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Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Sorry, ICM Registry — Manwin’s Just Not That Into You

03 Dec

Look, ICM Registry… Stuart… I know I’ve said some harsh things about you in the past… and I’ve meant them. Still do, actually, but I also feel compelled to give you some advice.

I know I am not currently richer than my wildest dreams of avarice (which are pretty wild) and I’ve neither conquered Tokyo nor saved the earth from flying saucers, but I’ve got some experience with sex, relationships, and the adult entertainment industry. My ability to articulate that experience in an entertaining yet informative manner is one of the reasons “they” pay me the Big Bucks.

Plus, whether you or I or anyone else likes it or not, you are now a member of the adult entertainment industry. Your character, such as it is, will forever bear the sweet perfume of pornography. As someone who’s been around many of the blocks you’re hoping to rent space to in your magical porn site resort/retirement center/whatever, I feel compelled to help the New Kid out at least a little bit.

As sad as I know we both must feel about it, I’m not likely to run into you in a pub anytime soon, thus being unable to hash things out with you over liquor or hops, and then drunkenly become BFFs. Because of this great tragedy, I’m going to offer you some relationship advice here on this website, which I know you’re at least passing aware exists.

Here it is:

You need to get over Manwin. Seriously. I don’t know what kind of hanky panky you two may have gotten into before, but it looks like you’re not going to be passing each other in the hall and nodding knowingly anytime soon. Not if you can avoid it. Not without witnesses and/or cameras. Manwin is just not that into you.

There are lots of us who don’t plan to invest in your Sherman Antitrust Act legal challenge in the making. Some of us own a lot of web properties and some of us only own a few. Some of us have gotten our virtual .XXX tubes tied in order to make sure there are no little us’s running around in your gated community. We have reputations to protect, after all. Some of us are hoping we can whistle past the .XXX graveyard without incident.

But Manwin? Yeah, Manwin doesn’t like you and doesn’t care who knows. If this were the ancient past, your name would be erased from the pyramids. If this were the Soviet Union, your image would disappear from photos. If this were a meat world relationship, you’d have been served with a restraining order.

Instead, it’s just business. You know how it is.

Actually, according to a press release the company distributed on Friday, it’s not business… or at least not doing business… with you or yours.

There’s a certain poetic beauty to this situation. On multiple levels. It’s like a karmic legal haiku. With boobs. But for the situation at hand, the poetic beauty lies with the fact that the tenants of the exclusive porn “resort” that ICM Registry promises to be, were likely hoping to do trade with the outside virtual world, if for no other reason than to generate some upsell traffic, especially early in the TLD launch process.

Tube sites, as the actual adult industry knows, can be a scourge and a blessing, depending on which side of the law they decide to operate on. When they wear white hats, they can be a gateway to new members for the production companies and individuals featured in their collection.

But .XXX is going to be a goldmine for everyone who buys land there. Who needs access to a network that has 60 million users passing through it daily? That’s going to be chickenfeed compared to the flying cars and robot slaves that members of the hyperspace exclusive “resort” community will find awaiting them.

After all, it’s about protecting children, right? That is why it’s a good thing for everyone that there won’t be any Manwin content on .XXX and there won’t be any .XXX content on Manwin’s sites. If it were otherwise, there would be just that much more porn on the internet and just that much more competition for precious resources.

It’s better this way. For everyone. For the children.

Besides, it’s going to happen a lot, so you might want to plan accordingly.

– Darklady

Manwin Permanently Bans All Business With .XXX TLD

LUXEMBOURG — In addition to the lawsuit filed on November 16, 2011, Manwin has determined to cease any and all internet liaisons with the .XXX Top Level Domain.

As of today, Manwin has banned all activities between its brands and internet sites registered with a .XXX TLD.

“We oppose the .XXX domain and all it stands for,” said Fabian Thylmann, managing partner of Manwin. “It is my opinion that .XXX domain is an anticompetitive business practice that works a disservice to all companies that do business on the internet.”

“The lawsuit was just the beginning,” added Thylmann. “Through this ban, we hope to make a strong statement against the .XXX domain.”

Manwin will no longer permit content from or advertising for .XXX websites on its Tube sites.

In addition, Manwin will not permit its content to be used or advertised on .XXX websites. This will prevent ICM or .XXX from exploiting the 60 million daily visitors to Manwin’s network sites.

By permanently blocking the .XXX domain, Manwin hopes to send a clear message that it does not support ICM or .XXX.

 
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Manwin & Digital Playground Officially Distrust ICM Registry

26 Nov

Thursday was Thanksgiving in the US and the adult entertainment industry has something ironic to be thankful for: ICM Registry is being sued in the hopes of its .XXX TLD effectively being declared an antitrust crime scene.

As those who have been following along may recall, ICM Registry is the company that forced the .XXX TDL on the world in a selfless effort to protect children from porn by making it easier to find, adult website subscribers from mythical mass malware infestations, and company CEO Stuart Lawley from a life of poverty, all by making him filthy rich off of the fear he can inspire in both adult and mainstream trademark holders and brand developers.

ICM Registry insists it’s not part of the adult industry and that is one of the few things I agree with it about. Given its utter disinterest in the actual needs of the businesses it wants to be internet overlord of, as well as its contempt for the industry in general, all I can see it as is a largely ungrateful parasite.

Given the online location, perhaps “malicious virus” would be a better analogy.

This is about money. There’s nothing wrong with it being about money, of course. We are, if nothing else, an especially Capitalist-lovin’ arm of the entertainment industry. But this isn’t just about our money; it’s about the money of anyone who feels threatened by the presence of .XXX and how it might affect their reputation and livelihood — and their ability to maintain them.

Mainstream film producers, retail businesses, schools, colleges, family-friendly theme parks, and other institutions and professional entities that have nothing to do with erotic entertainment, services, or products have expressed deep concern that, if they don’t purchase as many .XXX domains as they own identities that they want to protect, they may very well lose business, public trust, and the right to defend their trademarks.

Luxembourg-based Manwin and California-centric Digital Playground have decided that they’ve had enough.

ICM Registry launched its official Buy website recently and has cagily asserted that its sales are, “comfortably into the six figures in terms of domains,” while not naming any names. If it and ICANN find themselves in court, that may well change.

Manwin, which has its own colorful past, has stated what most everyone else in the industry has stated; that .XXX puts “an unnecessary cost on everybody, without benefit for the adult entertainment community.”

Remember, the whole point of a TLD is to benefit its target community; in this case, the individuals, businesses, and related properties within the adult entertainment community. According to ICM Registry, that’s at least $60 per website purchase worth of benefit, with a $100 – $200 per website registration fee worth of additional benefits… regardless of whether you own an adult business or just don’t want anyone using your trademarked name for one.

Unless, as the complaint claims, you are one of the more than 4,000 celebrities, dignitaries, and locations whose names need not fear being so besmirched, because they have been blocked from sale.

For free.

Whether they hold a trademark or not.

Everyone without a trademark – or with a trademark pending – must wait until December 6 for their first-come/first-served general availability chance to defensively register.

