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Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Wasteland’s Rowntree to Receive FSC Leadership Award

08 Feb

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

February 7, 2011
Contact: Diane Duke

Wasteland’s Rowntree to Receive FSC Leadership Award

CANOGA PARK, Calif. – Free Speech Coalition (FSC) is proud to announce that Wastelend.com CEO Colin Rowntree will receive the FSC Leadership Award, to be presented at the XBIZ Awards on Wednesday night.

“Colin volunteered his time and efforts to oppose the proposed .XXX sponsored top level domains – an issue that FSC has been dealing with for nearly ten years,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “By dedicating himself to spreading the message on .XXX opposition, Colin not only went above and beyond to support FSC, but also to reach out to his colleagues and peers in the industry.

“Colin’s work exemplifies the kind of community-building that the adult industry needs in order to face the issues that challenge us today,” Duke added.

Rowntree produced and directed .XXX – The Movie, a public service announcement on behalf of .XXX opposition and featuring industry leaders including John Stagliano (Evil Angel CEO), Ron Cadwell (CCBill CEO), Peter Acworth (Kink CEO), Mitch Farber (Netbilling CEO), among others. The video’s script was written by FSC Board member Theresa “Darklady” Reed.
(Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi066qFMJcI ).

FSC’s Leadership Award is presented to the adult entertainment industry business or individual who demonstrates excellence in the adult entertainment industry in leading by example. This award can be given for community service, activism, creating a positive and outstanding work environment, innovations and other qualities that lift the business or individual above the rest.

The XBIZ Awards are to be held February 9, at the Palladium in Hollywood, CA.

###

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.

 

FSC Letter to ICANN Board and GAC – 01-28-11

29 Jan

Let me say it before anyone else even has a chance… yes, this letter is long.

Keep in mind, we are talking about the porn industry here. Lots of things are long. This one is long, strong, and bound to get some friction on — by which I naturally mean that it’s packed full of solid, rational, important information and observations. Let’s hope that ICANN and GAC agree.

Oh, in case I hadn’t mentioned it lately, yeah, Diane Duke is my hero.

Also, if you’re a member of the adult entertainment industry in any capacity and agree with what we’re doing, I really hope you join the FSC and make it easier for your voice to be heard… around the world.

– Darklady

ICANN Board
The Government Advisory Committee
Rod Beckstrom
John Jeffrey
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Re: ICM Registry’s Application for .XXX sTLD

Dear ICANN Board and GAC Members,

I am Diane Duke, the Executive Director for the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry’s trade association. I write on behalf of our members and the greater adult entertainment community in order to highlight our concerns about the extremely complex and difficult issues surrounding ICM Registry’s proposed .XXX sTLD. For present purposes, I place our concerns primarily in the context of those raised by the Government Advisory Committee, since the long process of .XXX consideration now moves to consultations between the Board and the GAC, as required by ICANN’s By-Laws.1

When it rejected ICM’s .XXX sTLD proposal in 2007, the ICANN Board articulated five reasons, virtually all of which related to concerns which had been expressed by the GAC and others.2 Each of these reasons remains at the heart of the controversy over the .XXX sTLD, both within the ICANN community and within the vast community of Internet users who will be directly affected by the proposal: potential members of the supposed “sponsored community.” These concerns thus remain critical to the upcoming consultations between the Board and the GAC, and they remain for final consideration by the Board.

In rejecting ICM’s application, the Board stated that the “ICM Application and the Revised Agreement … do not resolve the issues raised by the GAC Communiqués,” and that the “Board does not believe [the GAC’s] public policy concerns can be credibly resolved with the mechanisms proposed by the applicant.”3 Nothing—including the intervening Independent Review Panel Declaration (about which I have more to say below)—has changed any of the sound determinations which the Board reached in connection with ICM’s application three years ago. Indeed, as we see it, much of the intervening debate amply illustrates ICM’s willingness to say whatever it needs to say to whomever it needs to say it to promote its business purposes, regardless of the consistency or the plausibility of the promises which it offers the many parties who are concerned about a .XXX sTLD.

