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For other uses, see EToys (disambiguation).

etoy is a European digital art group formed in 1994. It was won several international awards including the Prix Ars Electronica in 1996. Their main slogan is: "leaving reality behind."

etoy has routinely experimented with the boundaries of art, such as selling shares of "stock" in the etoy.corporation, a registered company in Switzerland[1] and travelling the world as well as living in "etoy.tanks" (cargo containers).[2]


The group first used the name "etoy" in 1994, for performances at raves and techno music events.[3] The group's members, based in various European countries, were referred to "agents".[3]

etoy "agents" with mortal remains of Timothy Leary (2007)

In 2007, German and Swiss director Andrea Reiter realised a documentary (produced by Hugofilm) about etoy's "Mission Eternity" project, a "digital cult of the dead".[4]

As of 2015, a history overview on the group's website describes it as entering "hibernation mode" in 2013.[5]


The toywar was a legal battle around 1999/2000 between the Internet toy retailer and etoy about the domain name Fearing brand dilution and customer confusion about the similar domain names, eToys sued etoy for trademark infringement, and asked etoy to remove graphic images and profane language from their website that were bringing customer complaints. The artists refused to comply, and eToys eventually obtained a preliminary injunction against etoy which shut down their website.[6] etoy fought back with a coordinated public relations campaign and Internet-based denial of service attacks on[7] After several weeks eToys dropped the lawsuit and the etoy website returned to operation.[8]

It has been called "the most expensive performance in art history",[9] citing eToys' market capitalization loss of $4.5 billion dollars during the conflict. However most analysts denied[citation needed] that this had been caused by the efforts of etoy and its supporters alone. The story is one of the subjects of the documentary film, info wars.

An email campaign was led by Internet activists including etoy agents developing the toywar website.

A book about the story of the etoy corporation, Leaving reality behind, by Regula Bochsler and Adam Wishart was released in 2002.


  1. ^ (etoy.shares)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Barliant, Claire (1999-11-30). "e-Toy Story". Village Voice. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  4. ^ Hugofilm
  5. ^ "etoy.HISTORY". Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Etoy Battling eToys Over Domain Name". New York Times. 2000-01-30. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  7. ^ Fahimian, Giselle (2004). "How the IP Guerrillas Won: ®TMark, Adbusters, Negativland, and the "Bullying Back" of Creative Freedom and Social Commentary". 2004 STAN. TECH. L. REV. 1. Retrieved 2009-07-12. [dead link]
  8. ^ Slashdot | eToys Inc. Drops etoy Suit - For Real This Time
  9. ^ Toywar.Com

External links[edit]