ICANN Axes .XXX Domain

For the third time, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the overseer of the Internet’s domain-name address system — has rejected a proposal to create a top level .xxx domain, and opponents of the adult-themed suffix hope three times is the charm.

“This decision was the result of very careful scrutiny and consideration of all the arguments,” said Vint Cerf, chairman of ICANN. “That consideration has led a majority of the board to believe that the proposal should be rejected.”

ICM Registry first proposed a .xxx domain for adult content in 2000. The effort has failed repeatedly, in part due to the opposition of powerful political forces, but also because of some practical considerations. How ICANN would monitor content if the domain name were approved was one such sticking point.

Ongoing Slog

ICM Registry is unlikely to give up, though, and could well press the matter in court, according to statements its executives have made in the press.

“This issue will resurface if either ICM or another potential registry decides to make an application to ICANN,” noted Jason H. Fisher, an associate at Buchalter Nemer.

Policing content is against ICANN’s mandate, and that was the chief rationale the board offered for its decision, he told TechNewsWorld.

“Realistically, though, I think it was political pressure related to the adult content,” Nemer said. “Basically, a .xxx domain name would set up a red light district online, which is something a lot of people wouldn’t like.”

However, Fisher noted, there are some positives to a .xxx domain beyond the fees a registry would collect — namely better filtering techniques for software to protect children against pornography online.

“It would make the content more cut and dried for these applications,” he said.

Different Sensibilities

ICANN’s reasoning makes sense from a freedom-of-speech perspective, Minneapolis attorney Andrew Miller told TechNewsWorld.

“Each country, of course, has its own definition, with China more restrictive than, say, the Netherlands. It would have been interesting — to say the least — [to see what] implications a .xxx domain name would have had for these national rules.”

How Much for CatholicGirls.xxx?

One implication of a .xxx domain that some may have overlooked would be the likely proliferation of brand names co-opted for pornographic use.

Creating a .xxx domain without the ability to control it would create more problems than it would solve, according to Frederick Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor, a firm that represents brand holders.

It would create an atmosphere in which large brand holders — or an institution such as a local Catholic girls school, for example — might feel compelled to purchase their own .xxx domains “because they don’t want their own good name associated with pornography,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

Cryptocurrency is a viable hedge against inflation: Agree or Disagree?
Loading ... Loading ...

LinuxInsider Channels