ICANN Again Vetoes .XXX Adult Content Domain

Religious groups and even the adult content industry are divided on a separate domain for sex sites.



ICANN once again rejected a .xxx domain for adult content by a 9 to 5 board member vote that reflected the board's widely differing positions on the proposal. There was no general consensus on the plan that had religious groups and even the adult content industry divided.

The Friday vote, held in Portugal, was the third by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) on the measure and made no forward progress on resolving the issue.

"This decision was the result of very careful scrutiny and consideration of all the arguments," said Vint Cerf, ICANN chairman. "That consideration has led a majority of the board to believe that the proposal should be rejected."

The measure was favored by some in the adult content business -- but not all -- and by some family support organizations that felt a .xxx domain could help regulate the industry. Others complained that an adult domain could appear to be an endorsement of the business. Some ICANN directors worried that a separate domain for sex sites would require it to get involved in policing content.

ICM Registry which first proposed the domain seven years ago, railed against the decision and said it would likely file a lawsuit against ICANN, according to published reports.

Cerf, who is an executive at Google, said differences of opinion over the proposed domain appear to be growing in the adult content community. "My concern here is that over time, the two years that we've considered this, there has been a growing disagreement within the adult content community as to the advisability of this proposal."

Board member Rita Rodin summed up the feelings of some other board members when she said an .xxx domain could be an "enforcement headache" for ICANN. She added that the decision was a difficult one for the board.

"...This is not the result of some secret sort of behind-the-scenes government action or any other inadvertent pressure," she said. "But, indeed, it's a very robust and soul-searching debate among my fellow board members."

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