In addition to the money-suck, which — contrary to popular mainstream opinion — is not as painless to the industry’s members as repeatedly claimed, the last thing we need is a business trying to simultaneously marry and distance itself from porn, all while stirring up hate and discontent everywhere it goes.

What Manwin and Digital Playground are asking seems entirely reasonable to me; that ICANN place an injunction on .XXX domains until they become available competitively with “reasonable price constraints.”

In other words, don’t try to pick our pockets just because we work in the adult industry – and don’t try to use the fact that we work in the adult industry as a way to scare businesses and people who don’t.

Naturally, the insufferable Lawley has responded with the tact and delicacy that we’ve come to expect, once again schooling those he hopes to lighten of their cash by insisting that Manwin and Digital Playground, “show an apparent lack of understanding of the ICANN process and the rigorous battle we went through with ICANN over eight years in full public scrutiny to gain approval.”

Given that ICM Registry has kept the target TLD community largely in the dark concerning the companies and numbers associated with the new domain extension, grumbling about scrutiny and making claims about transparency seems misplaced.

If allegations of “… monopolistic conduct, price gouging, and anti-competitive and unfair practices…” against ICM Registry stick, the company may have more than a few real reasons to grumble.

In the meantime, Lawley continues to brag about the millions of registrations and dollars that he anticipates making each year – all while the struggling industry upon which he feeds gets accused of having bottomless cash resources.

For more specifics, read the complaint.

 
 

How Not to be Fleeced by ICM Registry

19 Oct

I keep reading press releases and articles about how fabulous it is for the adult entertainment industry that ICM Registry is making the kind of bank on domain sales that has not been seen since the initial .com virtual land rush. $500,000 for a .XXX domain? $200,000?

We’re not even talking about the huge investment that some businesses would need to make in order to secure all of their .com properties in the .XXX frontier… er… resort.

That money isn’t going into the pockets of anyone in the adult entertainment industry, as far as I’m concerned; its going into the pockets of Stuart Lawley, ICM Registry, and the few people they graciously hire and pay. Oh, and race cars.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t consider ICM Registry to be part of the industry. I see it as run by an opportunistic and stubborn man (both of which are traits that I can admire) who is doing what he’s doing not because he wants to clean up the internet, protect kids from porn, protect surfers from harmful .com smut cooties, or help elevate the reputation of sex workers or those who employ them. I believe Lawley is a clever Capitalist who has seen what he believes is a lucrative way to cash in on this internet sex thing.

And I have no problem with that. We all came from somewhere.

But one of the keys to long-term success in any venture, but certainly one in the world of professionally naked ambition, is to be able to work and play well with others. I don’t see that as being a trait that ICM Registry or its master possess.

For those of us who don’t buy the claim that ICM Registry is going to be some kind of protecting shepherd of our brands and reputations, I present both a hilarious (and yes, naughty) Seth MacFarlane cartoon and some serious advice from Diane Duke, director of the Free Speech Coalition, the trade association for the adult entertainment industry.

– Darklady

Sheering Time! — Seth MacFarlane

http://youtu.be/FoYiAERXv3s

Buyers Beware: FSC Guide to Purchasing .XXX

CANOGA PARK, CA – Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has released an “Adult Business Guide to .XXX,” in an effort to spread awareness of important information to any online business owners that may be considering purchase of .XXX domains.

FSC has opposed .XXX domains for nearly a decade. Recent discussions with online business owners indicate a need for clarification of the .XXX registration process. Confusion and mixed messages given by ICM Registry (ICM) and its registrars about pricing and the application process have created a difficult situation for adult online business owners. Buyers Beware! FSC created this guide to help you read the fine print and understand the scope of your purchase.

“It is important for adult businesses to be able to see through all of the smoke and mirrors provided by ICM and some of it registrars. Hopefully, this guide will help business owners get to the truth,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said.

This quick guide will:

1. Show registrars’ prices for:

• The first year for Sunrise AT – for trademark owners attempting to purchase their trademarked name.
• The first year Sunrise AD – for adult businesses wishing to purchase a .XXX domain name that it owns in another TLD.
• Sunrise B – for businesses adult and non-adult that wish to block their .XXX trademarked name.
• Landrush – 18 days starting on November 8, 2011; during this limited period, only those members of the adult “Sponsored Community” can apply for .XXX domain names.

2. Highlight ICM policies that businesses should read and understand prior to filling out any application.

3. Educate potential buyers about the contributing factors to likelihood of a rapid decline in the value of any .XXX domain name.

Adult online businesses should be aware that registration fees for .XXX addresses are NON-refundable. If an application is rejected, fees will not be returned and you will not be registered for a .XXX address.

Important points for adult business owners also include defining what ICM and its affiliated registrars may recognize as a “trademarked” name.

For example, if you have trademarked “SexyChicks.com,” under Sunrise AT and Sunrise B, you do not have preferred status for purchasing “SexyChicks.xxx.” You would only be able eligible to buy or block “SexyChickscom.xxx.”

Also, domain names that adult businesses thought they had rights to may have been reserved by ICM for auction to the highest bidder.

In a recent debate between Duke and ICM CEO Stuart Lawley, many details of .XXX registration for adult online businesses were discussed. While Lawley provided general answers to questions on policy by-laws and contractual clauses for .XXX, he was unable to clarify many points for Duke and those in attendance. An hour-long video of the debate (courtesy of XBIZ Magazine) is viewable at the FSC Blog.

At one point during the debate, the CEO of DomainMonster states that .XXX domains will cost $79 per year if purchased through his company, correcting Duke for misquoting DomainMonster’s price. What he failed to add is that the $79 price is available only under the “General Availability” period, for those willing to sign a 25-year contract.

FSC reminds all adult online business owners – buyers beware.

Copies of FSC’s “Adult Business Guide to .XXX” are downloadable in pdf format, at the FSC Blog, or by contacting FSC at (818) 348-9373.

###

The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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Everybody Just Stay .com!

21 Apr

Please return your tray tables and seat backs to their original position while the pilot attempts to land the plane without destroying the entire aeronautics industry in the process…

My Cybersocket newsletter arrived in my inbox today and this was the big story — which, in the adult entertainment biz, means it’s big news. After all, as photographic as a fully clothed Sid Grief and Jeffrey Douglas carrying protest signs may be, they’re not going to get the page hits that a fully naked pretty much anyone could rack up in the same mailing…

Even as the most obvious of the .XXX sites goes live (if benignly so), members of the allegedly target community are effectively refusing to let ICM Registry cum in their mouths. Potentially joining the U.S.-based Free Speech Coalition’s opposition to the sTLD is U.K.’s Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA) which, according to a press release, has decided to investigate objections about the domain “in its current form” before officially taking a stand for or against it.

It’s going to be an interesting spring on the internet…

– Darklady

Free Speech Coalition Urges Online Businesses to STAY .COM – Say NO to .XXX

by Cybersocket

Since 2007, FSC has spearheaded the opposition to the newly approved .XXX “sponsored Top Level Domain. We’ve voiced opposition to ICM Registry’s application for the domain from the beginning, and we protested .XXX at the ICANN 40 Conference in San Francisco in March.

