It doesn't really matter how it happened, the means to the end, but yesterday's announcement by the World Intellectual Property Organisation that it would "study ways" of stopping people registering URLs to which they have "no legitimate claim" can be seen as the death of the original Internet.
You may have forgotten those halcyon days when the Net was a unique, amazing medium, dreamed up by clever people who had taken too much acid. The Net would allow us all to communicate, to spread information and love to the world. It would precede man's final evolution into spiritual beings.
Of course, this is now as dead as the original acid craze, the 60s revolution, the student protests (US, France, China), [insert your favourite non-money-making philosophy here].Yep, we didn't have the technology in 1984, but now we have and don't think we won't use it.
So if you're rich, famous or a big company that has come up with a good idea and has the money to launch it (and make more money) you can stop people from pinching whatever URL you fancy having. It's only a matter of time before this becomes fully time-independent. i.e. if the latest and greatest move star in 2012 is called Mike Magee then Mike can kiss his URL goodbye (actually mikemagee.com isn't run by the venerable Magee of Reg fame).
But this isn't a bad thing. Because with all the recent touchy-feely ads, I've started to feel that these cold, immoral, profit-obsessed companies are in fact rather cuddly and nice. They care about me and they care about my wallet. ®