet if we make a name that's just a typo of that site, we will get some of those teenagers. And since teenagers like porn, maybe they will click on the banners we have"

    Etoy.com would have went though because they aren't trying to mislead users. It's just a name they chose. While a site like gamefaq.com would have be denied because it's only purpose is to mislead.

    Yes. if that policy would have been in effect and ENFORCED, etoy.com would have no problems at all, and these porn scammers like gamefaq.com would go back under the rocks from which they came.

    I wasn't aware of the policy until it was mentioned in your post. Too bad it wasn't in place. I fully support that policy, and wish that it was STRONGLY enforced. I mean, it's embarassing when you show people what the vast amount of information the internet has to offer. Then they type a typo in a URL, and things that violate current obcenity laws in all 50 states come up.

    Interesting note: under that policy, Microsoft would also have a claim on microsfot.com because it's trying to mislead customers away from one comercial website to another website featuring a competting product.
  • etoy.com was creative. This was before "eFoo" was a buzzword. I believe they picked "etoy" just because it had a unique sound.
    --
  • by drben (51740) on Wednesday December 29, 1999 @07:31PM (#1434997) Homepage
    We didn't win this one, in spite of the misleading info in the story on slashdot. Etoys did not "drop" the suit but has just agreed "not to press" it. Conveniently, as several have noted in this discussion, right after their goal was met: The holiday shopping rush is over, etoy.com [etoy.com] was forced offline during the rush, even though Etoys' trademark application was rejected [uspto.gov]. Now Etoys gets good publicity (even on slashdot, with one poster [slashdot.org] even calling for slashdotters to buy toys in jubilation) by declaring that they are "not pressing" the suit. Meanwhile, etoy faces thousands in legal fees. Perhaps Etoys will drop the suit; perhaps the suit will languish in the bottom drawer until, say, the back-to-school shopping rush.

    Read more at nofuncharlie.com [nofuncharlie.com] and RTMark [rtmark.com].

  • How does the /. community feel about a suit against NSI? Would such a thing even be worth discussing? Is there even a foot to stand on?

    I'm sorry. What I meant to say was 'please excuse me.'
    what came out of my mouth was 'Move or I'll kill you!'
  • > Pinker gives an example (IIRC) that if you go to someones door with a gun and say you will kill yourself if the person doesn't give you $10, you will do better if your eyes are bloodshot.

    I'd really love to see how he tested this theory. I'd give the guy the money because I'd be afraid of him turning the gun on *me*.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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