FSC, the U.S. adult industry trade association, has been the voice to Internet regulatory agency ICANN and proponents of the online adult ghetto, to tell them that the adult online community DOES NOT SUPPORT a domain that will:

— cost them MILLIONS in unnecessary fees

— subject them to censorship on a global scale

— sets a negative precedent for fragmentation of the Internet

— and will make it EASIER FOR CHILDREN to find adult material online

It was a bad idea in 2007, and it’s a bad idea today. Bad for the industry, bad for the Internet, bad for underage users, bad for YOUR bottom line.

But it’s not too late. Despite ICANN’s approval of the domain (defying both the adult online community and their own governmental advisory committee) there is something YOU can do to make sure that the registrars and resellers don’t rob you of your brand or unnecessary expense. FSC urges online business to STAY .COM – SAY NO TO .XXX. For more information on the SAY NO TO .XXX campaign, contact FSC Executive Director Diane Duke at diane@freespeechcoalition.

***

Free Speech Coalition – We’re working hard to confront important challenges facing the industry – .XXX, anti-piracy efforts, workplace safety regulations, and 2257 record-keeping regulations. Our mission is to protect and promote the well-being of adult businesses and industry professionals. Please visit FreeSpeechCoalition.COM for more information. Also, follow us at @FSCArmy on Twitter and look for us under “Free Speech Coalition” on Facebook.

To read another recent article, visit:
Christian Post

 
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.XXX: Fear and Loathing at the Phoenix Forum

07 Apr

They (whoever “they” are) say that size counts… and this is a fairly long video, so find a comfy chair, pour yourself a refreshing beverage, perhaps pop some popcorn and find someone to rub your feet, because Colin Rowntree’s moderation of the .XXX focused Phoenix Forum panel is something you won’t want to miss.

Whatever your opinions are concerning .XXX, this is an opportunity to see what a panel of experts had to say on the subject — including a representative of ICM Registry.

After watching this video, ask yourself whether your concerns have been addressed and your questions answered.

If they have, then excellent!

If they haven’t, keep asking them, because the future of your company, let alone the internet itself, is in the balance.

– Darklady

Footage From 2011 Phoenix Forum “Dot-XXX – What Next” Seminar. from Seminar Footage on Vimeo.

Read a related article by visiting: The Domains

 

Sorry, .XXX, but Nobody Really Likes You

29 Mar

Poor .XXX.

Nobody seems to like it except for ICM Registry and Stuart Lawley.

The question now seems to be whether to just ignore the bully sTLD — or give in to its demands to pay protection money to defend what may or may not be established adult (or not) brands from poachers.

And exactly how much will that protection money be? I read numbers ranging from $60 to $75 per registration with absolutely no explanation as to why that’s a wise investment or how the money is going to be spent.

Mooning the Porn Stars

Steve DelBianco did a great job of discussing the rocky relationship between ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) and the Board of Directors, in his piece entitled “.XXX Exposes the Naked Truth for ICANN”.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the adult industry press to see what their reaction is to the .XXX debacle.

But before we start, let’s get something out of the way. Yes, the adult industry is the people who bring us distended boobies and bums. Shall we all get our giggles out now? Because, part of what motivated the .XXX proposal was a dismissive attitude of ‘they are just porn stars, sleaze merchants, so they probably won’t put much up of a fight over a bald-faced tax’. If one assumes the people working in the industry are as smart as the bimbos and studs portrayed on film, one would be sadly mistaken.

An adult industry organization, the Free Speech Coalition organized a lightly-attended protest at the ICANN meeting in a last-ditch effort to deter the .XXX initiative. I’m told that there were more smokers in front of the conference hotel than there were adult industry protesters, that may speak to the poor life-style choices of ICANN attendees more than it does to adult industry passion (feigned or otherwise) for the issue, I don’t know.

One thing was made eminently clear at this point, unlike .aero .museum or any of the other sTLDS that have attained complete and utter failure, the underlying industry did not support the proposal.

To read more, visit: CircleID

Two more interesting and related links to check out:
XXX Does Not Mark the Spot

Sorry, You Can’t Boycott a Top Level Domain Name

 

FSC Launches Anti-.XXX Campaign: .XXX, A Bad Investment — Just Say NO!

27 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 25, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

FSC Launches Anti-.XXX Campaign: .XXX, A Bad Investment — Just Say NO!

CANOGA PARK, Calif. — Free Speech Coalition (FSC) announced today that it is launching an anti – .XXX campaign and urges adult online businesses to not buy into the newly-approved .XXX sTLD.

“Collectively, adult businesses understand that .ICM’s .XXX is bad for the adult entertainment industry. FSC is launching this campaign thus continuing its effort to rid the industry of this hazard. We are encouraging adult businesses to Just Say ‘NO’ to .XXX,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said.

“But FSC acknowledges and respects that, when push comes to shove, businesses need to do what they think is best for their company,” Duke added. “That is why adult companies need to know the implications of purchasing .XXX domain names and why buying .XXX could be the worst investment they’ll ever make.”

To help explain the potential pitfalls of the new .XXX sTLD, FSC has developed a list of bullet points highlighting some of the most serious issues for adult online businesses, and why they should avoid .XXX altogether:

• .XXX costs at least 10 times what your .coms cost (recent numbers thrown out are $70-$75/per domain name).

• Just 5 days after .XXX passed, India blocked .XXX with the promise of more countries like Australia, Germany to follow — instantly de-valuing your costly .XXX domain names.

• sTLDs have a proven history of failure — even ones that are not blocked by entire countries and have their industry’s support ( .Travel anyone???).

• High traffic websites will be leery of linking to your site, fearful of themselves being blocked or having dead links in blocking countries.

• All registrants of .XXX must agree to third-party automated monitoring of their sites for compliance of IFFOR policies — AND you will have to purchase your domain name before you even know what those policies are.

• Aliases (.XXX and .com going to the same site) require that related .coms adhere to IFFOR policies.

• IFFOR Policies will be determined by a council hand-picked by a Board chaired by ICM’s CEO Stuart Lawley-NOT the industry .XXX is supposed to represent. Moreover, ICM Registry has ultimate veto power over policy development.

• Businesses who register with .XXX make their alias .coms an easier target for censorship and blocking — do you really want to put your .coms at risk?

• Do the math — it doesn’t add up. Even if ICM’s claims of new consumers who “trust” .XXX ring true, for a company like Kink.com, which as approximately 10,000 domain names, it would have to bring in three quarters of a million dollars in new revenues annually — JUST TO BREAK EVEN!

Regulatory organization ICANN approved ICM Registry’s application for the .XXX domain last Friday, despite protests from its own Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, and strong opposition from leading adult industry businesses.

FSC will continue to keep its members updated on this important issue. As the adult industry trade association, FSC will continue to support the better business interests of all adult businesses, and will lead the opposition to .XXX domains because we believe that buying into the .XXX online ghetto is harmful to the adult industry and for individual adult business. The .XXX domain will serve only to fragment the Internet, make adult online businesses an easy target for anti-adult filtering and censorship, and also make it easier for under-age users to access adult material online.

For more information on how you can participate in and support FSC’s opposition to .XXX, contact (818) 348-9373 or diane@freespeechcoalition.com.

