Your Brand Name in Porn: .XXX and the New Internet Frontier Hides A Naked Truth (News)

Posted on January 7, 2012, in News, Pornography Laws

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PolicyMic
Deanna Gillen
December 2011

Jenna Jameson meet the Vatican?

Earlier this month, more than 100,000 websites went live using the .xxx domain name, a new internet designigation for legitimate porn sites worldwide. What was once only reserved for seedy magazines, gentleman’s clubs on the highway, and the naughty section in the rental store has made it big, and can now easily be found at an address bar near you. Now, you can type in virtually anything in front of a .xxx name and you’ll be taken to a porn site. Think “naked.xxx,” “porn.xxx” or, as Reuters had originally reported, even “Vatican.xxx.”

According to the International Corportation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the .xxx domain name was approved in March of last year in an effort to offer a “responsible alternative” for sites that provide adult content, since it clearly identifies the kind of site that users can expect to see when they click on a link. While the idea to keep content-sensitive material, like pornography, in its own hub is a good idea in theory, it makes access to this material even easier for the average user (even children). That, coupled with the fact that virtually anything can have .xxx domain name, could potentially be harmful to an individual or organization as broad as the Catholic Church.

The debate over this new domain has been vehement, but there has been heavy criticism on all sides (even within the porn industry). Anti-porn groups argue that this new domain will increase the availability of pornographic sites, while groups like Manwin and Digital Playground, two of the largest pornographic companies, are calling foul on the domain, saying the high price for the domains — 17 times the cost of an average domain — are anti-competitive. While there are some that applaud the new domain, the main consensus is that the .xxx frontier will do more harm than good.

As a spokesman for Manwin explained, “‘The fees for .xxx are unacceptably high and creating the domain name forces ‘defensive registrations,’ where copyright holders have to register an .xxx site ‘to keep cyber-squatters from exploiting those names.’”

An example of cyber-squatting was the recent Newtgingrich.com prank, in which the URL redirected users to one of a number of other pages highlighting the GOP presidential candidate’s follies, including an article citing “Gingrich ‘Inadvertently’ Names Porn Company ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ For Stimulating the Economy.” Likewise, early in the 1990s, school children were shocked when they searched “whitehouse.com,” and were greeted with none other than explicit content. And I don’t mean Bill Clinton.

The domain is even affecting state institutions like major universities. In an effort to squash the potential gains one pornographer could benefit from by scooping up a domain like PennStateGirls.xxx, Colorado.xxx, or the like, schools nationwide are in a frenzy to buy the domain at a premium before someone else gets there first. That is why schools like Kansas University are buying these addresses at $200 a pop, to make sure that these domains never come to fruition.

Which then brings us to the issue of the Vatican.

Earlier this week, news broke that the Vatican had lost its bid for the domain of Vatican.xxx, and that the domain had been reserved for pornographic content.

As Rev. Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Holy See, reported, “This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else.”

But as fate would have it, that was not actually the case. The ICM registry, the bureau responsible for the .xxx launch, had put the Vatican on the socially sensitive list, and had reserved the domain, but for no one in particular. ICANN had required ICM to work with a governmental advisory committee, to oversee a list of names on the reserve list – ranging from political leaders to singers.

While the ICM Registry developed the domain to provide a compromise between those who wish to access pornographic material and those who wish to block it, the list of possible domain names is infinite, and makes the censorship of harmful sites that much more difficult as the domain grows.

While the idea of an easily blockable domain is good, in theory, it does not hold up in the hyper-sensitive internet stream of this day and age. Let’s preserve the internet, and not corrupt it further with the dot xxx.

Find article here: http://www.policymic.com/articles/3054/your-brand-name-in-porn-xxx-and-the-new-internet-frontier-hides-a-naked-truth

 

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