ICANN Publishes Draft Agreement on .XXX With 30 Day Comment Period

dotXXX logoICANN has published a revised proposed registry agreement with ICM, the controversial applicant for the .XXX Sponsored Top Level Domain (.XXX sTLD) as well as documentation submitted by ICM Registry in connection with the expedited due diligence conducted at the direction of the Board are being posting today for public comment. There is a 30 day public comment period that closes on 24 August.

The .XXX sTLD has been kicking around since 2004 when ICM submitted an application in response to an ICANN Request for Proposals to create new sTLD registries. A first proposed registry agreement for .XXX was posted on 16 April 2006. In May 2006, the Board voted not to approve the agreement as proposed, and two revisions to the proposed registry agreement were posted for public comment in January and February of 2007.

On 30 March 2007, the Board rejected the proposed agreement. After ICM sought an independent review of the Board’s denial of ICM’s application for the .XXX sTLD, the Independent Review Panel issued a declaration. On 25 June 2010, the Board determined to accept and act in accordance with some of the Panel’s findings and directed ICANN staff to conduct expedited due diligence of ICM and to proceed into draft contract negotiations with ICM. On 5 August 2010, the Board directed staff, upon receipt of ICM’s application documentation, to post ICM’s supporting documents and proposed registry agreement for public comment for a period of no less than 30 days.

Some of the major changes between the 2007 versions and the current proposed versions are:

  • The agreement is revised to reflect changes to address DNSSEC handling and current technical specifications, as well as links to current ICANN processes
  • The agreement is revised to be consistent with most sTLD agreements in the renewal terms
  • The termination, assignment and subcontracting provisions have been revised and clarified
  • Modifications to further define the sTLD community and to provide the requirements of ICM in developing and implementing policy for the TLD through IFFOR, consistent with the ICM/IFFOR Sponsoring Organization Agreement and the sTLD charter.
  • It is almost certain that there will be comments submitted opposing .XXX from the adult industry that has long opposed the sTLD’s introduction.

One such organisation that has opposed the .XXX sTLD in the past is the Free Speech Coalition. They have previously said that the proposal is “not of the industry and that the proposal does not have the community’s support” in a letter to ICANN.

Another to oppose the .XXX sTLD has been Fiona Patten, CEO of the Eros Association, Australia’s national adult retail and entertainment association, who is also vehemently opposed to the .XXX proposal.

“I can see no positive outcome from the introduction of .xxx,” Patten told DomainPulse.com in April, 2010. She also said she believes nothing has changed since the ICANN meeting in Wellington in March 2006 where the Government Advisory Committee, where governments give advice to ICANN, opposed the approval of .XXX. This included the Australian government who Patten says has indicated they are still opposed to the introduction of .XXX.

Patten also says it is her “understanding of the TLD process [that] industry support is a fundamental requisite and ICM does not have that.”

“In the past the arguments for a TLD such as .XXX was that it would prevent child pornography and stop children from accessing adult material,” Patten wrote in a recent blog posting.

“It will do neither. There will still be plenty of adult material on the .com domain and frankly child pornographers are criminals and they will not be concerned about NOT using a .XXX domain.

“I agree we need new domain names due to the enormous of the WWW but why not a .KIDS or other names that could create on line walled playgrounds for children?”