Child Protection

For instance, one concern expressed in the GAC’s 2006 Wellington Communiqué was over ICM’s vague promise to “Support the development of tools and programs to protect vulnerable members of the community.” 4 In response to the GAC’s concerns, ICM had stated that “ICM 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.”5 That may sound impressive, but it is simply not what ICM says elsewhere. This is, of course the same ten dollars per year per registration which ICM’s Stuart Lawley has described—and continues to describe—quite differently to the adult entertainment community. As recently as July, 2010, for example, Mr. Lawley posted the following statement on XBIZ.NET, an adult industry Internet bulletin board:

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 be -
tween 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.6

Not only does child protection sink considerably on ICM’s list of priorities when ICM addresses the adult entertainment community (and this observation alone may be quite telling), but it will have to compete with many other critical issues which are also quite likely to be considered very worthy of IFFOR’s resources and attention. In any event, all final decisions concerning the level of support for child protection would be left to IFFOR “as it feels appropriate.” But since ICM has been forced to assure the adult entertainment community that IFFOR will be “an independent entity from ICM,” ICM has never quite explained how it can make advanced promises to ICANN on behalf of IFFOR.

As ICM itself has explained its plans for .XXX, child protection concerns will, in fact, compete with many others for a portion of the resources generated by the .XXX sTLD but allocated by an agency for whom ICM is in no position to speak—assuming that its many promises of IFFOR independence are accurate. At the very least, ICM’s promise of “$10 per year per registration” for child protection is either misleading or craftily vague. The adult entertainment community fully supports child Internet safety and parental involvement in filtering and in supervising children’s use of the Internet. For its part, though, ICM is plainly being less than candid about the structure and operation of its proposed .XXX sTLD. Whether ICM is misleading ICANN, the adult industry, or both, its vague efforts to promise everyone everything cannot serve the sound development of the domain name space in the long run. Before anyone can rely upon ICM’s representations—concerning child protection or anything else—those representations should be reduced to unambiguous and enforceable contract terms.

Moreover, before leaving the topic of child safety, I note that many 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 enduring web sites for Internet safety. 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.”7 He concludes: “I’m still not convinced that .xxx is in the best interest of child protection….”8 ICM has never explained how a truly voluntary sTLD governed by an independent , private agency could ever accomplish child protection tasks. Child pornographers and those who would peddle adult materials to children would simply avoid .XXX and IFFOR just as they now avoid FSC and Internet sites operated by our members.

Intellectual Property

Another concern raised by the GAC in the Wellington Communiqué is that ICM must, “Act to ensure the protection of intellectual property and trademark rights, personal names, country names, names of historical, cultural and religious significance and names of geographic identifiers drawing on best practices in the development of registration and eligibility rules.”9 ICM has always promised that it would develop a mechanism to address this concern but has long remained vague about details. At Cartagena—some six years after first advancing its .XXX sTLD proposal—ICM finally outlined its proposal on this score. The proposal had been reduced to writing10 and was distributed at a meeting which I attended in Cartagena. ICM’s Stuart Lawley also attended that meeting, as did a representative of Valideus, Ltd., the entity proposed by ICM to assist in carrying out what it calls its “sunrise” rights protection mechanism. Under that plan, holders of trademarks reflected in second-level domain names under other TLDs are afforded certain priorities and other rights. “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.”11 Thus some, but by no means all, trademark holders are permitted to block all use of their second-level domain names within the .XXX TLD space. At the Cartagena meeting on the subject, the speaker12 stated in answer to a specific question that adult entertainment producers would not be afforded the blocking rights formulated for “rights owners outside the adult industry.” ICM’s Stuart Lawley did not contradict or amend that answer in any way. This limitation on the “innovati[ve]” blocking right reveals ICM’s ultimate purpose to coerce all members of the “adult industry” into paying for trademarked second-level domain names which they already own and use, on pain of losing those names to others who will use them in the .XXX space.

Whatever the larger implications of this concern for the roll-out of thousands or tens of thousands of new gTLDs, they are particularly problematic here. Whether or not ICM’s Cartagena plan fully addresses the concerns of the GAC on intellectual property and related scores, it reveals deep and perhaps intrinsic flaws in ICM’s proposal for a .XXX sTLD. Indeed, it provides yet another example of ICM’s willingness to play fast and loose with its definition of the sponsored community and to say whatever it needs to whomever it needs to obtain the contract it seeks with ICANN. As with so many issues surrounding ICM’s .XXX proposal, the more ICM seeks to satisfy one set of stakeholders, the more it aggravates the legitimate concerns of others.

