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ICM Registry Seeks Arbitration Over .xxx Domain Rejection by ICANN

Latest brief filing again argues for establishing new TLD

ICM Registry Seeks Arbitration Over .xxx Domain Rejection by ICANN

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- ICM Registry is seeking arbitration over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' rejection of establishing ".xxx" as a Top Level Domain name. 

Speaking to AVN Online Tuesday before boarding a flight, ICM Chairman Stuart Lawley said the matter will soon be in the hands of arbitrators, and ICANN's decision last week during its Mexico City conference to put the launch of all new domain names on hold has nothing to do with the .xxx domain arguments.

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"Clearly, what we're doing here is challenging their rejection under the old round," Lawley told AVN Online. "The new round has no bearing on this case. This matter is distinctly separate."

Lawley expects a decision before the summer. "It could be as early as May," he said. "The arbitrators will convene and decide in due course."

To that effect, Lawley and his organization have compiled an extensive argument in a recent brief filed on January 19 of this year.  

"There are over 500 pages of information," Lawley said. "It's a compelling case, a breach of ICANN's bylaws and articles of association. They say that they will comply with international law, which includes non-discriminatory treatment."

Nonetheless, Lawley contends the .xxx domain has been singled out in the battle to establish the domain, which dates back to ICM's starting the application process in 2003. Once submitted in March 2004, ICANN decided in June 2005 that all submission criteria had been met, and entered into technical and commercial contract negotiations with ICM Registry.

Thing began to stall, however, and ICANN rejected the domain, despite claiming support from adult businesses and sponsorship from the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, which would oversee policy-making and benefit from the .xxx.com as a non-profit organization.

ICM also has stated IFFOR would be annually funded primarily by $10 from every .xxx domain registered, and its mission would include the elimination of child pornography, promoting public awareness of related tech, programs and organization and work to identify such content.

"The original problem stems from the religious conservatives in the Bush administration," Lawley said of all the delays and ultimately, rejection of the domain name. "But this now puts it in a different scope and the matter will be settled by international arbitrators, not subject to domestic political pressure."

While Lawley told AVN Online there's been a level of opposition to the domain by some members of the adult community, he pointed out those parties do not have to use the domain extension. 

"If they don't like it, don't register," he said. "It's still voluntary and this has also been a legal fight to keep it voluntary."

The January brief filed in Washington, D.C. is the latest in ICM's costly $5 million battle with ICANN, which includes a petition filed last June.

The latest filing charges that "ICANN is subject to international law, and is required to operate in conformity with the principles of objectivity, transparency, non-discrimination and accountability that are contained in its bylaws." The brief goes on to say ICM followed all ICANN Request for Proposals guidelines and the reasons for rejecting the application are "without merit," also adding applicants for other domains essentially received preferential treatment. The brief calls ICANN's decisions in the process "inconsistent," "resulting in substantial, unjustifiable and unreasonable harm to ICM."

ICM's filing asks that the independent review be administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution under its procedural rules as well as the supplementary procedures for ICANN's Independent Review Process. The panel is mandated to compare those actions of the ICANN Board contested by an affected party (ICM) to ICANN's Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and to declare whether the ICANN board has taken a decision, acted or failed to act consistently with those provisions.

The independent review panel will determine the location of proceedings; ICM has proposed the review be held in Washington, D.C. The panel may hold conferences or hear witnesses or inspect property or documents at any place it deems appropriate, the brief says.

AVN Online covered issues regarding ICANN and TLDs extensively this past December.

ICANN said it was unable to comment on the arbitration filing.

 






Related Content:

ICANN
ICM Registry
Stuart Lawley
Edward Duncan

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