CANOGA PARK, Calif.—Free Speech Coalition (FSC) yesterday submitted a letter to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding concerns over the proposed approval of the .XXX “sponsored” Top Level Domain (sTLD). The action by FSC comes after the internet domain regulator decided to consult with GAC about key issues regarding the proposed .XXX domain prior to the Dec. 5 meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, where the ICANN board may decide the final fate of the ICM application.
“In our letter, FSC emphasizes that ICM’s proposed .XXX sTLD poses a threat not only to the adult entertainment community, but also to the stability and security of the internet as a whole,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “The GAC has an inherent understanding of the issues and hopefully will guide the ICANN Board in the right direction.”
The letter, which was accompanied by other documentation, outlines specific points that present significant obstacles to the approval of ICM’s application. Those points include:
• ICANN’s lack of authority to oversee content-based regulation, and its inability to approve any other entity to oversee content-based regulation, in regards to establishing a domain category.
• Lack of support for the proposed .XXX sTLD from the “sponsor” community, which is necessary for approval.
• Use of fees from .XXX domain registrations to fund proposed regulatory board (IFFOR) in violation of free speech and free association rights.
• Inconsistencies in documentation provided by domain registrar ICM and its president, Stuart Lawley, in their ongoing campaign for approval of .XXX.
• Lack of transparency by ICM during the approval process, overall.
GAC has previously expressed its disapproval of the .XXX domain, the documentation of which also is included in the letter. The most recent correspondence from GAC to the ICANN Board was a letter sent Aug. 4 to Board Chair Peter Dengate Thrush, a copy of which is available below.
In the letter, GAC Chair Heather Dryden expressed GAC's recommendation that “community-wide discussions be facilitated by ICANN in order to ensure that an effective objections procedure be developed that both recognizes the relevance of national laws and effectively addresses strings that raise national, cultural, geographic, religious and/or linguistic sensitivities or objections that could result in intractable disputes. These objection procedures should apply to all pending and future TLDs.”
FSC opposes the proposed .XXX sTLD because it is not supported by the adult online community; it would cost adult online businesses millions every year in unnecessary fees, and it would make censorship efforts easier for anti-adult entities.
Duke and FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas will be attending the Cartagena meeting in their continuing lobbying efforts against the sTLD.
The FSC letter can be read here.
An appendix to the letter can be read here.
Aug. 4 letter from GAC to the ICANN Board can be read here.