ICANN reopens can of porn worms

The proposed dot-xxx top-level domain is back on the table at Icann, with the organisation now seeking comments on how to approve or reject the porn-only name-space.

Over the weekend, Icann published a set of documents outlining how it could handle dot-xxx, which was approved in 2005 then rejected in 2007, and asked for public comment.

The comment period has already attracted input from a former member of Icann's board of directors, one who voted against dot-xxx in 2007 because he thought it would turn Icann into a content regulator, who now thinks the domain should be approved.

"Icann had already determined that ICM's application for .xxx met all the basic criteria as well as all the special contract conditions that Icann had imposed on the applicant," wrote former director Steve Goldstein. "It's really time to walk the talk, Icann."

His comments come in the light of a independent review last month, which found that Icann broke its own rules on fairness and objectivity with the 2007 decision.

But dot-xxx still has vocal opposition. While the God Squad - credited by some as having killed off dot-xxx in the first place - has yet to make its presence felt, the porn community has already expressed outrage.

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade group for smut merchants, last week said it opposed dot-xxx on the grounds that existing adult webmasters do not want it. Individual porn peddlers are now also getting involved.

"The dot-xxx [lobby] wants to place all 'pornography' on a single TLD, but the definition of what constitutes 'pornography' is open to interpretation depending on people's ideology. This can only lead to conflicts,” wrote one webmaster.

The dot-xxx domain is potentially worth tens of millions of dollars. It is being proposed by ICM Registry, a Florida company run by Brummie businessman Stuart Lawley.

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