.xxx

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Xxx.JPG
Target Region: International
Registry Provider: ICM Registry
Date Implemented: 2011
Type: sponsored top level domain (sTLD)
Community: internet pornography
Key People
Stuart Lawley, Chairman and CEO

.xxx is one of the sponsored top-level domain name (sTLD) delegated in the root zone of the internet Domain Name System (DNS). The TLD is intended for the "online adult-entertainment community." The International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR) is the sponsoring organization and it is responsible in creating policies for the .xxx. IFFOR is a non-profit organization created by ICM Registry, the registry operator of the .xxx. [1]

The domain name was launched for public registration on December 6, 2011. There were more than 100,000 domain names have already been pre-registered prior to its scheduled launching.[2]

History

.xxx Application during the 2000 ICANN Proof of Concept

ICM Registry proposed the .xxx as non-sponsored generic top-level domain name (gTLD) during the ICANN Proof of Concept round in 2000. ICANN's evaluation team did not recommend the string because of the "controversy surrounding it and the poor
 definition 
of 
the
 hope for 
benefits
 of .xxx." On December 15, 2000, ICM Registry filed a Reconsideration Request with ICANN but no action was rendered. The ICANN Board cited that "no new TLD proposals has been rejected rather a small set of potentially successful applicants had been selected with the aim of testing a diversity of approaches to the creation of new TLDs." [3]

.xxx during the 2003 sTLD Application Process

On December 15, 2003, the ICANN Board published a Request For Proposal (RFP) for new sTLDs after conducting public comments and extensive discussions within the different stakeholders within the ICANN community. ICM Registry submitted a proposal for.xxx on March 16 2004. IFFOR was named as the sponsoring organization, which will be responsible in developing policies for the proposed TLD. On August 2004, the Independent Review Panel evaluated ICM's application and reported to the ICANN Board that the the company failed to meet the baseline sponsorship criteria for sTLD.[4] Following the report, the ICANN Board approved a resolution allowing sTLD applicants to additional information to resolve the concerns raised by IRP in the report. On October 2004, ICM Registry started submitting additional documents to strengthen its application. ICM Registry was invited to make a presentation on April 3, 2005.[5]

Following the presentation, a special meeting was conducted by the ICANN Board on May 3, 2005 and discussed whether the sponsored community baseline criteria was met or not by ICM Registry. The Board decided to further discuss the issue on another meeting. [6]

On June 1, 2005, the ICANN Board tasked ICANN President Paul Twomey and General Counsel Jon Jeffrey to negotiate the proposed commercial and technical terms for a contractual agreement in connection with the delegation of .xxx sTLD.[7]

On September 5, 2005, the proposed contractual agreement for .xxx sTLD was submitted to the ICANN Board for approval. It was also posted on ICANN's website. Significant number of comments, correspondences and inquiries from the internet and community were received by the Board relating to the contract. The Board directed the ICANN President and the General Counsel to discuss the possible additional contractual provisions or modifications for the .xxx Registry Agreemet to ensure the development and implementation of policies consistent with the principles of ICM Registry application.[8]

Several revisions were submitted and negotiations were made on the .xxx Registry Agreement between September 15, 2005 until January 5, 2007. Extensive comments and advice were also received from global internet community and from the Governmental Advisory Committee, which were evaluated by the ICANN Board. On March 30, 2007, the ICANN Board denied the ICM Registry application citing that the company failed to meet the Sponsored Community criteria set forth in the RFP, the .xxx sTLD raised public policy, approval of the Registry Agreement will not resolve the issue raised by GAC such as offensive content and protection of vulnerable members of the community, the application raises significant law enforcement issues in different countries and the application poses a possibility that ICANN might be forced to assume an ongoing management and oversight role regarding Internet content, which is inconsistent with its technical mandate.[9]

Independent Review Proceedings

ICM Registry contested the resolution of the Board and submitted a request for Independent Review Panel proceeding on June 6, 2008.Entities may request for an IRP to resolve allegations that the ICANN Board acted or decided inconsistent with the organizations Articles of Incorporation. The IRP is a final appeal to ensure transparency and since the establishment of ICANN, ICM Registry was the first entity to utilize this provision. ICM complained that ICANN exceeded its mission during the evaluation process and violated the its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The internet governing body improperly administered the 2003 RFP process for sTLD and its decision lacks transparency and discriminatory. In addition, the company alleged that ICANN . [10]