###

The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 

With Friends Like ICM Registry, Who Needs Enemies?

23 Mar

With Friends Like ICM Registry, Who Needs Enemies?

What do you get for the man who has everything? If you’re ICANN, apparently you hand the .XXX sTLD over to ICM Registry no matter how many people oppose it or what damage it could do for the supposed sponsored community.

Already the headlines are flying — with misinformation spread by both those who oppose and support the new TLD.

“Critics say XXX domain only creates more porn,” hyperventilates Christian Today.

“Obscenity gets green light with ‘.xxx’ domain,” the Florida Baptist Witness declares, misrepresenting the domain’s contents in an attempt to instill moral outrage above and beyond the call of duty. In case that doesn’t get folks worked up enough, the writer stokes the fire by claiming that the internet “harbors a dark side that has ensnared countless men, boys and increasingly women and girls. That realm of darkness is now expanding.”

“No Kisses for ICANN’s Approval of .XXX Internet Domain Name,” the Family Research Council pouts… as though it would actually kiss anyone foolish enough to ask it out on a date. The FRC also insists that the domain extension will house “pornography and obscenity.”

Meanwhile, President Bill Clinton pops off about .XXX as though he has any idea what he’s talking about…

… and President Obama is attacked for not taking a stand on .XXX.

Most annoying to me, is the mindless media myth that this ruling is welcomed by the adult industry. One blogger even claims this is a “happy ending” for adult sites.

And through it all, the number of pre-registered sites is used as proof of that industry happiness.

While this is to be expected since the subject is sex, the adult entertainment industry doesn’t need even more heat focused on it by the relentlessly hot but dim forces desperate to sent its workforce into unemployment lines, if not prison cells.  It’s inevitable now, however — and any boost in harassment from government or religious agencies will deserve to be placed at the feet of Stuart Lawley and ICM Registry.

– Darklady

 

ICANN Approves .XXX sTLD — FSC Response

18 Mar

Now the fun really begins. Frantic registration to protect brands. Ridiculous amounts of money invested in virtual real estate that can easily be blocked by entire nations and located by even the dimmest of under-age intellects. Chest pounding about supposed “ethical” superiority. Wild claims of a virus and malware-free zone… and money donated to … what? A child protection agency? Why? Which one? WTF?

Are we supposed to feel special because ICANN has decided to ignore everyone’s opinion, including GAC’s and the very population this sTLD is supposed to serve, and, instead given in to a pushy rich guy who couldn’t care less about the industry he wants to become even more rich from?

Buckle up; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

– Darklady

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 18, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

ICANN Approves .XXX sTLD

SAN FRANCISCO – The ICANN Board voted today to proceed with ICM’s .XXX sTLD despite the advocacy of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and a wide range of adult industry leaders. This decision represents the first time the ICANN Board has disregarded advice from its Government Advisory Committee (GAC).

Ira Magaziner, one of the founders responsible for creating ICANN under the Clinton administration, Vint Cerf, the past Chair of the ICANN Board, Larry Strickling, the Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce and former US President Bill Clinton all spoke of the absolute necessity of the ICANN Board listening to its Government Advisory Committee, but apparently the advice fell on deaf ears.

“Of course we are disappointed but we are not surprised by the ICANN Board’s decision. As voiced in concerns by speakers at this very conference, the ICANN Board has dangerously undervalued the input from governments worldwide,” said FSC Executive Director Diane Duke. “Worse, they have disregarded overwhelming outpouring of opposition from the adult entertainment industry – the supposed sponsorship community – dismissing the interests of free speech on the Internet.”

While the industry must assume that second-level .XXX domain names will be sold, the battle is not over. Under ICANN’s bylaws there are review procedures available to affected parties including GAC itself.

“Until now we have been forced to work within the constraints of the ICANN process. FSC is now free to explore all options and we intend to do just that with input from, and in the interest of, our members,” FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas said. “We will help the industry fully understand the risks and ramifications of participating in .XXX .

Douglas went on to comment that, “As regrettable as the vote was, the involvement of FSC and industry leaders in this process has and will continue to provide a positive face of the adult entertainment community to leaders of the online community worldwide.”

In the coming days and weeks FSC will provide information about .XXX and alternatives for the adult entertainment industry.

###

The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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Big News Day — Webmasters Protest .XXX While Some Speculate that ICANN is Going Rogue

18 Mar

Today really kept me hopping with articles to add to the sidebar — and figuring out which one of these two headlines should go into the main page. I ultimately decided that both are important and deserve to share this update.

It’s an interesting progression of stories. The adult industry once again expresses its distrust and dissatisfaction with .XXX and ICM Registry (along with various governments and religious groups) while people speculate about whether ICANN is just going to do what it wants regardless of what anyone else thinks.

We live in interesting times.

– Darklady

25 Adult Webmasters Protest .XXX at ICANN Meeting

Adult site owners protest at ICANN meeting.

About 25 adult webmasters — and one homeless guy who’s been hanging out outside the ICANN meeting all week — joined together to protest the .XXX top level domain name this afternoon in San Francisco.

The protest was organized by Free Speech Coalition.

25 Adult-Webmasters Protest .XXX at ICANN meeting

To read more, visit: Domain Name Wire

Is ICANN Getting Ready To Approve .XXX Over The Objection Of The Government Advisory Counsel (GAC)?

The Government Advisory Council (GAC) gave its report on the .XXX extension to the ICANN board this morning and it sounds like the ICANN board is getting ready to approve the .XXX extension in a vote over the GAC’s objection on Friday Morning.

Here is the statement of the GAC and the board from this morning’s session.

Read through it and see what you think:

“The GAC has prepared a statement of advice, and iIcan read that to the room now, and read it into the record.”

“There is no active support of the GAC for the introduction of the .XXX top-level domain.”

To read more, visit: The Domains

 

Adult Industry Leaders Travel to San Francisco for March 17 Rally, Press Conference in Opposition to .XXX

15 Mar

I wish I could be in San Francisco for this, but since I can’t, I’ll wait anxiously to hear how the protest went and whether it finally got the message across to ICANN that the adult entertainment industry does not want this albatross.

– Darklady

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 14, 2011
Contact: Joanne Cachapero

Adult Industry Leaders Travel to San Francisco for March 17 Rally, Press Conference in Opposition to .XXX

FSC also has organized a Twitter campaign for those who cannot make the rally

CANOGA PARK, Calif.–Internet regulator ICANN is holding a conference (http://svsf40.icann.org/) March 14-18 at the Westin-St. Francis Hotel, in San Francisco’s Union Square. The proposed .XXX sTLD is scheduled to be discussed and an abbreviated public commentary period will be held 4-6 p.m. Thursday. Former President Clinton is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech during a gala event on Wednesday.

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and industry representatives also will be gathering in San Francisco on Thursday, when they will stage a protest rally and press conference in opposition to ICM Registry’s application to run a.XXX sTLD. Representatives will also attempt to address the ICANN Board during Thursday’s public comment period.

