(The following is a reformatted version of a press release issued by
QUIT ETOYS! TOBY STEP DOWN!
As of Dec. 29, eToys, the giant online toy company, is still suing etoy, the
most important Internet art group, to prevent etoy from
using etoy.com, a URL that the artists have been using since long
before the toy company came into being.
eToys has, however, agreed to temporarily "move away" from the
lawsuit (without dropping it), according to Wired (see
"It's good that eToys is now being shamed into lying to the press
that its 'intent was never to silence free artistic expression,'"
said RTMark spokesperson Ernest Lucha. "But 'moving away' from the
suit, without anything even resembling an apology, let alone
compensation, and now that their shopping season is over, is just
pathetic." Full RTMark comments can be found at
http://rtmark.com/etoyswin.html; press reports about the eToys
move can be found at http://rtmark.com/etoypress.html.
Anti-eToys efforts will continue at least until there is substance
to eToys' withdrawal, according to Lucha. On Monday RTMark
announced two new elements to its etoy Fund, an "online game" whose
aim is to lower the eToys stock price to $0.00. (Many observers
credit some of the "game's" earlier components--the Virtual Sit-in,
for example--as having helped to drive the dramatic eToys stock
The newest elements of the "game" are two letter-writing campaigns,
one calling on eToys employees to quit the company
(http://rtmark.com/etoysquit.html), and another aimed at the
principal eToys shareholders, urging them to call for eToys C.E.O.
Toby Lenk's dismissal (http://rtmark.com/etoystoby.html). The
success of either or both campaigns would help to establish this
case as a precedent the online world will never forget.
eToys stock has plummeted to a third of its Nov. 29 value--that was
the day that the e-commerce toy giant was granted a court injunction
against the European online art collective etoy (no "s"), forcing
the artists to stop using their much older domain name, and also the
day that protests began and were first reported. Before that day,
eToys stock had been rising.
eToys CEO Toby Lenk had been hoping to keep etoy.com suspended and
quiet until the December 27 court hearing, but activists from around
the internet had different plans.
Many organizations saw eToys' abuse of the legal system as a threat
to independent publishers and small business on the Web. On December
15, these organizations, which included the Electronic Disturbance
Theatre and RTMark (http://www.rtmark.com/), came together to expand
the anti-eToys protests into a full-fledged "information war"
against eToys, with the aim of establishing a precedent in
e-commerce similar to that of the Brent Spar in petroleum production
The organizations' WWW "sit-in" had little effect on the first day,
but massively overloaded eToys' server on Thursday, December 16 by
filling its customer database with false information. Observers in
both the US and Europe were unable to reach eToys.com at times, and
online ordering was paralyzed. (See for example the CNN transcript
Although eToys officials had pooh-poohed the attack the day before,
they now panicked. eToys filed a restraining order against the
Electronic Disturbance Theatre, cutting it off the Web and,
meanwhile, changed their site to resist the attack. (eToys also used
other means to make its voice heard. In a threatening letter sent
from a Hotmail account, an eToys employee told one activist to "get
the hell out of dodge"; see http://rtmark.com/etoysthreat.html.)
Having lost a peak day's worth of orders, eToys found itself with
extra inventory on hand and had to extend its deadline for Christmas
delivery until Saturday, the second slowest day on the web. Although
eToys.com has claimed that it has added 900,000 new customers this
season, any such figures are questionable because of false
information entered by activists.
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"; the 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.
RTMark is no stranger to the hot topic of domain-name control. The
World Trade Organization's press release about http://gatt.org,
accusing RTMark of "illegal practices" in publishing information
critical of the WTO at that site, merely brought the WTO ridicule
from the press (http://rtmark.com/gatt.html); George W. Bush's and
Microsoft's legal attacks on GWBush.com (http://rtmark.com/bush.html)
and MicrosoftEdu.com (http://rtmark.com/allpress.html#mse) failed to
affect the domains. See also http://rtmark.com/othersites.html for
more on this issue.
Contact: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information: http://rtmark.com/etoyswin.html,
-0- (CRL) Dec/30/1999 8:26