ICANN Responded on Septemebr 8, 2008 and argued that ICM's allegations are false. The internet governing body pointed out that ICANN's evaluation on ICM's application was more open and transparent, the negotiations conducted on June 1, 2005 was not binding to assure approval of the Registry agreement. ICANN tried to work closely with ICM to resolve the problems in the application however, the ICANN Board believed that the underlying problems will not be resolved by awarding a contract. ICANN strongly emphasized that the decision was made in good faith to deny ICM's application.[11]

Both parties submitted their briefing papers and testimonies to the three-member IRP which was handled by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the AAA. On February 19, 2010, the IRP ruled in favor of ICM. Two of the panelist agreed that ICM met the criteria for sponsorship citing that, "the Board’s reconsideration of that finding was not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy." The opinion of the other panelist was contrary. He said that ICM did not meet the sTLD sponsorship requirements and ICANN carried out its decision with transparency.[12] Moreover, the declaration of the IRP is not a binding order rather an advisory or recommendation for the ICANN Board to consider as stated on Article IV Section 3(15) of the ICANN Bylaws stating that, "Where feasible, the Board shall consider the IRP declaration at the Board's next meeting."[13]

On March 12, 2010, ICANN Board considered the IRP declaration and delegated the ICANN CEO and General Counsel to develop a final report for possible process options to be posted on the website.[14] The ICANN Board received and evaluated 13,700 comments regarding the process options. On June 25, 2010, the ICANN Board to accept the majority recommendation of the IRP and directed the ICANN Staff to ensure that the ICM application is still current and no changes have been made to the company's qualifications.In addition, the ICANN Staff was also authorized to develop a contract with ICM to be reviewed by the Board to ensure that it is consistent with GAC's advice, if not, consultation with GAC will be done prior to approval of the contract.[15] On August 5, 2010, the proposed Registry Agreement was posted for public comments.[16] ICANN's chairman initiated a consultation process with GAC Chair regarding the proposed ICM Registry Agreement.Prior to the schedule personal consultation, GAC sent a letter to ICANN stating that it has no active support for the introduction of the .xxx string and governments might take actions to prohibit internet access to the TLD, which is a threat to the universal stability of the DNS.[17]

During the ICANN 40 meeting in San Francisco on March 2011, the ICANN Board approved the ICM application. [18] The .xxx string was delegated to the root zone of the DNS on June 2011.[19]

.xxx Sponsored Community

The sponsored community of the .xxx include individuals, companies and organizations providers adult entertainment, representatives of providers and products or service providers. Some of these entities include adult web masters, club owners, performers, agents, lawyers, distributors and manufacturers or adult products. All entities interested to register a .xxx domain need to become a member of the community. Individuals must provide correct date of birth, address, phone number, confirm membership to the community and accept the Registry-Registrant Agreement. [20]

Policies

The IFFOR implements policies to comply with the protect the privacy, security and consumer rights of consenting adults, to help user choice and parental control with regards to access to online adult contents and to fight child abuse images. Its' baseline policies include:[21]

  • Registration is restricted to sponsored community
  • The organizations implements eligibility verification process to all registrants interested to become a member of the sponsored community.
  • Reasonable Technological Mechanisms will be used to authenticate the identity of registrants.
  • Registrants must agree to the labeling requirements and all .xxx sites are redirected using an IFFOR aproved label.
  • Child abuse images and conduct are prohibited including contents designed to suggest the availability of child abuse images.
  • Registrants must agree to automated scanning of their sites to ensure compliance to IFFOR policies and using technologies to prevent scanning is prohibited.
  • Abusive registration (Intellectual Property rights and Trademarks infringements) is not allowed
  • Malicious Conduct is prohibited such as email spoofing, phishing, spam and other illegal cyber activities.
  • Registrants must comply to the IFFOR Best Practices Guidelines.
  • All registrants violating the IFFOR policies will be disqualified. Violators of the prohibitions on child abuse images and the implementation of automated scanning will be referred to third parties such as law enforcement agencies, hotlines, etc.

