e-Toy Story

The main question seems to be whether it is fair for U.S. commercial law to govern the Internet. According to Joichi Ito, an executive in Japan who was named one of the "cyber elite" by Time magazine in 1997, has feet in both the artistic and the corporate communities online, and is also an etoy "shareholder," it should not. "Internet domains go beyond national borders," he maintains. "It's pompous to think [corporations] can push them out of their name." He also believes that governance on the Internet cannot follow traditional policies. And artists realized that before the judicial system. Ito likes etoy because the group questions boundaries and stands up to corporations, using the Internet as the medium. "Basically, the Internet is not about capitalism and money," Ito says. "It's about people doing what they want to do." In that respect, etoy truly represents the spirit of the Internet—or, maybe, the old Internet. "When etoy set up their domain name, there were no specific rules," he continues. It might not have mattered anyway. Says Ito, "They are the kind of media artists who push back on stuff like this."

etoy created this "share" certificate; eToys cried securities fraud.
illustration: courtesy Rennie Pritikin, San Francisco (value: 3800 etoy shares)
etoy created this "share" certificate; eToys cried securities fraud.

etoy has created a "crisis" site, www. toywar.com, about the lawsuit.

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