In particular, ICM’s Cartagena sunrise document makes clear that ICM will draw a sharp distinction between “rights owners from outside the adult industry” and rights owners within it. In justifying this distinction, the Caratgena .XXX Sunrise document expressly states that “.xxx is a Sponsored Community domain for members of the adult entertainment industry…”13 Yet ICM never successfully made any showing of support with the “adult entertainment industry” as a whole. On the contrary, I am confident that the members of the ICANN Board and the GAC representatives recall and continue to recognize the outpouring of widespread opposition to ICM and its plans from that broad community. In any event, the IRP Declaration does not address any claim of such broad community support on ICM’s part.14 To the extent that ICM maintains the authority to treat all members of the adult industry—as opposed to a voluntary, self-selected subset of that community—differently than others, it must be required to make the requisite showing of support among that broader community. On the other hand, if ICM is content with its original formulation of the sponsored community as those adult industry members who have “determined that a system of self-identification would be beneficial and…have voluntarily agreed to comply with all IFFOR Policies and Best Practices Guidelines…,”15 then it must make its policy distinctions and operate .XXX accordingly. Doing so requires affording members of the adult industry who are not prepared to consent to IFFOR’s jurisdiction and other .XXX limitations as out side the sponsored community and thus entitled to the same blocking rights as “rights owners outside the adult industry.” Indeed the anti-discrimination guarantees established by ICANN’s By-Laws,16 local law, and the international law requirement of good faith—upon which ICM itself has relied17—would seem to require as much.

It would set the most egregious precedent and impose a most profound injustice if ICANN were to effectively authorize ICM to extract ongoing registration payments from unwilling producers of adult entertainment but not from others. Like others, adult industry professionals are concerned about how much it would cost them to protect their trademarked brand names and their established Internet traffic should the .XXX sTLD be approved. Like others, too, the adult industry has been hit hard by the worldwide recession, and many of these businesses presently lack the capital to invest in, for some, thousands of .XXX versions of their second-level domain names. I do not claim that the adult industry ‘invented’ the Internet. But it is quite fair to recall here that it did its part—perhaps more than its share—to popularize it. And it continues to account for a considerable portion of Internet traffic and payments to registrars. We are legitimate stakeholders just as everyone else, with a claim to fairness from ICANN and its delegates. No one from within the adult industry ever asked ICANN for any special rights; and the Free Speech Coalition and others have been keen to distance ourselves from ICM’s claims for such special rights for us. But I do feel every right to object to what would constitute a most unfair and discriminatory treatment of the adult industry—not always a popular group in this world—if ICANN were to authorize ICM’s use of the discriminatory Caratgena sunrise rights protection plan.

I am aware that, scarcely a week after Cartagena, ICM’s Stuart Lawley suggested to a reporter working within the adult industry that certain conditional blocking rights would be afforded to non-consenting adult industry members.18 Since that suggestion flatly contradicts the answer given to that question in Cartagena—an answer which Mr. Lawley heard but did not dispute—ICM has, at the very least, perpetuated serious confusion over a critical point, even at this very late date. This underscores the need, which we have previously stressed, for ICM to clearly and unambiguously detail its many promised policy resolutions and reduce them to binding contractual obligations before ICANN authorizes it to operate the .XXX sTLD. ICM has had years to do so, but it has failed to take any serious step toward articulating critical policies in enforceable detail. I suspect that this is because ICM well knows—just as we do—that serious devils lie in those details and that ICM’s promises to please everyone in the global porn wars will evaporate as soon as the relevant policies leave the realm of pleasant but meaningless generality.

Law Enforcement Compliance Issues and ICANN Oversight

These last considerations also implicate another concern previously articulated both by the Board and by the GAC. In rejecting ICM’s .XXX sTLD application in 2007, the ICANN Board quite properly recognized that the “ICM Application raises significant law enforcement compliance issues because of countries’ varying laws relating to content and practices”19 concerning sexually oriented expression. For its part, the GAC had observed that “with the revised proposed ICANN-ICM Registry agreement, [ICANN] could be moving towards assuming an ongoing management and oversight role regarding Internet content, which would be inconsistent with its technical mandate.”20 Indeed, the experience with that revised agreement demonstrated that more ICANN sought and obtained ICM assurances regarding one set of government concerns, the more it risked being drawn into the intractable conflicts over the dissemination of some of the most controversial content over the Internet.21 This is an inescapable feature of ICM’s proposal because a single .XXX sTLD will inevitably draw the world’s attention and focus controversy upon the regulation of a particular sponsored and restricted TLD. The Board agreed that “under the revised agreement there are credible scenarios that lead to circumstances in which ICANN would be forced to assume an ongoing management and oversight role regarding content on the internet, which is inconsistent with its technical mandate.”22

