Tag Archives: .xxx

Right-Wing Religious Groups Flood ICANN With .XXX Comments

Right wing religious groups were dominating comments as the deadline approached for comments on the future of .XXX. Writing on the Internet Governance Project blog, Milton Mueller writes that ICANN’s calling for public comment was a “useless delaying tactic” with 6,000 comments “from the same rightwing religious groups that mobilized against .xxx back in June and July of 2005” as of May 7 as the deadline approached. At the close of the comment period there were 12,602 submissions.Mueller writes that the 6,000 “Christian group” comments are generated by an astroturf campaign led by Pat Trueman of www.pornharms.com, and disseminated through groups such as the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Morality in Media, and Concerned Women for America.”Mueller concludes “ICANN should have known this would happen. What does it say about its sincerity toward its accountability procedures?”To read Milton Mueller’s post in full on the Internet Governance Project blog, see:
blog.internetgovernance.org/blog/_archives/2010/5/7/4523393.html

ICM Registry Goes on Offensive for .XXX, But No Adult Industry Support

ICM Registry has published an open letter to ICANN and the internet community as part of their campaign to lobby for ICANN to approve the .XXX Top Level Domain. The letter notes ICM is disappointed with the possibility that ICANN will disregard the findings of the independent review, but ignores the claims by the adult industry that they do not want .XXX.

ICM notes that two of the three options put forward by ICANN staff on the way forward for .XXX would disregard the findings of the independent review.

The review panel found that ICANN’s handling of ICM Registry’s application to run the .XXX top level domain violated ICANN’s Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, as well as international and California law. It should be noted that the holdings of the Independent Review Panel are advisory in nature and that they do not constitute a binding arbitral award.

However the proposal has been condemned by the adult industry around the world. In March, Diane Duke, the Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), a trade association of the adult entertainment industry with members both in the United States and globally, wrote to ICANN expressing their outrage at the prospect of a .XXX top level domain, saying the proposal is “not of the industry and that the proposal does not have the community’s support.

Meanwhile Fiona Patten, CEO of the Eros Association, Australia’s national adult retail and entertainment association, is also vehemently opposed to the .XXX proposal.

“I can see no positive outcome from the introduction of .xxx,” Patten told DomainPulse.com. She also believes nothing has changed since the ICANN meeting in Wellington in March 2006 where the Government Advisory Committee, where governments give advice to ICANN, opposed the approval of .XXX. This included the Australian government who Patten says has indicated they are still opposed to the introduction of .XXX.

Patten also says it is her “understanding of the TLD process [that] industry support is a fundamental requisite and ICM does not have that.”

“In the past the arguments for a TLD such as .XXX was that it would prevent child pornography and stop children from accessing adult material,” Patten wrote in a recent blog posting.

“It will do neither. There will still be plenty of adult material on the .com domain and frankly child pornographers are criminals and they will not be concerned about NOT using a .XXX domain.

“I agree we need new domain names due to the enormous of the WWW but why not a .KIDS or other names that could create on line walled playgrounds for children?”

To read the full text of the open letter from ICM Registry, see below:

Open Letter to ICANN and the Internet Community by Stuart Lawley
ICM Registry will shortly issue an in-depth response to ICANN’s paper outlining “possible process options” for addressing the declaration of the Independent Review Panel regarding .xxx, which is now open for public comment.

This letter provides a shorter and more personal perspective on this paper and the six-year process that has led ICM Registry, and ICANN, to this point.

We are, frankly, disappointed and dismayed that ICANN staff would seriously contemplate simply disregarding the findings of the independent panel of eminent jurists in the Independent Review. But that is exactly what two of the three options put forward by staff would do.

The Independent Review Process offered ICANN and ICM a mechanism to finally resolve the status of ICM’s application. Let’s be clear here: this was no five-minute hearing. The IRP process went on for nearly two years and both sides were given ample opportunity to present their arguments in depth; which they both did, including at an in-person hearing with witnesses and in hundreds of pages of written briefs.

It cost both ICM Registry and ICANN several million dollars each, and the process was fair, thoughtful, and rigorous. As a result, we acknowledged well before the panel issued its declaration, that we would respect the Panel’s declarations even if the decision went against us.

And the Panel’s findings are clear. Not only did it find in our favour on all the important issues in the case, but it also clearly rejected the arguments put forward by ICANN’s management, often in strong terms.

The Panel did find that its declaration was not binding on the ICANN Board but we expected that ICANN would respect the views of the Panel and honour, in ICANN’s own words, its “ultimate” accountability mechanism. It is profoundly disappointing then that the options paper, which was produced by the same team whose arguments were dismissed by the IRP, effectively ignores every other aspect of the panel’s declaration.

The fact is, as independent experts have now confirmed, that the ICANN Board’s decision to reject dot-xxx in 2007 was the product of bad advice. And the Board continued to rely on that bad advice all the way through the IRP process where it was eventually disregarded by some very serious legal minds. So the current Board should be very cautious about following the advice it has now received in the form of three options that disregard the Panel’s conclusions (even the option to accept the Panel’s findings contains subsequent steps that ignore those same findings).

Neither the ICANN Board nor the ICANN community is well served by this approach. What’s more, it is costing ICANN, ICM and the Internet community millions of dollars to continue down this path.

Our biggest concern, however, remains not the cost, nor the self-serving refusal to accept failed legal arguments. What really concerns ICM Registry is that if ICANN is willing to disregard its own processes and obligations, it risks undermining the organization and model itself.

ICM Registry has always been a big defender of ICANN’s private sector led, bottom-up and multi-stakeholder decision-making process, even though that has meant a slow, expensive and frustrating journey for us in our effort to improve one small part of the Internet. But it is something we have always believed in as it allows everyone affected by the Internet to have a say in the Internet’s evolution.

In Nairobi and in the on-topic public comments on the staff’s options paper, serious members of the ICANN community — including those who opposed creation of dot-xxx in the first instance — have urged ICANN to respect its own accountability mechanisms. We sincerely hope that the ICANN Board is listening.

This is a critical test of ICANN’s maturity as an organization, especially considering that it has recently been freed from direct oversight by the US government. We take no pleasure at all in finding ourselves in the position of having to insist that ICANN demonstrate the maturity it needs to maintain the confidence of the global Internet community, and to do so in a clear and unambiguous decision.

ICANN should simply do the right thing and approve the creation of a dot-xxx top-level domain without delay and without seeking to cover mistakes of the past with a curtain of additional processes.

Sincerely
ICM Registry

Milton Mueller finds ICANN’s Nairobi Board resolutions “painful to read”

Milton Mueller gave the ICANN board an A for effort following the fairly large number of resolutions it passed in its meeting last Friday, but an F for substance.

Mueller gave his reasons on a number of issues including:

  • “the Board [choosing] to ignore its independent review panel and refused to rectify what was officially determined to be unfair and discriminatory treatment” on the .XXX application
  • issuing “a needlessly biased and poorly worded resolution that was an attempt to clarify things but probably did the opposite” on vertical integration
  • “bending over backwards to accommodate trademark interests at the expense of market diversity, as most of the resolutions passed refer to various aspects of how to protect trademark owners from the horrifying prospect of letting people register names under new TLDs”
  • “in response to complaints that it had set the fee bar for new gTLDs too high, the Board issued a vague instruction to its Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations ‘develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs.'”

To read the posting by Milton Mueller in full on the Internet Governance Project blog, see:
blog.internetgovernance.org/blog/_archives/2010/3/12/4478733.html

ICANN Board Votes to Defer .XXX, Appeases Trademark Holders, in Nairobi Meeting

ICANN concluded its week-long meeting in Nairobi on Friday 12 March with a number of notable and controversial decisions. The board meeting, the traditional final happening at its meetings held three times per year around the world, voted to defer a decision on the .XXX Top Level Domain and to scrap the Expressions of Interest Proposal for new generic TLD applicants. However they did vote to create a Trademark Clearinghouse and Uniform Rapid Suspension System to protect trademark holder’s rights in new gTLDs. But the decisions from the ICANN board were given a poor mark by Milton Mueller writing on the Internet Governance blog.

.XXX
The proposal for the .XXX TLD, for adult websites, has been resurrected following an independent review that was concluded in February. The review found the decision to reject .XXX was unfair and should be reconsidered. The .XXX proposal has been hanging around ICANN for some years now, having first been approved in 2005 and then rejected two years later.

Then in 2008 ICM Registry, the .XXX applicant, filed a complaint with the Independent Review Panel (IRT). The IRT, independent of ICANN but recognised in its bylaws, concluded in its report that the decision to reject .XXX was unfair and should be reconsidered.

At the board meeting on Friday the board directed ICANN’s CEO and general counsel to finalise a report of possible process options for further consideration. This report is to be made available with options for public comment within 14 days to enable the community to provide input on the board processes.

The report will be posted for public comment and then further consideration by the board at its 38th meeting in Brussels in late June.

Expressions of Interest Process for New GTLDs
The ICANN board, in a surprise decision to many, decided to cancel the idea of calling for Expressions of Interest (EoI) for new generic Top Level Domains. It was expected ICANN would call for EoIs to gauge support for new gTLDs. This followed the call for ICANN staff to present options for the potential impact of such a process at the previous meeting in Seoul, South Korea, in December 2009.

ICANN decided that the potential benefits of proceeding with an EOI were outweighed by the costs of potential delay to the new gTLD programme.

Commenting on the decision, Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s CEO and president, said the EoI process would have “added another step, another process, another set of community discussions and debate.”

The implementation process for new gTLDs is taking much longer than anticipated with dates for when ICANN expected to be taking applications being pushed back several times. This has created problems for would-be applicants.

Also on new gTLDs, the board decided that there will be no co-ownership of registries and those acting as registrars for any new gTLD.

Trademark Clearinghouse and Uniform Rapid Suspension System
In another development linked to new gTLDs, ICANN has agreed to establish a Trademark Clearinghouse and a Uniform Rapid Suspension System. The Trademark Clearinghouse is to be a means of protecting the rights of trademark holders in any new gTLDs that are created while the Uniform Rapid Suspension System is to be the process for suspending domain name registrations considered to be trademark abuses in new gTLDs.

“In forming this trademark clearinghouse, we’ve listened to our community about providing trademark protection,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN’s Chairman of the Board. “We’ve also adopted an extremely rapid process by which people or organisations can challenge trademark infringement.”

The board has asked for final versions to be developed for inclusion in version four of the Draft Applicant Guidebook.

Internationalised Domain Names and gTLDs
ICANN is backing away from the rule that any new gTLD string has to be at least three characters, voting in its board meeting to reconsider the requirement following public comment that this would limit the utility of Internationalised Domain Names (IDN) gTLDs in some regions of the world. A revised policy is expected in the next draft (version four) of the Draft Applicant Guidebook.

DNS Security
Earlier in the week at the meeting, the ICANN’s CEO and president, Rod Beckstrom made some controversial comments on DNS security.

“The domain name system is under attack today as it has never been before. I have personally consulted with over 20 CEOs of the top registries and the top registrars globally, all of whom are seeing increasing attacks and complexity of attacks and who are extremely concerned,” Beckstrom said.

However Chris Disspain, chairman of the Country Code Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO) council, was none too impressed. Disspain called Beckstrom’s comments “inflammatory”, saying:
“Your inflammatory comments to governmental representatives regarding – in your view – the precarious state of the security of the DNS, have the potential to undermine the effective and productive relationships established under ICANN’s multi-stakeholder model.

“This could cause great concern among governments regarding how elements of critical internet resources are operated and managed in their countries.

“We suggest that ICANN work with all relevant internal and external stakeholders to develop a clear analysis of the current mechanisms in place to ensure the ongoing security of the DNS. As a first step, we urge you to share with us and other stakeholders the underlying facts or studies that originally led you to make your statements.”

An interview with Rod Beckstrom on the board decisions is available from:
link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid17699847001?bctid=71571577001

Writing on the Internet Governance blog, Milton Mueller says he would give ICANN “an A for effort. But on substance? Give them an F. On the .xxx issue, the Board chose to ignore its independent review panel and refused to rectify what was officially determined to be unfair and discriminatory treatment. On the vertical integration issue, it issued a needlessly biased and poorly worded resolution that was an attempt to clarify things but probably did the opposite. True to form, the board devoted most of its attention to bending over backwards to accommodate trademark interests at the expense of market diversity, as most of the resolutions passed refer to various aspects of how to protect trademark owners from the horrifying prospect of letting people register names under new TLDs. And in response to complaints that it had set the fee bar for new gTLDs too high, the Board issued a vague instruction to its Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations ‘develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs.'”

For more of Milton Mueller’s analysis of the outcomes of the ICANN meeting in Nairobi, check out:
blog.internetgovernance.org/blog/_archives/2010/3/12/4478733.html

ICANN Votes to Delay .XXX Consideration

ICANN today voted to delay consideration of the .XXX Top Level Domain (TLD) in its board meeting at their 37th meeting held this week in Nairobi, Kenya.Among other decisions, the board also decided that there will be no co-ownership between registries and registrars for new gTLDs.For .XXX, the board resolved to direct ICANN’s CEO and general counsel to finalise a report of possible process options for further consideration. This report is to be made available with a number of options for public comment within 14 days to enable the community to provide input on the board processes.The report will be posted for public comment for no less than 45 days, which will enable the board to consider the possible process options no later than ICANN’s 38th international meeting in Brussels.

Sex Gets Domain Name Industry Hearts Aflutter with SEX.COM and .XXX in the News

Sex always makes a good story for the media, and so it has again recently with the .XXX Top Level Domain about to be discussed again at ICANN’s Nairobi, Kenya, meeting this week and the SEX.COM domain name up for grabs again next week to the highest bidder.The proposal for the .XXX TLD, specifically for adult websites, has been resurrected following its rejection by ICANN in 2005 and then an independent review last month that concluded the decision was unfair and it should be reconsidered. The proposal has been scheduled to be discussed at ICANN’s board meeting this Friday.If approved, Stuart Lawley, chairman of ICM Registry who proposed the new TLD, has said they could be selling .XXX domain names by the end of 2010. However an ICANN spokesman said there was “no indication what action the ICANN board will take”. And it is most likely the board will decide to consult with other members of ICANN and the internet community.In other sex-related domain news, the SEX.COM domain name is set to be auctioned next week with the potential it could set a record for the highest reported domain name sale.The domain name is up for auction on 18 March with opening bids starting at $1 million. The domain name has had a controversial past, expertly described by Kieren McCarthy in his book called Sex.com. In the publicity for the book McCarthy asks “how far would you go to get the internet’s most valuable property?”The sex.com saga has been a battle between two men – Gary Kremen and Stephen Cohen who have gone to extraordinary lengths to gain ownership of the domain name.In his book, McCarthy outlines “the full story behind the battle for Sex.com from its registration way back in May 1994, to its theft a year later by lifelong con-man Stephen Cohen,” according to the book’s website.”The fight soon hit newspapers and TV screens across the world and sucked in the most powerful company on the Internet, as well as the Supreme Court. Ultimately, it determined the future of how the law sees the buildings blocks of the Internet – domain names – forever. But much more than that, it revealed what men are capable of when all their worldly desires are contained within one possession.”The last time it was sold, it cost the current owner $14 million and now there are around 120,000 people visiting the site each month.The domain name is being sold by Maltz Auctions with more information available at maltzauctions.com/auction_detail.php?id=128401For more information on Kieren McCarthy’s book on the saga, see sexdotcom.info

ICM Registry Wins Review of .XXX Application, Hopes To Offer Names in 2010

ICM Registry, the applicant for .XXX generic Top Level Domain, hopes to begin offering .XXX domain names in 2010 following an independent review of its application to, and subsequent refusal by, ICANN.The rejection of ICM Registry’s application was always controversial, however the first ICANN Independent Review Process decision since the process was introduced six years ago voted two to one to advise the ICANN Board to reconsider the .XXX gTLD at its next meeting.The review panel found that ICANN’s handling of ICM Registry’s application to run the .XXX top level domain violated ICANN’s Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, as well as international and California law. It should be noted that the holdings of the Independent Review Panel are advisory in nature and that they do not constitute a binding arbitral award.ICANN’s CEO Rod Beckstrom has been prompt in noting the decision and that ICANN will address the issue at its next meeting. However others have been critical saying ICANN needs to approve the .XXX gTLD and move on.”The solution is simple,” said Liz Williams succinctly on the ICANN blog commenting on Beckstrom’s statement on the decision, and summing up what others said. “Give ICM its contract to which it was entitled years ago and move on with the very best improvements that you could make to ICANN — being absolutely accountable for past errors and getting the future right. That is what your legacy will be.”Interestingly, Kieren McCarthy has noted that the current ICANN chair, Peter Dengate Thrush originally wanted to vote in favour of approving ICM’s application and was critical of the approval process and was very critical “of the reasons given in the Board resolution for not allowing dot-xxx, and even goes so far as to say that they presented a ‘particularly thin argument,'” McCarthy notes. At the time Dengate Thrush said “I’m going to vote against this resolution and, in fact, I sought to move a motion in favor of adopting this applicant.”ICANN and ICM were notified of the decision by the American Arbitration Association’s International Center for Dispute Resolution on 19 February 2010. The Independent Review Panel, which was constituted pursuant to ICANN’s Bylaws, found that the ICANN Board’s vote on ICM’s application on 1 June 2005 reflected the Board’s determination that the application “met the required sponsorship criteria,” and that reconsideration of that finding by the Board was “not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy,” as required by ICANN’s Bylaws.The Panel found “grounds for questioning the neutral and objective performance of the Board” during the registry agreement negotiations with ICM, and further suggested that the Board, motivated in part, by “[t]he volte face in the position of the United States Government” had breached “its obligation not to single out ICM Registry for disparate treatment.” Additionally, the Panel declared unequivocally that, in light of its founding history and global responsibilities, ICANN must operate in conformity with relevant principles of international law. The Panel determined that within an IRP, the actions of ICANN’s Board must be reviewed objectively and should not be afforded special deference. As a result of all of these holdings in ICM’s favour, the Panel declared ICM the prevailing party in the dispute and assigned responsibility to ICANN, recommending they pay approximately $478,000 to cover the costs of the process.ICMs’s Chairman, Stuart Lawley, described the decision as “a victory for ICM Registry and for the ICANN model of private sector management of the Domain Name System.” According to Lawley “ICANN established the review process as part of its system of accountability to all 5970537 Internet stakeholders. As an aggrieved party, we invoked ICANN’s procedures, expended a lot of resources, and fought hard for our rights. The Panel took its job very seriously. The Panellists studied everything that the parties submitted and listened to the witnesses very carefully during the course of a week long hearing in Washington, D.C. And they have now issued a detailed ruling in ICM’s favour. We believe that ICANN’s new leadership has the vision to embrace the decision as an opportunity to strengthen the ICANN model and comply with the rule of law. We commit to working with them in partnership and cooperation to that end. We are eager to execute a registry agreement, complete the build out of our business, and implement the vision that started all of this over 6 years ago. Too much time has been lost and resources wasted — from both sides — already.”ICM Registry has also started to take reservations for .XXX domain names on their website.So now it’s over to ICANN to consider the issue at their Nairobi meeting in March.For more reading see:
icann.org/en/irp/icm-v-icann/irp-panel-declaration-19feb10-en.pdf [decision]

blog.icann.org/2010/02/landmark-step-in-icanns-use-of-accountability-mechanisms/
icmregistry.com/

kierenmccarthy.com/2010/02/23/what-icanns-chair-said-about-xxx-at-the-time/

Could .XXX finally be recognized as a domain name ?

The highly contentious .xxx domain extension could also finally become a reality. Hopefully the long fight for this domain name has come to an end and allow the extension to be used. It will hopefully separate the more prestigious businesses from the sex industry, what the Internet was built on some may say.

The policies that are to be voted on have taken around three years and $10m (£5m) to formulate, ICANN president Paul Twomey told ZDNet.co.uk on Monday. “This is the first time [ICANN will be voting on] the detail of how [such] applications would work,” said Twomey. “The vote on Thursday will essentially be the board saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to whether [these new domain extensions are] implementable.”

To read the article further : http://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/0,1000000097,39437739,00.htm