From Publishers Weekly
In this penetrating examination of a seminal cyberspace turf war, Wishart and Bochsler tell a story about art imitating life and the artist being sued for trademark infringement. Documentary filmmaker Wishart and Swiss National TV reporter Bochsler recount the tale of etoy, a company of German-based avant-garde artists that held wild parties and issued stock to shareholders. It registered the name etoy.com to serve as an online gallery and virtual workspace. In September 1999, etoy was sued by the hugely popular online retailer Etoys.com, which at the time was valued at $8 billion, for trademark infringement. The authors thoroughly detail each volley in the "Toy War," including lawsuits, denial of service attacks and grassroots activism. More significantly, the battle serves as a case study for exploring the conflicting forces that have shaped the Internet's development. Backed by venture capitalists and led by CEO Toby Lenk, Etoys.com was out to make a profit by selling products. Etoy, on the other hand, was supported by a few wealthy patrons and run by media-savvy artists with shaved heads who went by code names and wanted to shake things up. The latter were much more successful. With extensive and entertaining firsthand accounts, Wishart and Bochsler reveal how the dot-com boom warped the perceptions of artist and corporate executive alike. Although Lenk was a seasoned executive, he was caught off guard by the collapse of Etoys.com, and despite etoy's subversive origins, it developed internal power struggles that rivaled those of a Fortune 500 company. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Wishart, a documentary filmmaker, and Bochsler, a reporter and TV producer, describe the battle between etoy.com, and eToys.com. eToys was a U.S. online toy store, an $8 billion darling of Wall Street during the heydays of the Internet bubble; etoy, operating from Switzerland, was constructed as an art project and inspired a community of hackers, activists, and artists to launch an enormous anticorporate campaign--etoy had a logo, a brand, and a Web site but no employees or infrastructure and sold a series of graphic posters that were called "shares." The confrontation between the two entities concerned control of domain names (Internet addresses), which was the central issue in the litigation, which began in November 1999. Their struggle continued until eToys filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2001. This fascinating story also provides insight into the history of the Internet, the invention of search engines, and commentary about online retailing, which initially lacked the expected customer base, as buyers were slow to adapt to this new form of shopping. Mary WhaleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved