.XXX Finally Gets ICANN Approval

The controversial .XXX sponsored Top Level Domain was approved by the ICANN board Friday at the board meeting that concluded their Silicon Valley-San Francisco meeting.The approval was hailed as a “landmark decision” by ICM Registry, the .XXX registry operator, saying it will provide a “progressive new home for adult entertainment online.” The ICANN board voted 9-3 in favour, while four board members abstained.”The approval grants ICM Registry’s .XXX web suffix with the same rights as .COM, .NET, .CO, .UK and other TLDs,” the ICM Registry said in a statement.”The only difference being that as a sponsored TLD, .XXX domain names will only be available to the adult entertainment industry. The contract will require anyone registering a .XXX domain to complete an application process endorsed and overseen by the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR).”IFFOR is an independent non-profit entity made up of a seven-person Policy Council, including a child protection representative, a privacy and security expert, free-speech advocates and adult entertainment industry leaders. It will be funded primarily by US$10annually from every .XXX domain registered.However the Free Speech Coalition, the trade association for the adult entertainment industry, commented that “this decision represents the first time the ICANN Board has disregarded advice from its Government Advisory Committee (GAC).””ICANN’s decision to give .XXX final approval is a landmark moment for the internet,” said Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry. “For the first time there will be a clearly defined web address for adult entertainment, out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses.””We believe consumers will be more prepared to make purchases on .XXX sites, safe in the knowledge their payments will be secure. Tens of thousands of adult entertainment website owners recognize the business benefits of .XXX and have already applied to pre-reserve over 200,000 .XXX domains.””Today’s announcement means IFFOR will be able to contribute programs to make a difference in protecting children online. In addition, we will be able to establish a forum for the online adult entertainment community to communicate and proactively respond to the needs and concerns of the broader internet community,” said Clyde Beattie, Director of IFFOR.In continuing to oppose the .XXX approval, the Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diana Duke said in a statement that “of course we are disappointed but we are not surprised by the ICANN Board’s decision.”As voiced in concerns by speakers at this very conference, the ICANN Board has dangerously undervalued the input from governments worldwide, Duke said.”Worse, they have disregarded overwhelming outpouring of opposition from the adult entertainment industry — the supposed sponsorship community — dismissing the interests of free speech on the Internet.”But the Free Speech Coalition has not thrown in the towel just yet. They are examining ways to appeal the decision. “Under ICANN’s bylaws there are review procedures available to affected parties including GAC itself.””Until now we have been forced to work within the constraints of the ICANN process. FSC is now free to explore all options and we intend to do just that with input from, and in the interest of, our members,” FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas said. “We will help the industry fully understand the risks and ramifications of participating in .XXX .”As regrettable as the vote was, the involvement of FSC and industry leaders in this process has and will continue to provide a positive face of the adult entertainment community to leaders of the online community worldwide,” Douglas continued.The FSC statement concludes saying that “In the coming days and weeks FSC will provide information about .XXX and alternatives for the adult entertainment industry.”

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