.xxx Domains Deal Uncovered

September 3rd, 2010 by

The ICM Registry has once again come under public scrutiny after submitting a proposal to ICANN to create the adults-only internet .xxx domain.

.xxx domains could be available next summer

.xxx domains could be available next summer

ICANN has published a draft contract that, if agreed upon, could see ICM start offering .xxx domain names in less than a year. They have opened a 30-day public comment period which has already seen many objections from angry pornographers and appalled Christians alike. This is the sixth time in as many years that the .xxx domain has come under public scrutiny. The previous ICANN public comment period resulted in over 13 000 complaint letters and e-mails – most of which were from outraged American religious groups.

Pornographers, part of the Free Speech Coalition, are already pleading with ICANN to reject the proposal as they believe the ICM’s application is little more than down-right effort to milk them for extra cash. Domains with the .xxx extension are being priced at over $60 per year – $50 more than a .com domain.

ICM says the .xxx will give members of the adult industry the chance to self-identify and also to promote responsibility by abiding by a set of industry best practices. The .xxx registrants will also need to have their identities verified and $10 from each domain registration will be sent to a new organisation focussed on supporting the freedom of speech along with ever-important child protection rights.

The new proposal includes amendments which highlight just how controversial the .xxx application has become. Firstly, the ICM has agreed to fully indemnify ICANN  against any legal action that results directly from the approval of the .xxx domains. Secondly, in order to successfully register for the .xxx community, not only does a business have to provide adult-orientated products and services but it will also need to have determined that a system of self-identification would be beneficial. Which basically means that they will be agreeing to the T’s & C’s of the .xxx registration policy and are therefore bound by the ICM’s rulings.

A new organisation called The International Foundation For Online Responsibility or IFFOR, has been created by ICM in order to over-see the .xxx policy making. Since 2007, the bulk of changes to the proposal have been new ‘baseline policies.’ These policies include bans on spam, phishing and a prohibition on child porn, as defined by the UN convention.

It is believed that by shifting responsibility for policy making to IFFOR prior to the signing of the contract, ICANN can absolve itself from any claims that their organisation is attempting to regulate content.

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