As the adult industry trade association, FSC has fought against .XXX for more than seven years, consistently arguing that, if approved, .XXX domains will cost adult website operators millions annually in unnecessary fees; will make adult websites easier to block by governments and other anti-adult entities; and could needlessly fragment the Internet.

Industry members are encouraged to participate in the protest rally, which will take place on the sidewalk outside the Westin-St. Francis Hotel from 12:30-2 p.m. on Thursday, March 17. Those who wish to participate in the rally should contact FSC at (818) 348-9373, or joanne @ freespeechcoalition.com. Instructions and directions will be provided.

Immediately following the rally, FSC will hold a press conference with industry leaders, including Evil Angel founder John Stagliano, Pink Visual President Allison Vivas, Kink.com founder Peter Acworth, industry attorney Paul Cambria, online publication YNOT President Connor Young, Wasteland.com founder Collin Rowntree, FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas and FSC Executive Director Diane Duke.

The press conference will take place at 2 p.m., at the Chancellor Hotel, located at 433 Powell St, one-half block from the Westin-St. Francis Hotel. Media interested in attending should contact joanne @ freespeechcoalition.com or call (818) 348-9373.

Though a majority of the adult industry’s largest companies have sent letters to ICANN expressing their opposition to the .XXX sTLD, efforts to quash the proposed “sponsored” Top Level Domain have not persuaded the ICANN Board to reject ICM’s proposal. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) that consults with ICANN also has expressed its disapproval of .XXX.

In a letter sent to ICANN, John Stagliano said:

“.XXX is supposed to be approved, accepted, or whatever, by the “community” of people already in the adult community. As the owner of Evil Angel, an adult producer and distributor, and a defender of our right to exist since 1983, I do not support this. I would support it only if there were different criteria for the creation of this entity, that would allow anyone to open a dot porn, or whatever that would compete with .XXX. The effect now is to create a monopoly for one company in this area. The adult community has invested in how it is structured now. It is unfair to us all to add an additional expense to our business without competition for the services that this new business, .xxx, would provide.”

Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas explained why it is so crucial for to attend the San Francisco ICANN meeting to express opposition to .XXX:

“Right now we feel that it is important for Pink Visual to raise its voice in this controversial matter at the ICANN conference, because we can’t imagine showing support for any for-profit entity whose business model and business practices are not yet defined, and which hasn’t demonstrated a proven ability to benefit our industry,” she said.

“We are unconvinced that a business model that charges roughly six times market price for the product is a fair and beneficial business model for the industry,” Vivas added. “On day-to-day business matters we don’t retain the services of vendors without having an understanding of what those vendors can actually do for our company; why would we throw in behind the establishment of a top-level domain about which we have the same question?”

FSC’s Duke described the years-long efforts to prevent .XXX from being approved:

“Over the past seven years, we have tried to communicate the adult industry’s opposition to .XXX at every opportunity, using every means and forum available. We have participated in public comment periods, letter writing, conversations with stakeholders, and testimony at ICANN’s public meetings,” Duke said, adding, “All three of the world’s only existing adult-trade-associations have issued statements in opposition to .XXX.

“Although we appreciate the GAC’s responsiveness to our concerns, it is clear that the ICANN board of directors has not heard us,” Duke continued. “We hope that Thursday’s rally will raise the volume, enabling ICANN to get the message, once and for all, that ICM’s .XXX application does not have the required support of the sponsored community.”

Industry members who would like to express their opposition but cannot attend the rally in San Francisco can participate in a “We Don’t Want .XXX” Twitter campaign that FSC will stage throughout Wednesday and Thursday, March 16-17. Please follow @FSCArmy.

For more information about .XXX, contact the FSC office with the information given, or visit the FSC Blog to read a five-part series entitled, “What’s Wrong with .XXX?”

Rally in opposition to .XXX sTLD
Who: Members of the adult entertainment industry
When: Thursday, March 17 from 2:30-2 p.m.
Where: Sidewalk outside the Westin-St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco

FSC Press Conference
Who: Adult entertainment industry leaders
When: Thurs., March 17 at 2 p.m.
Where: Chancellor Hotel, 433 Powell Street, San Francisco

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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What’s Wrong with .XXX? — Pt. 5 – It’s All Bullshit

09 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 8, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

What’s Wrong with .XXX? — Part Five
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director

.XXX, is ALL bullshit! It’s crunch time, let’s fight back!

You may have noticed a common theme throughout my articles about .XXX. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by the reaction I received in my use of the word “bullshit.” I know that it is out of character for me to be so, shall we say, blunt. But those who know me, know that I take professionalism very seriously; some might say to the point of being boring. Guilty as charged. But I had to get your attention. .XXX is a serious threat to the adult entertainment community, and it is now crunch time, folks.

The last four articles in this series were designed to explain the threat of .XXX. I pointed out that ICM is using “child protection” as a way to demonize our industry and convince ICANN that the adult entertainment industry needs someone like Stuart Lawley and his company, ICM, to force the industry to be “responsible”. I showed you how Stuart and ICM lied to the industry and to ICANN about support from the adult entertainment industry. I explained to you how ICM is using the threat of damaging your existing brand and traffic to force you to “voluntarily” purchase .XXX versions of your domain names. I have revealed the farce of an industry-guided regulatory board (IFFOR) that is supposedly separate from ICM, when in reality it is not only selected, but also chaired by none other than ICM’s CEO, Stuart Lawley, who would have veto power over every decision made by the IFFOR policy council and Board. I have also pointed out the fact that ICM promised ICANN that it would use IFFOR funds to protect the children and consumers from our “irresponsible” industry, while at the same time promising the adult entertainment community to invest those same funds to protect our industry.

There are a few other points that are imperative for you to understand concerning .XXX. If you auto-redirect your existing .com at your new .XXX domain, your .com domain will be required to follow the same regulations as .XXX. That means you have to let whatever entity that ICM has chosen to automatically scan and monitor your .XXX site for “illegal and offensive material” and to make sure you are compliant in the best practice regulations that IFFOR (or should I say ICM) imposes, to monitor your .com domain. Also, if .XXX passes, there are governments that will block .XXX. This will not only immediately de-value your .XXX domain, but will also pose a threat to your click-through .com domain. From a business perspective, purchasing .XXX domains is a bad investment and is potentially dangerous to your existing domains and traffic.

It is likely that ICANN will vote on .XXX at their March 18 Board meeting in San Francisco. We will have a strong presence there, but, I will be honest—the cards are stacked against us. ICM has invested over $12 million to push .XXX through the ICANN machine.

So what has $12 million bought ICM?

• Sponsorships for a number of conferences at which there were votes for .XXX.

• An independent Review Process that voted in favor of ICM on the issue of “sponsored” community (i.e. the adult entertainment community) even though no one from the adult entertainment community was questioned or interviewed in the process.

• An ICANN insider, Becky Burr, to represent ICM in all ICANN matters—did I mention that she was on ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency committee for a good portion of her time, representing ICM to ICANN?

• An ICANN Board Chair adamantly in favor of pushing .XXX through.

• An ICANN Board member, Sebastian Bachollet, hired to be on the IFFOR Board (can you say conflict of interest?)

