by : Michael D. Stewart


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") has again rejected a plan to roll-out a new domain - .XXX for websites in the Adult Entertainment Business.

Arguments for the .XXX domain would seem to be that it would provide a verifiable location for those Internet users seeking Adult Content on the web. By allowing only Adult Content, the .XXX could prevent unauthorized and/or underage users from accessing Adult Sites. Having one site for Adult Content would also purportedly protect other Internet users from confronting such material in the non - .XXX areas.

Arguments against have been that .XXX would be difficult if not impossible to regulate by ICANN and/or others. Furthermore, Adult Industry owners worry that creating the .XXX will lead to further regulation of the industry in the form of taxes, fees and the like specific to the .XXX domain. Religious and other groups have also complained that creating the .XXX domain would lead to an increase in Adult Content websites.

Free speech issues also arise in determining what would fall in the .XXX domain and what would not, and regulating same. Further, forcing users out of other areas and into the .XXX area raises many other issues.

Myriad other issues arise when considering intellectual property rights and the .XXX domain. The domain could add significant costs to large companies who would need to register their trademark and service marks in the .XXX domain to prevent infringement. Additional costs would be dispute resolution procedures which could become necessary.

Perhaps market forces could come into play here. Maybe ICANN could authorize .XXX, but place no limitations on its use, such as with .COM. Market forces then could determine whether the domain became the search of choice for those seeking Adult Content. The IP issues mentioned above, however, could weigh against this approach.

© Copyright 2006-2007 Michael D. Stewart