PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL—Manwin and Digital Playground have filed a lawsuit in federal court against ICM Registry, the operators of the .xxx top-level domain, and ICANN, the California-based administrator of the Domain Name System (DNS), alleging anti-trust violations related to the controversial TLD.
AVN has received the Manwin and Digital Playground complaint, which was filed Wednesday morning in Los Angeles federal court, names Manwin and Digital Playground as plaintiffs, and ICM Registry and ICANN (the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) as defendants in a lawsuit that alleges violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, violations of the the Cartwright Act and unfair competition.
AVN received the following initial comment via email from ICM Registry’s Greg Dumas.
“I thought it was important to proactively send you an email about how our public relations company alerted us to the probable filing today of an anti-trust lawsuit by Manwin against both ICM Registry and ICANN in conjunction with the .XXX domain name,” states the email. “Perhaps Manwin filed this lawsuit because they are worried that ICM Registry is creating opportunities for others in the adult industry to have a fair chance to build great brands and businesses in the new .XXX space.
“As we have proved time and again,” the email continues, “ICM Registry has taken extensive measures to ensure it is being launched in the most lawful and responsible possible way. ICM Registry will vigorously defend their position against any meritless claims such as this one. We interpret this lawsuit as Manwin's attempt to flex their muscles and may be a part of a much bigger strategy. It's also important to know that we had been previously engaged in negotiations with Manwin on domain names and other things that they had requested. I'd think a phone call would have worked just as well because litigation is never a good for anyone.”
In a press release issued today, Fabian Thylmann, managing partner of Manwin, said, "This is a monumental case impacting the entire business community and the Internet ecosystem. It uncovers a pernicious monopoly at the very heart of the Internet. Ending anticompetitive practices by ICM and ICANN will not only protect our business, but help other companies compelled to pay a fee to keep their names unassociated with a .XXX designation."
ICM Registry also has informed AVN that it has not yet been served with the complaint.
AVN will update this story as it develops.