• A shortened public comment period at the San Francisco conference—two hours rather than the usual five hours, in an attempt to silence the adult community’s public voice.

• ICM’s ability to conceal the information they submitted as proof of sponsorship support, knowing full well that the actual sponsorship community easily would refute the “proof” submitted.

• A vote by the Board to move forward with the process even though they knew and stated publicly during the board meeting that what they were voting on was a lie.

ICANN will be in a position to make a great deal of money if .XXX is approved. But there is a voice of reason in this catastrophic mess called ICANN. ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) has, on three occasions, noted the lack of support from the sponsorship community and also a number of other problems with .XXX; GAC has reached consensus opposition to .XXX. ICANN is required, by its bylaws, to take GAC advice into account. Moreover, the US government, the entity that authorizes ICANN to oversee the domain name system, has expressly cautioned ICANN about ignoring GAC advice, basically threatening to take away its authority if it continues to overstep its boundaries by ignoring the public policy concerns of world-wide governments.

Adult Industry Professionals must take action NOW!

On March 17, ICANN will convene a public forum, albeit much abbreviated. FSC is organizing key leaders in the adult community to speak at the conference during the public comment period. We know they will limit the number of speakers inside the conference, but we can have a pronounced voice outside the building. In a time when rallies are changing the world around us we are…

Calling all industry professionals to rally in San Francisco against .XXX!!!

When: Thursday, March 17, 2011. from 12:30 – 2:00 pm

Where: ICANN Conference, the Westin, San Francisco, Union Square, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco

What: Press conference and rally outside the Westin

Who: All industry professionals and supporters of the adult entertainment community.

If you can participate in the rally, contact Kim at Free Speech Coalition, at (818) 348-9373) or by email at joanne@freespeechcoalition.com. We will provide additional information.

It you cannot participate but still want to be heard, we will launch a tweet campaign-make sure you are signed up and able to tweet by March 16, follow FSC on twitter and we will launch our campaign so that the decision makers are fully aware of where we stand on the issues.

In the long run, if .XXX passes, FSC is considering the following possibilities:

1. Filing a dispute through ICANN’s IRP (Independent Review Process), although we are rightfully wary of all things ICANN

2. Filing a lawsuit, including an immediate injunction against ICANN—we have a team of attorneys considering best possible arguments

3. Organizing a boycott of .XXX – there are two ways to defeat .XXX. One, with a BANG, and the other, with a trickle. Clearly, we would prefer to have .XXX defeated, over and done with. However, passage of .XXX does not necessarily mean that it is viable or will be successful. ICM needs adult businesses to purchase .XXX domain names. ICM has reported over and over again that its business model relies on between 300,000 and 500,000 .XXX domain names. After over five years of actively marketing pre-registrations, ICM has just over 200,000 pre-reservations —and remember, that includes registries that have reserved a number of names in hopes of re-selling to the adult industry. It costs absolutely NOTHING to pre-reserve a domain name. Once money has to be paid, those numbers will decrease. Couple that with a boycott and .XXX could fail before the end of its first year. Remember, more of these domain names have failed than succeeded, and without the support of the industry it is purported to serve….XXX is history!

The time to act is now! Get involved! Let’s work together to send a clear message to ICANN and the world, once and for all, that we think .XXX is…BULLSHIT!

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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What’s Wrong with .XXX? Pt. 4 – IFFOR

04 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 4, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

What’s Wrong with .XXX — Part Four

Part four of a five-part series meant to help educate the adult industry about the dangers of .XXX sTLD
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director

IFFOR Separate from ICM and Representative of the Adult Industry?… Bullshit!

IFFOR as an entity independent from ICM Registry:

In his July 8, 2010 post on XBIZ.net, ICM Registry Chairman and CEO Stuart Lawley posted, “IFFOR will be tasked with setting policies for .XXX. Details can be found on www.iffor.org. This is an independent entity from ICM and will be funded through contract with ICM to the tune of $10 per registration per year”… There’s that $10 again.

Let’s explore how “independent” IFFOR is from ICM.

According to its bylaws, IFFOR’s Board of Directors will “have one or more members, the number thereof to be determined from time to time by resolution of the Board of Directors.” The Bylaws go on to state, “The Board of Directors will initially consist of the person named as director in the certificate of incorporation or elected by the incorporator of the corporation.” That person is Stuart Lawley. The bylaws also ensure that ICM will have a standing position on the board that cannot be removed by a vote of the other Board members. Moreover, the bylaws also state that the ICM representative is ex officio Chairman of the IFFOR Board.

To recap, according to IFFOR’s Bylaws:

• Initially, IFFOR will have one Board member, ICM’s Chairman and CEO, Stuart Lawley
• The remaining Board members will be selected by the initial Board of Directors, Stuart Lawley
• The ICM position on the board is the only position guaranteed on the board without term limits that cannot be removed under any circumstances by the Board.
• IFFOR’s Board Chair and ICM’s Board Chair are one in the same, Stuart Lawley who will preside over all IFFOR Board meetings

This doesn’t sound independent to us.

IFFOR Policy Council
According to the IFFOR bylaws, the Policy Council’s role is to:

(i)Foster communication between the responsible global online community (the “Sponsored Community”) and other internet stakeholders;
(ii) Protect Free Expression rights as defined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; and
(iii) Promote the development and adoption of responsible business practices designed to combat child pornography, facilitate user control and parental control regarding access to online entertainment, and protect the privacy, security, and consumer rights of consenting consumers of adult online adult goods and services (Policy Goals).

In addition, the “Council” will be responsible for developing a program, including selection criteria and procedures, by which a portion of IFFOR’s revenues will be distributed in furtherance of the policy goals (the “Grants Program”), and for selecting recipients of such funds.

To recap, according to IFFOR’s Bylaws:

• IFFOR’s policy goals address only the issues of child pornography, user and parental control of access and consumer protection
• The “Grants Program” funds only the furtherance of the “Policy Goals”
• Therefore the “Grants Funding” goes to fund only issues related to child pornography, user and parental control of access and consumer protection
• The “Grants Program” is funded by from a portion of the $10 per domain name tagged to fund IFFOR less IFFOR’s overhead.

In his July 8 2010 post on XBIZ.net, Stuart Lawley wrote:

With annual operating costs of approximately $500,000 per year, substantial monies will be available for IFFOR to donate, sponsor and fund whatever initiatives it feels appropriate. We envisage a range of initiatives being considered, including but not limited to: health and safety of Adult Industry workers, legal challenges facing the industry such as 2257, piracy, counterfeiting, onerous legislation etc, labeling initiatives, combating child abuse, parental awareness etc.

In other words, the health and safety of adult industry workers, legal challenges facing the industry such as 2257, piracy, counterfeiting, onerous legislation etc, labeling initiatives or any other support promised to the industry using funds from IFFOR, clearly would not be in support of IFFOR’s stated “Policy Goals,” and therefore would be in direct conflict with IFFOR’s Bylaws.