Dispute Resolution Programs

The Rapid Evaluation Service (RES) was introduced by the National Arbitration Forum (FORUM) that will serve as dispute resolution program to protect the stage names of adult entertainers and performers from infringements. Complaints filed under RES in proper circumstances will be handled within two business days and the infringing domain names will be taken down. The Charter Eligibility Dispute Resolution Policy (CEDRP) of ICM is also handled by FORUM. Entities may file complaints and challenge the ownership eligibility of entities for .xxx domain names.[22]

Premium .xxx Domain Names

ICM Registry sold several of its premium .xxx domain names for top price including gay.xxx which was purchased by Liberty Media Holdings (Corbin Fisher),a porn production based in Las Vegas for $500,000.[23] Shemales.xxx was sold $200,000 to Grooby Productions.[24] Meanwhile, Mike Berkens, president of Worldwide Media invested six figures on three domain names FreePorn.xxx, BlowJobs.xxx, and AnalSex.xxx.[25] Frank Schilling, a domain name investor paid seven figures for amateur.xxx, anal.xxx, asian.xxx, bollywood.xxx, book.xxx, celeb.xxx, chat.xxx, dating.xxx, hardcore.xxx, sexy.xxx, video.xxx, webcam.xxx and several other domain names.[26]

Suspended .xxx Domain Names

Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM confirmed that the company suspended the registration for several .xxx domain names due to unmistakable, blatant cybersquatting. The suspended domain names include businessweek.xxx, cnbc.xxx, geocities.xxx, nextag.xxx, snapfish.xxx, verizonwireless.xxx, washingtonpost.xxx and gayroom.xxx. Lawley emphasized and reiterated that his company is serious in implementing its policies and it is committed in maintaining high standard registry operations. He said, "We will not tolerate nefarious conduct and will exercise our right to take appropriate action when we detect widespread repeat patterns of cyber-squatting activity. Would-be cyber-squatters are on notice – neither ICM Registry nor the .xxx community will be complicit in the theft or abuse of intellectual property. ICM takes a stand to facilitate user choice and parental control, protect the privacy, security, and consumer rights of consenting adults, fight child abuse images, and protect intellectual property.” [27]

Free .xxx Domain Names

As part of ICM's Adult Performer Program, the company partnered with domain name registrar Name.com partnered in offering a one-year free domain name registration for 3,500 selected porn stars. The domain names were reserved by ICM and the $210,000 registry fee was paid in advance by Name.com.[28]

References

  1. IFFOR-About Us
  2. Over 100,000 XXX Domain Names Are Going Live Tomorrow At 11 EST
  3. Accountability
 and
 Transparency 
at ICANN
: An
 Independent
 Review
  4. Delegation of the .XXX top-level domain
  5. Status Report on the sTLD Evaluation Process
  6. Minutes-Special Meeting of the Board May 3, 2005
  7. Minutes Special Meeting of the Board, June 1, 2005
  8. 2005-09-15 - Review of Proposed .XXX Sponsored Top-Level Domain Registry Agreement
  9. Adopted Resolutions from ICANN Board Meeting, 30 March 2007
  10. ICM's Request for Independent Review Process
  11. ICANN's Response to ICM's IRP Request
  12. Independent Review Panel Declaration
  13. ICANN Bylaws
  14. Adopted Board Resolutions, Nairobi, March 12, 2010
  15. Adopted Board Resolutions | Brussels
  16. Adopted Board Resolutions
  17. Draft Rationale for Approving ICM Registry Agreement
  18. .XXX Approved at ICANN 40
  19. ICANN board approves dot-XXX top-level domain for porn
  20. Who Qualifies for the Sponsored Community
  21. IFFOR Baseline Policies
  22. National Arbitration Forum Launches Dispute Program for .XXX Domain Names
  23. Gay.xxx sells for $500,000
  24. SheMales.XXX Sells For $200,000; 3 1/2 Times More Than The .Net Sold For
  25. Mike Berkens Invests in .XXX Domains
  26. Frank Schilling Spends Seven Figures on .XXX Domain Names
  27. ICM Registry Acts in Response to Reports of Cyber-squatting
  28. ICM offers free .xxx domains to porn stars