None of this is to say that ICANN, the GAC, or anyone else ever expected ICM itself to fully enforce the relevant laws worldwide. These considerations arose only because of ICM’s own undertakings (on behalf of IFORR) to regulate .XXX to promote those laws. In particular, ICM began by promising—at least very generally—to advance law enforcement and other public policy goals and to “contribute to making the Internet a more family-friendly environment.”23 After a presentation on November 29, 2005,24 ICM left the GAC with the understanding that it had promised to “Take appropriate measures to restrict access to illegal and offensive content…”;25 and ICM later asserted that it had reduced that promise to an enforceable contractual obligation.26 But coherent regulation of .XXX consistent with all of the laws worldwide (including, of course, freedom of speech guarantees) is simply not possible. This is the fundamental point already recognized by both the Board and the GAC. It is not, in fact, a point of disagreement between the two; and so far as the recognition of sharply differing protections and prohibitions of sexually oriented expression around the world goes, FSC has no trouble concurring as well.

No better or more timely illustration of the varying contours of national law on this subject can be found than an incident that was reported during the Cartagena conference. A man who had long ago emigrated from Iran to Canada and who, while living in Canada, had reportedly facilitated adult websites (which were perfectly legal there and in many other parts of the world) had been arrested by Iranian officials upon his return to Iran to visit his sick father. On December 4, 2010, while all of us were gathering in Cartagena, Columbia, he was sentenced to death in Iran for exercising his rights in Canada.27 When ICM promises to take “measures” to “restrict access to illegal…content,” it seems frighteningly oblivious to the fact that neither it nor IFORR can regulate .XXX consistently with both Iranian law and the free expression protections entrenched in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These problems, of course, become even worse as ICM and IFORR further undertake—as they apparently did during the November 29, 2005 presentation to the GAC—to regulate “offensive” content worldwide as well. Similar difficulties arise to the extent that ICM promises to, “Maintain accurate details of registrants and assist law enforcement agencies to identify and contact the owners of particular websites, if need be….”28 We cannot overemphasize the chill which would settle over the Internet if ICANN’s delegates—ICM and IFORR—were to offer up identification details about website developers, operators, or end users in, for example, Canada to law enforcement authorities in distant lands even when the websites are fully protected by constitutionally entrenched free expression guarantees in Canada.

The very fact that ICM has entertained such promises indicates its astonishing naiveté concerning the legal protections and restrictions—to say nothing of the raging controversies—relating to sexually oriented expression around the world. Its promises here, as elsewhere, to please both the regulators (and would-be regulators) and the producers of online adult entertainment are patently implausible. ICANN cannot accept them at face value without seriously risking being drawn into controversies which it can and should avoid. This is precisely why the Board has already recognized that ICM’s .XXX sTLD proposal would likely “obligat[e] ICANN to acquire a responsibility related to content and conduct.”29 But ICANN’s mission is narrowly focused and technical in nature. Should ICANN approve ICM’s application for a .XXX sTLD, ICANN would have dramatically exceeded its responsibility and jurisdiction by delegating regulatory authority and Internet content control to any entity—let alone one as controversial as IFFOR. Any shift of ICANN’s focus away from its technical responsibilities to content-based regulation not only compromises ICANN as an organization, but also threatens the security and stability of the Internet as a whole. Domains using .XXX would very likely be blocked by censorious regimes, a scenario that could eventually lead to cascading technical difficulties in the domain name space and ultimately to alternate domain name systems being set up, thus fragmenting the Internet. If ICANN ventures into highly controversial and politicized content-based subject matter, it not only will find itself woefully lacking in the resources it will need to address these issues, but also it will lose the independence and credibility that comes with serving a strictly technical and essentially non-political role.

Sponsored Community Support

The final reason why the ICANN Board and the GAC have opposed the establishment of a .XXX sTLD is that ICM never established sufficient support for its plan within an appropriate sponsored community. 30 After the Independent Review Panel issued its Declaration in ICM v. ICANN,31 this issue is undoubtedly more nuanced than it was when the Board freely and properly determined in 2007 that “ICM’s Application and the Revised Agreement fail to meet, among other things, the Sponsored Community criteria of the RFP specification.”32 I want to address some of those nuances in what follows.