Policy Council Make-up
Numerous adult industry professionals have contacted me stating that they had been approached by ICM about a position on the council. We have been told that there will be 5 seats on a 9-seat council. The impression being given is that the adult community will have a majority and therefore a guiding force on the council. According to the IFFOR bylaws (http://iffor.org/docs/iffor-bylaws-26jul10-en.pdf), the make-up of the Policy Council consists of:

• One Free Expression Expert selected by the Free Expression Stakeholder Group
• One Child Safety Expert selected by the Child Advocacy Stakeholder Group
• One Privacy and Security Expert selected by the Privacy and Security Stakeholder Group
• Five Members from the Stakeholder Group, Three selected by the stakeholder group and two selected by the Board
• One person appointed by ICM

When asked which child safety, free expression, privacy and security groups ICM has approached, however, Lawley would not provide an answer. Moreover, for the first year the entire Policy Council will be selected by the IFFOR Board, with Lawley as Chairman. Moreover, the constituency groups Lawley has chosen will thereafter choose their representatives. AND… according to the bylaws, after the Policy Council decides on a policy, the IFFOR Board has veto power. AND… after the IFFOR Board considers the policy, ICM has veto power. Explain again please how the adult industry has ANY real influence whatsoever in this process? Let’s face it, ICM is pulling all the stings, and the rest are just figureheads.

When asked why ICM would not allow the adult stakeholder community to elect all five positions, Lawley replied that he did not want the “haters” to take over the Board. WTF? Stuart Lawley and ICM want the industry (and the world) to believe that IFFOR is separate from ICM and that the adult industry will have influence over IFFOR Policy.

But we’ve read the bylaws, and we know that’s just…Bullshit!

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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What’s Wrong with .XXX? Pt. 3 – Intellectual Property

04 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 3, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

What’s Wrong with .XXX?

Part three of a five-part series meant to help educate the adult industry about the dangers of .XXX sTLD
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director

Intellectual Property—Is .XXX good for your brand?… or Bullshit!

At the 2010 ICANN conference in Cartagena, Columbia—some six years after first advancing its .XXX sTLD proposal—ICM finally outlined its proposal on Intellectual Property for .XXX domains. The proposal was distributed at a meeting that FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas and I attended. ICM’s Stuart Lawley also was at that meeting, as was a representative of Valideus, Ltd., the entity chosen by ICM to implement what it calls its “sunrise” rights protection mechanism.

Under their plan, holders of trademarks for already existing second-level domain names are afforded certain priorities and other rights. According to the proposal, “The key innovation from ICM will be the opportunity extended to rights owners from outside the adult industry to reserve and therefore block names at the .XXX registry so that they cannot be used as conventional web addresses.”

Thus, some but by no means all trademark holders will be permitted to block all use of their second-level domain names within the .XXX TLD space. At the Cartagena meeting, the speaker, in answer to a specific question, said that adult entertainment producers would not be afforded the blocking rights formulated for “rights owners outside the adult industry.” Lawley did not contradict or amend that answer in any way. This limitation on innovative blocking right reveals ICM’s ultimate purpose, which is to coerce all members of the “adult industry” into paying for trademarked second-level domain names they already own and use, under threat of losing them to others who will put them to use in the .XXX space.

Following the Cartagena meeting, FSC brought extensive attention to bear on the fact that adult businesses, which do not support .XXX—and by definition are not the “sponsored” community—were being treated differently than their mainstream counterparts. After FSC publicly raised these issues, however, ICM communicated to FSC that the policy had been misstated in Cartagena. According to ICM’s website, the policy now says:

Sunrise B is for rights owners from outside the sponsored community. Names secured through Sunrise B will not result in the registration of a conventional, resolving domain name at the .xxx registry. Instead, these names will be reserved and blocked from live use. The applied for string will resolve to a standard plain page indicating only that the string is reserved from use through ICM’s rights protection program. It is important to note that members of the Adult Entertainment Industry who do not support .xxx or wish to ever register any names in .xxx will be able to use Sunrise B to apply to block their trademarks. Please note however that any names that have been blocked cannot be unblocked and converted into resolving names without being made generally available. Any entity, applying for blocks under Sunrise B as a non-member of the Sponsored Community cannot apply for names in Sunrise A, C, Landrush or General Availability.

Not so fast. What does this really mean to adult businesses?

If you are among the minority number of adult companies that have trademarked a specific brand, you can block it (at an estimated minimum cost of $125 per domain, and likely much more). But, you cannot block variations of the name. For example, if Barely Legal is trademarked, BarelyLegal.com can be “blocked from live use,” but BarelyLegalGirls.com cannot, unless Barely Legal Girls is specifically trademarked. Moreover, if you want to block BarelyLegal.com from live use and defensively register BarelyLegalGirls.com, you cannot do so. You’re screwed.

Also, if you want to block your trademarked domains from live use, and at some time in the future change your mind, sorry, you’re screwed again. Your domain will be tossed onto the open market. Sure, there are legal paths you could take, but at what expense to you and your business?

FSC is extremely concerned about how much it will cost established adult entertainment businesses to protect their trademarked brand names and internet traffic should the .XXX sTLD be approved. The adult industry has been hit hard by the worldwide recession, and many companies presently lack any excess capital to throw away, especially at $60 per, just to protect up to thousands of .XXX versions of their second-level domain names.

But wait! ICM is also trying to convince us that .XXX will, in fact, enhance your brand. In his post of July 8, 2010, Stuart Lawley stated that ICM, “WILL be embarking on a multi-million dollar media campaign” to promote the benefits of .XXX.

He went on to say, “We will also likely sponsor sporting events, conferences, etc., to make sure that the .XXX brand is fully known prior to the launch and that the general public is fully aware of what .XXX represents.” Sponsoring sporting events? Who is he kidding? The NFL is NOT going to allow .XXX anywhere near its teams. What about baseball…soccer? These events are for family viewing and I can promise you they will go nowhere near .XXX. But let’s not be too hard on Mr. Lawley. After all, he is not part of the adult industry and knows NOTHING about it!

ICM is trying to convince us that .XXX will enhance adult brands and traffic? But we know better. We say…Bullshit!

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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What’s Wrong with .XXX? Pt. 2 – Sponsorship Community Support

02 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 2, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

What’s Wrong with .XXX?
Part two of a five-part series meant to help educate the adult industry about the dangers of .XXX sTLD
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director

.XXX and Sponsorship Community Support….BULLSHIT!

ICM’s definition of the sponsorship community is:

The TLD Community will consist of the responsible global online adult-enter¬tain¬ment 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 deter¬mined 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 decep¬tion, 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 sexu¬ally 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!

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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What’s wrong with .XXX? Pt. 1 Child Protection

01 Mar

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
March 1, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

What’s wrong with .XXX?

Throughout this month, the ICANN Board will discuss some final issues with its Government Advisory Committee (GAC) before determining the next step in .XXX’s destiny. It is imperative that adult industry professionals understand the serious ramifications of this complex issue. In this five-part series, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke points out some of the atrocities in ICM’s proposed .XXX TLD and explains why owning a .XXX TLD may be far more dangerous and detrimental to your business than not.

