ICANN delays .xxx porn domain

ICANN has delayed the introduction of .xxx again, despite a ruling that the porn-only Internet domain should have been launched five years ago.

The board of the Internet policy body voted this morning to push a firm decision on the controversial domain at least three months into the future. Realistically, it will take longer.

Two weeks ago, an independent panel of judges found that ICANN broke its own rules when it approved, then subsequently rejected, an application to run .xxx by Florida-based ICM Registry in 2005.

ICM claims the reversal came as a direct result of pressure from the US government, under the Bush administration, which had been lobbied hard by the religious right. ICANN denied this, claiming it changed its mind because ICM couldn't show backing from the porn industry.

Today, the board was asked to vote on how to deal with the review panel's findings.

Rather than deciding to return to contract talks with ICM, the board decided that the .xxx application needs re-approving, and realised that it no longer has a procedure to handle the application.

The resolution reads: “in the absence of a process for approving an sTLD six years following the receipt of the original application, the Board wishes to create a transparent set of process options which can be published for public comment”.

The board voted to give ICANN staffers two weeks to come up with some ideas about possible processes. These will be posted for public comment for 45 days, then the board will vote on which process to use at its next public meeting, set for Brussels in late June.

ICM had taken a hard line prior to the board meeting, but accepted its decision. President Stuart Lawley told us today that the company is “looking forward to seeing the proposals in the next 14 days”.