The general conclusion that ICM never established sufficient sponsored community support could reflect one or more of several distinct considerations. For instance, one could conclude—on purely moral grounds—that the worldwide set of online adult entertainment providers is simply not an appropriate community with a legitimate claim to a string in the domain name system. For its part, the Free Speech Coalition has never taken this position. Our concerns about ICM’s current proposal have focused on the fact that .XXX would stand alone—at least for a time—as the sole TLD specifically devoted to sexually oriented expression and that it would be a sponsored TLD inviting, on both of these scores, the attention of those in this world who are opposed to the communication of sexual expression among consenting adults. Nor do we understand the ICANN Board to have taken a position intrinsically hostile to adult entertainment. We fully expect that, with the roll-out of thousands of new gTLDs, many will reference sexual expression in some way, and FSC would have few problems if .XXX were among a large group of sexually oriented gTLDs. More likely, the Board and the GAC focused upon a distinct and somewhat disturbing feature of the sponsored community identified by ICM: that it is self-defining and purely prospective. That is, the Board may well have anticipated that the sTLD round would produce proposals concerning preexisting communities which were defined by factors independent of their relation to the sTLD. Indeed those sorts of groups would avoid the self-fulfilling support claim which necessarily accompanies a self-identified community definition. Whatever the Board may have expected, it is unquestionably fair to say that a majority of the Independent Review Panel rejected these considerations. According to the IRP majority, ICANN should not reject ICM’s application for purely moral reasons or because it addresses a self-selecting community, however artificial that community may seem.33

But that conclusion—even if it were binding on the Board and the GAC—leaves many other matters to be considered, even with respect to sponsored community support. There remains, for instance, the simple truth of the facts on the ground. I am confident that the ICANN Board remains aware of the widespread fierce opposition to ICM’s .XXX sTLD proposal among the adult entertainment industry throughout the world, so I will not belabor that point here. Whether the IRP was made fully aware of the depth and breadth of that opposition is unclear. On the one hand, ICM argues that, by definition, all of this opposition remains irrelevant since ICM effectively defines all but its closest friends and supporters out of the relevant “sponsored community.” Even under these circumstances, I submit, there remains room for the ICANN Board to consider whether the self-designating and self-fulfilling community predicted by ICM will be of sufficient size and coherence to warrant an sTLD of its own in light of the ferocious opposition among potential members of that community. On the other hand, the IRP referred on several occasions to ICM’s reference to “pre-reservations” as part of its showing of sponsored community support.34 Indeed, prior to the Lisbon conference, ICM responded to the Board’s request for information by citing those pre-reservations as evidence for sponsored community support.35 But there is no indication at all that the IRP was aware that, in gathering those very pre-reservations, ICM had expressly promised the adult industry that they would not be used as any part of a showing of support for its proposal.36 The IRP thus could not have been aware of the fact that almost all of the pre-reservations amounted to defensive registrations by reluctant website operators who saw no other choice but to protect their second-level domain names through ICM’s make-shift process. It is difficult to dismiss ICM’s assurance to the adult entertainment community as anything but an outright lie and part of a most Machiavellian effort to manipulate ICANN processes. In any event, ICM gathered these pre-reservations without offering or even revealing the blocking rights which it now (at least for the moment) proposes to extend to the adult industry and to others.37 ICM knew full well that, in gathering the pre-reservations it was taking advantage of defensive registrations by reluctant content providers rather than demonstrating any genuine support—let alone enthusiasm—for ICM, IFORR, or a .XXX sTLD.

In our view, this is deception pure and simple. We suspect that ICM’s other support data is equally shoddy or deceptive. Even now, ICM resists our efforts—through ICANN’s Documentary Information Disclosure Policy processes—to assess its showing of support,38 no doubt because it is well aware that FSC is in a much better position than the IRP or, with respect, ICANN itself to critically assess that showing. Any support claim predicated or accepted—even in part—upon ICM’s pre-reservations must now be reassessed in light of how many of the pre-registrants would opt to stay entirely out of ICM’s sponsored community and exercise the blocking rights revealed by ICM only at this very late date. Similarly, any evidence of support which ICM has refused to subject—under any circumstance—to a knowledgeable critique must be viewed with the utmost suspicion. These considerations alone provide reason enough to depart from the IRP majority’s conclusions, even as they concern the issue of ICM’s showing of sponsored community support.