.XXX and Child Protection…BULLSHIT!
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director

The adult entertainment industry is certainly no stranger to the use of “child protection” as a pretext to impose unnecessary regulations on it while engaging in direct attacks on the civil liberties of its members. But governments are not the only serial abusers of this hypocritical tactic. ICM also uses “child protection” as one of the fundamental reasons why a .XXX sTLD is needed. It even did so in its application when it made the vague promise to “support the development of tools and programs to protect vulnerable members of the community.”

ICM also promised ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) that it “will donate $10 per year per registration to fund IFFOR’s policy development activities and to provide financial support for the work of online safety organizations, child pornography hotlines, and to sponsor the development of tools and technology to promote child safety and fight child pornography.”

There’s a problem with ICM’s math, however. This is the same ten dollars per year per registration that ICM’s Stuart Lawley described — and continues to describe—quite differently to the adult entertainment community. As recently as July, 2010, for example, he posted the following statement to XBIZ.NET:

“IFFOR will be tasked with setting the policies for .XXX. Details can be found on www.iffor.org. This is an independent entity from ICM and will be funded through a contract with ICM to the tune of $10 per registration per year. We estimate now that we will launch with between 300,000-500,000 names so that would translate to $3-$5 million a year for IFFOR.

“With annual operating costs of approximately $500,000 per year, substantial monies will be available for IFFOR to donate, sponsor and fund whatever initiatives it feels appropriate. We envisage a range of initiatives being considered, including but not limited to: health and safety of Adult Industry workers, legal challenges facing the industry such as 2257, piracy, counterfeiting, onerous legislation etc, labeling initiatives, combating child abuse, parental awareness etc.”

But ICM’s use of “child protection” is even more cynically duplicitous than being fuzzy with how money will be spent. In telling GAC that it will use the $10 per year per registration for child protection, ICM has insinuated that the adult entertainment community needs ICM to save the Internet from the child predators that are the adult entertainment community. This is not only an insult to our industry, it also is a lie. The adult entertainment industry has always supported efforts to improve child Internet safety, especially greater parental involvement in filtering and supervising their children’s use of the Internet.

Ironically, though, several child advocate groups believe that a .XXX sTLD could do more harm than good. One such group is SafeKids.com, one of the oldest and most respected Internet safety websites. Its creator, Larry Magid, wrote, “As an Internet safety advocate, my concern about .XXX is that it could give parents a false sense of security. True, it would be very easy to configure browsers or filters to automatically block sites designated as .XXX, but since this is a voluntary program, there would be nothing to stop adult site operators from also using .com. It would be like setting up a red-light district in a community while also allowing adult entertainment establishments to operate in residential shopping centers.” He concluded, “I’m still not convinced that .XXX is in the best interest of child protection….”

The adult entertainment industry also knows full well that child pornographers and those who peddle adult material to minors would simply avoid .XXX and IFFOR, just as they now avoid the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and its members, and what currently is the legitimate adult entertainment industry. If ICM truly wants to help children, it would develop a .KIDS TLD, which it actually dropped it years ago in favor of the presumably more profitable scheme to leech off the adult entertainment industry.

Stuart Lawley promised ICANN that IFFOR will use $10 per registration for child protection. He promised the adult entertainment community that the very same money will be used to protect the industry. But it is NOT his money; it is your money, and it is a fraction of the amount ICM will try to suck out of you—all in the name of “child protection.”

Let me repeat. ICM and Stuart Lawley want to use your money to perpetuate the myth that child pornography is connected to the adult entertainment industry. But the industry already knows that the myth is not true. In fact, we know it’s…BULLSHIT!!!!

Part One of a five-part series meant to help educate the adult industry about the dangers of .XXX sTLD.

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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FSC Update from ICANN-GAC Meeting in Brussels

28 Feb

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
February 28, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

FSC Update from ICANN-GAC Meeting in Brussels

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Monday’s meeting between the ICANN Board of Directors and the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) primarily consisted of clarification of the items on which the GAC and the Board were at odds, as well as agreeing on the process to consider those items. The only issues addressed were around ICANN’s proposed introduction of gTLDs (generic top level domains). Amongst the items discussed were procedures for reviewing sensitive strings, market and economic impacts, and protection of rights-owners.

The GAC’s U.S. representative Suzanne Sene stressed GAC’s concern over the fragmentation of the Internet, which would result if governments begin to block top level domains.

“Government blocking of TLDs is a real concern,” acknowledged Free Speech Coalition (FSC) Executive Director Diane Duke. “My counterpart Fiona Patten, Executive Director of EROS in Australia, told me that Australia would almost certainly block .XXX.” Other countries that Duke said were likely to block TLDs included Germany, China, and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. government has indicated that it is likely to seek mandates on TLDs.

Duke stressed, “It is clear that a .XXX sTLD is not only bad for adult businesses, but also it is bad for the Internet as a whole.”

During a break, Duke managed to speak with ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom and Legal Counsel John Jeffrey. At that point, Duke was able to uncover information on when and where issues concerning .XXX will be formally considered.

“Beckstrom and Jeffrey told me that the Board/GAC consultation will take place on March 17, in San Francisco, at the ICANN conference and that the Board would address the results from that meeting the next day, at their Board meeting,” Duke said.

This week, FSC will publish a series of articles outlining issues surrounding the proposed .XXX sTLD, which will be published in industry trade publications, as well as on the FSC Blog.

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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FSC’s Duke Travels to Brussels for GAC/ICANN Conference

23 Feb

Hopefully Diane can help ICANN put this issue to rest and we can all get back to work actually making some money with the websites we’ve got instead of fretting about whether we’re going to have to shell out a painful amount of money so that some rich guy who probably doesn’t even watch porn can get richer at our expense.

Diane likes to travel, but I suspect she’d enjoy spending some time in country and in her own office. I know that’s where I’d prefer to find her — although sunbathing on a tropical island with a frosty fruit beverage in her hand has its appeal. Frankly, she deserves the whole tropical island to herself or to share with those nearest and dearest, as far as I’m concerned.

– Darklady

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
February 22, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

FSC’s Duke Travels to Brussels for GAC/ICANN Conference

CANOGA PARK, Calif. — Free Speech Coalition (FSC) Executive Director Diane Duke will travel next week to Brussels, Belgium, to attend the ICANN Board-GAC consultation. Duke will represent the best interests of adult online businesses that stand in opposition to the proposed .XXX sTLD.

According to ICANN, the meeting will address differences between the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) advice and the current implementation of the GNSO (Generic Names Supporting Organization) New gTLD Policy recommendations. The goal is then to arrive at resolutions between the ICANN Board and GAC, or – if resolution cannot be reached – to identify which issues remain unresolved.

The U.S. government, and several others, has recently expressed concern about the current “generic” Top Level Domain proposal and fear that it may cause widespread fragmentation of the Internet.

There has been no indication from ICANN when its board will address .XXX domains or render a decision regarding the .XXX sTLD. However, Duke will be present to lobby members of the GAC and ICANN, in advance of the ICANN’s next board meeting, to be held in March, in San Francisco.

“It is critical that the ICANN Board and GAC hear the concerns of the adult entertainment community regarding .XXX,” Duke said. “I will carry those concerns with me and make sure that they are fully expressed.”

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The Free Speech Coalition is the national trade organization to the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community.

 
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