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Caskets and e-commerce

For years, I’ve used an example on stage during my talks that has involved, of all things, caskets, I’ve done so to explain how ‘Net commerce will run roughshod over the ability for jurisdictions to try to protect local markets through legislation. Seems my story has become true.

I explained that in certain US states, it was illegal to transport caskets across state lines. Why? Because of legislation that prohibited this — legislation that was put in place to protect the powerful funeral home operator industry. Yet I indicated that it was often an impotent law — after all, what can we expect if someone sets up a web site that sells caskets? State police on the border, intercepting cars, looking for a coffin or two?

Well, it now seems that a couple of court cases are showing how such state or local jurisdiction laws are rendered irrelevant in the Internet economy. Any industry that tries to use legislation to protect its market is rendered obsolete — yet many industries are still blind to this fact. [ story ]

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