ICANN, the GAC, and the IRP

FSC appreciates the Board’s need to consult fully with the GAC pursuant to the ICANN Bylaws. We deeply appreciate, too, ICANN’s strong inclination to accept the results of its independent review process. But even if all of the IRP majority’s findings and conclusions concerning ICM’s showing of sponsored community support—the only substantive issue which the IRP reached definitively—are fully accepted, the Board’s other reasons—all of them shared to some extent by the GAC—remain in place; and they plainly suffice to support continued rejection of ICM’s .XXX sTLD application. Thus—at least apart from the question of sponsored community support—the ICANN Board does not face any conflict between the GAC and the Declaration entered by the IRP majority. Because the Board has never before faced even an apparent conflict of this kind, I close with some observations concerning ICANN’s processes and the IRP Declaration in ICM v. ICANN.

To begin with, it is important to recall that the IRP Declaration was not unanimous. One of the three jurists dissented in the belief that the ICANN Board should receive—as ICANN surely will in any lawsuit challenging its denial of ICM’s application—a review deferential to its right to make independent policy decisions.39 In fact, the only unanimous decision of the full three-jurist panel was that “the holdings of the Independent Review Panel are advisory in nature; they do not constitute a binding arbitral award.” 40 On the other hand, the ICANN Bylaws provide that “The advice of the Governmental Advisory Committee on public policy matters shall be duly taken into account, both in the formulation and adoption of policies. In the event that the ICANN Board determines to take an action that is not consistent with the Governmental Advisory Committee advice, it shall so inform the Committee and state the reasons why it decided not to follow that advice. The Governmental Advisory Committee and the ICANN Board will then try, in good faith and in a timely and efficient manner, to find a mutually acceptable solution.”41 As we have stressed from the outset, ICM’s .XXX sTLD application presents very substantial public policy issues. While FSC and the GAC (or some of its members) may disagree over the substantive policies involved, the GAC has also long stressed the presence of public policy issues.42 The Board, too, has recognized the dangerous policy grounds onto which the .XXX sTLD might pull ICANN.43 No one seriously doubts that these public policy provisions apply here.

In Cartagena, the Board and the GAC agreed to meet for a consultation about .XXX. Yet just one hour after the Board meeting had adjourned ICANN Board Chair Peter Dengate Thrush stated in an interview about the resolutions, “It looks as if we are about to depart from GAC advice.” 44 The Board Chair went on to state “provided we give the Government Advisory Committee reasons about why we are not taking their advice, we are free to move forward on the path the community has chosen.”45 Even apart from the question of what “community” the Board Chair was invoking, these comments hardly reflect the spirit called for by the requirement that “the ICANN Board will then try, in good faith and in a timely and efficient manner, to find a mutually acceptable solution.” We trust that the ICANN Board will do more than merely ‘go through the motions’ as it moves into consultations with the GAC. Moreover, these remarks are particularly startling since—comparing the Board’s 2007 rejection of ICM’s application with the GAC’s constant positions on the issues involved—there is no real dispute between the Board and the GAC!

Nor does the IRP Declaration—even if it were mandatory—require that the Board change the position which it deliberately and carefully adopted in 2007, in full agreement with the GAC’s positions then and now. Even if the IRP had the authority to order the ICANN Board to reverse its position and approve the ICM application, it would not have done so. This is because the IRP jurists were plainly wise and careful enough to realize (as others may not) that the panel majority had reached a determination (essentially reversing the ICANN Board) on only one of the five independent reasons which the Board had articulated for rejecting ICM’s application. That leaves four reasons standing! Even the panel majority recognized this and undertook to state its position on the remaining reasons. But when it did so, in paragraph 151, it did not reach factual findings or legal conclusions.46 It did not determine—in contrast to its ruling concerning the showing of sponsored community support– that the Board had acted contrary to the rules which bind it.47 Rather, it noted that the Board would have violated those rules to the extent that it imposed upon ICM the burden of actually enforcing the laws worldwide respecting sexually oriented expression.48 But as I noted above,49 no one has done that. The Board and the GAC—and, for that matter FSC—have considered only the promises which ICM itself advanced. When ICM complained to the IRP that it was placed in an impossible bind by conflicting laws throughout the world50—a bind not imposed upon users of sexually oriented second-level domain names—it had only itself to blame for the promises it had made.

