Daily Wrap: Manwin’s Antitrust Case Against ICM, ICANN Continues, Saudi gTLD Objections, Problems For Americans And .SY Domains, Romeny/Ryan Cybersquatters And Domain Name Addiction

A federal judge has ruled he will not dismiss Manwin’s antitrust claims against ICANN and the .XXX registry, ICM Registry. According to XBiz, a “federal judge has pared Manwin’s antitrust lawsuit against ICM Registry and ICANN, granting in part and denying in part motions to dismiss the case.”

The XBiz report notes that “Luxembourg-based Manwin filed suit last November, alleging that ICM Registry received the original and renewal registry contracts without competition, is charging above-market .XXX prices, imposes other anticompetitive .XXX sales restrictions and has, because of its ICANN contract, precluded other adult-oriented top-level domains from operating.”

Manwin is an adult industry conglomerate that includes YouPorn among its stable of brands.

XBiz also looks at the comments on new gTLD applications, and at the time of their article notes that “about 13 percent (776 of 6,151) of the comments on the ICANN Application Comments forum are directed at [.ADULT, .SEX and .PORN].”

Headlines such as “Porn domain not needed or wanted,” “Please don’t make the world worse” and “No more indecency” are atypical XBix notes, as are some of the contributors — one repeat poster is Morality in Media President Patrick Trueman.

And Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission has got in on the act, complaining about the abovementioned three gTLD applications, as well as the applications for .HOT, .BABY, .TATTOO, .SEXY, .BAR, .CASINO, .DATING, .WINE, .SEXY and .STYLE.

“Many individuals and societies find this string offensive on religious and/or cultural grounds,” the Saudi Arabian regulating agency posted on the ICANN site. “We oppose the introduction of [these] gTLD [strings] on both of these grounds, and because pornography causes huge damage to society’s social fabric.

It should be noted that Saudi Arabia has also objected to .ISLAM.

Andy Wasley, from Stonewall, who works for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, told the BBC “Saudi Arabia already prevents its 1.9 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people from visiting community websites, like Stonewall’s, that offer support and information. It’s disappointing that it now wants to censor the internet for 420 million gay people worldwide.”

The BBC notes Saudi Arabia has also objected to:

  • .SEX on the grounds it would increase the proliferation of pornographic material on the web.
  • .VIRGIN, .SUCKS, .DATING and .BABY because they might also be used by pornographic sites.
  • .TATTOO because the practice is contrary to religions “such as Islam and Judaism”.
  • .WINE and .VODKA since they could glamourise the consumption of alcohol.
  • .AFRICAMAGIC because it “implies that it is linked to black magic and this is considered offensive”.

Slate looks at the predicament of Art.sy, “a slick, fine-art website that aims to digitise all of the world’s artworks.” But .SY is the ccTLD for the “Syrian Arab Republic, and .SY domain names can only be purchased and renewed from a Syrian government entity run by a member of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. By maintaining its undoubtedly cute domain name, Art.sy appears to have been breaking United States sanctions against the war-torn country.”

But things became complicated when “in early 2011, authority for Syrian domain name subscriptions was taken over by the National Agency for Network Services (NANS), another Syrian government entity, which directed that all registration and renewal payments be made to an account at the Commercial Bank of Syria.”

Slate then notes that “although the company’s money was going to fund a known dictator and U.S.-designated sponsor of terrorism, it was not, as yet, breaking any laws, because Syria was not yet under sanctions. However, with the rise of the Arab Spring and Assad’s bloody clampdowns on his population, on Aug. 10, 2011, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Commercial Bank of Syria a Specially Designated National (SDN) and froze all property and assets of the bank. This prohibited U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions including payments, transfers, and ‘other dealings’ in which the bank had an interest. A week later President Obama announced Executive Order 13582, which prohibited ‘investment in Syria by a United States person, wherever located.’”

“Art.sy thought the timing of its purchase made it immune to these rulings—a position the company still maintains.”

Cybersquatters were quick on the job when it came to domain names for the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan Republican campaign team.

“Even before Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, entrepreneurial cybersquatters swooped in to buy up relevant Web domain names,” reports the Daily Caller.

Some of the domain names registered include paulryan.com, romneyandryan.com and romney-ryan.com, which are now up for sale.

An Irish Paul Ryan has had paulryan.com registered since 2001 and when contacted by the Daily Caller declined to say if the Obama or Romney campaigns had contacted him about buying paulryan.com, but he told them “I am having the domain name valued, I have had a lot of interest in it.”

Meanwhile Fast Company has an article saying that if you have registered more than 300 domain names “you may be suffering from ‘domain name addiction’–the tendency to register many URLs without following through on one strong idea, says recovering addict Lea Woodward.”