.XXX and Sponsorship Community Support … BULLSHIT!
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director
ICM’s definition of the sponsorship community is:
The TLD Community will consist of the responsible global online adult-entertainment community (“Community”), generally defined as: individuals, business, entities, and organizations that: (i) have voluntarily determined that a system of self-identification would be beneficial, (ii) have voluntarily agreed to comply with all IFFOR Policies and Best Practices Guidelines, as published from time to time on the IFFOR web site.
The first part of this definition appeals to the “responsible online community,” thereby labeling adult .com businesses as “irresponsible” by default. Does the adult entertainment community really want to support an entity that perpetuates the idea that it is by definition irresponsible and thus in need of a new TLD to force us into responsibility? Uh—NO!
The definition goes on to describe "responsible" businesses and organizations as those that “have voluntarily determined that a system of self-identification would be beneficial.” But we know better. FSC has received numerous letters from companies representing thousands of .XXX pre-registrations. These companies voice outright opposition to the .XXX sTLD and state that they have pre-registered defensively in order to protect their brands and Internet traffic. In fact, by ICM’s own definition, these companies do not even qualify for a .XXX sTLD because they have not truly voluntarily agreed to anything and because they believe that ICM’s proposed .XXX sTLD would be detrimental.
ICM has included these pre-registered companies in its demonstration of support for its application. But, ICM President Stuart Lawley told the adult community at the XBIZ conference in February 2007 that pre-registrations would not be used as a show of support for .XXX. A video of his comments can be seen here.
Those who pre-registered for second-level domains names under .XXX did so in reliance upon Mr. Lawley’s representation that such pre-registration would not amount to a showing of support for ICM or for a .XXX sTLD.
To address this concern, FSC filed a Documentary Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP) request with ICANN for the list of .XXX sTLD pre-registrants who have been identified to ICANN. We have also requested ICM’s Proof of Sponsorship Community Support as submitted to ICANN.
This is the response FSC received from ICANN concerning those requests:
“ICANN asked ICM if it would remove the confidentiality designation from documentation sought in the Request, which would allow ICANN to publicly disclose information you are seeking. ICM has not responded to ICANN’s request and thus ICANN is not in a position to publicly disclose the materials previously identified as confidential that are sought in the Request and in ICANN’s possession.”
It was reported that ICANN refused the information request when, in truth, it was ICM that refused to reveal the information. This is because ICM knew full well that when it gathered and then used pre-reservations to support its claims of support, it was misleadingly using defensive registrations by reluctant content providers rather than demonstrating any genuine support for ICM, IFORR, or the .XXX sTLD. In our view, this was deception, pure and simple, and it leads us to suspect that ICM’s other "expression of support" data may be equally shoddy and/or deceptive. Indeed, any evidence of support that ICM has refused to subject—under any circumstances—to an informed critique, must be viewed with utmost suspicion.
To make matters worse…
With the expected roll-out of thousands of new gTLDs, it was originally thought that many of the new TLDs would reference sexual expression in some way. FSC would have had fewer problems with the application if .XXX were among a large group of sexually oriented gTLDs competing in the marketplace. However, with the likelihood that “controversial” TLDs will be limited in the gTLD process, it is now more likely not only that .XXX would stand alone as the sole “sponsored” TLD specifically devoted to sexually oriented expression, but also stand alone as the only TLD representing sexually oriented expression, creating a virtual monopoly for ICM.
When asked if he would take a position against blocking new sexually oriented gTLDs, ICM’s President Stuart Lawley smiled, and said, “I’m not willing to state my position at this point…but, I’m sure you can guess.”
ICM and Stuart Lawley claim to have the support of a broad base of the adult entertainment community. But the actual adult entertainment community knows betters. We know that claim is…BULLSHIT!
Part Three of this five-part series will be posted to AVN.com tomorrow.