I believe that the IRP jurists wisely recognized this and left room for the possibility—indeed the likelihood—that the Board’s law enforcement and public policy concerns were, at bottom, a profound recognition of what FSC has been saying all along: ICM’s promises to please all sides in the global porn wars are too good to be true. When things fail to go as smoothly as ICM predicts—a “credible scenario” if ever there was one—ICANN could be drawn into endless and intractable controversies which are no part of its proper function. The Government of Canada has wisely warned against this eventual ity;51 and both the GAC52 and this Board53 have previously resolved to avoid it. For its part, ICM obviously concludes that it is worth the risk, because, whatever happens, it can make a lot of money. But the GAC speaks for other interests, as does FSC. The ICANN Board must recognize these latter interests, too, and serve still others as well.

The IRP Declaration is entitled to profound respect. But it is also more deliberately nuanced than many have realized. It is not a sign of due respect to ignore those subtleties. It is surely not a consequence of that respect to claim that the Declaration compels a conclusion (approval of ICM’s application) which every one of the seasoned panel jurists plainly and deliberately stopped short of directing—or even recommending. These jurists plainly know how to direct a result when appropriate. But even the panel majority—for both procedural and substantive reasons, as I have indicated—decided to do otherwise. It carefully left the ICANN Board free to continue to reject ICM’s .XXX sTLD application so long as it does not do so because of ICM’s showing, or lack thereof, of sponsored community support or because it expects ICM to engage in law enforcement efforts not expected of other parties similarly situated. This leaves plenty of public policy reasons—long advanced both by the GAC and FSC, and many of which I have reiterated here—why ICM’s .XXX sTLD is a bad, indeed a dangerous idea. After consulting with the GAC, the ICANN Board should continue to say no to ICM and the dangers posed by its reckless proposal. FSC again urges ICANN to reject ICM’s application once and for all.

Sincerely,

Diane Duke
Executive Director

 
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Posted in Activism

 

FSC Presents .XXX Seminar at Internext

09 Jan

Breaks my heart I can’t be in Las Vegas this year for AEE or Internext, but hopefully those who can attend, will make the time for this seminar.

– Darklady

FSC Presents .XXX Seminar at Internext

LAS VEGAS — Free Speech Coalition (FSC) will present a panel called “So, What’s Up with .XXX?” Attendees will participate in a discussion of the latest developments with the proposed .XXX sTLD.

Panelists include FSC Executive Director Diane Duke, who attended the last ICANN Board of Directors Meeting in Cartagena, Columbia, to oppose .XXX.

Also on the panel, attorneys Al Gelbard, Reed Lee, and Greg Piccionelli, as well as Matt Zimmerman of the Electronic Frontiers Foundation. AVN’s Tom Hymes will moderate the panel.

The seminar will be held on Sunday, Jan 9, from noon-1:00pm, at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.

For more information about this meeting, or the issues surrounding .XXX, please contact 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.

 
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FSC Letter to ICANN – 12-01-10

02 Dec

I’ve mentioned that Diane Duke is my hero, right?

Just wanted to make sure.

– Darklady

December 1, 2010
ICANN Board
Rod Beckstrom
John Jeffrey
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Dear ICANN Board Members, Mr. Beckstrom and Mr. Jeffrey,
I write this letter on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the trade association for the adult entertainment industry. FSC remains deeply concerned about the application by ICM Registry (ICM) for a .XXX sTLD.

ICANN’s mission is narrowly focused and technical in nature. Should ICANN approve the ICM Registry application for .XXX, ICANN would have dramatically exceeded its responsibility and jurisdiction by assigning regulatory authority and content control to any entity, especially one as controversial as IFFOR, the proposed overseer of ICM’s sTLD. Any shift of ICANN’s focus away from its technical responsibilities to content-based regulation not only compromises ICANN as an organization, but also threatens the security and stability of the Internet as a whole. Domains using .XXX may end up being blocked by censorious regimes, a scenario that could eventually lead to alternate domain name systems being set up, thus fragmenting the Internet. Internet governance, oversight and enforcement properly lie in the hands of national governments and multinational organizations. If ICANN ventures into highly controversial and politicized content-based subject matter, it not only will find itself woefully lacking in the resources it will need to address these issues, but also it will lose the independence and credibility that comes with being a strictly technical, non-political organization.

In her letter of November 22, 2010, Interim GAC Chair Heather Dryden restates the concerns addressed in the GAC’s August 4, 2010 correspondence, “The GAC believes it is imperative that the impact on the continued security, stability and universal resolvability of the domain name system of the potential blocking at the national level of new gTLD strings that are considered to be either objectionable or that raise national sensitivities be assessed prior to introducing new gTLDs.”

ICANN’s Chairman of the Board, Peter Dengate-Thrush responded to the concern raised in Ms Dryden’s letter, “I do not consider this to be a stability issue per se but rather a policy issue where ICANN is implementing the consensus position developed by the GNSO.” Frankly, I am a little surprised with how quickly ICANN’s Chairman dismissed the GAC’s stated and restated concerns about DNS stability. This dismissal comes on the heels of an announcement that an alternative group is forming to develop a peer-to-peer-based alternative to today’s ICANN-controlled DNS system.

Even if the Sunde proposal does not seem to represent an immediate or even realistic alternative to the ICANN-controlled DNS system, it is reasonable to assume that this proposal represents potential future battlegrounds. Controlling a competing DNS system offers compelling economic benefits. Why accelerate that process by creating such divisiveness?

As this relates to ICM’s application, there exists little doubt that a TLD dedicated solely to adult entertainment will be blocked by some countries while others will attempt to mandate its use for all adult companies. Why would ICANN want to start this destructive process in motion by delivering to countries that would feel compelled to block controversial content, a TLD ripe for censorship? While ICM’s proposed TLD may not cause the fragmentation of the internet, .XXX could contribute significantly to the aforementioned instability. It would be a sizeable error on ICANN’s part to underestimate the considerable amount of online real estate held by the adult entertainment industry as well as the adult industry’s stark opposition to ICM’s .XXX, making an alternative DNS system based on eliminating censorship an attractive alternative.

If ICANN signs a contract with ICM for .XXX, it will set bad precedence on numerous fronts. For example, ICM has established that $10 of the $60 registration fee will go to some entity to protect children. Imposing a “tax” on the adult industry sets a bad precedence for future TLD’s. As the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) aptly stated in their comments to ICANN of January 5, 2007:

Registrant fees should be properly restricted solely to supporting the registry operator’s costs of maintaining a secure and accurate database. If .XXX registrants intending to engage in legal activities can be required to fund hotlines, technology developments, and educational efforts directed against illegal activities they neither promote nor engage in, what logical argument can there be against requiring the same of all other registrants who provide adult content at other TLDs? Similarly, if the good cause of child online safety can be used to extract mandatory financial support, what other promoters of good causes will petition ICANN to mandate similar involuntary contributions to their efforts in future TLD agreements? Will the websites of corporations that manufacture tobacco products as well as websites that feature ads for those products be required to support anti-smoking and cancer research organizations? How about automakers and auto ads and global warming? Fast food restaurant chains and good nutrition and anti-obesity campaigns? Video games and youth violence? The meat and fur industries and animal rights? The list of potential supplicants is as long as the organizations which pursue “good causes”. Once ICANN establishes the precedent that registrant fees can include mandatory contributions to organizations who have claimed, however tenuously, that the registrant bears some responsibility for the ill it seeks to cure it will have opened the floodgates to being looked to as a funding source for them.

Indeed the very act of requiring businesses to support financially an advocacy group is an improper violation of free speech and free association rights. What if IFFOR designates monetary support for a group which some holders of .XXX domains oppose? This mandatory support provision is emblematic of the fundamental insensitivity to free expression issues which the ICM Registry proposal represents.

With ICANN’s drive for new gTLDs underway, has it been fully considered what will happen when a new adult gTLD is proposed? Does ICANN really believe that the litigious ICM will sit idly by while a .SEX or .PORN gTLD is introduced? Is ICANN so naive to believe that the purveyor of the “sponsored” TLD, who spent in excess of $10 million to bully its way through ICANN’s processes, will stop its threats of litigation with a mere approval of the sTLD? What about those in the adult community who wish to apply for a gTLD? With ICANN’s policy development in regards to “Morality and Public Order” will gTLDs be held to a higher standard than the sTLD? Does ICANN believe that it is not liable for this inequity? Any company prepared to invest the substantial moneys necessary to manage a gTLD will surely take ICANN to court to demand equitable standards for their TLD application. Imagine the devastation to the organization, after literally years of effort from ICANN and its volunteers developing new gTLD standards, to have ICANN’s introduction of gTLDs come to a screeching halt because of a legal challenge as a result of .XXX.

The GAC expressed well-founded concerns about ICM’s vague promises, as demonstrated in its Wellington Communiqué, which questions ICM’s ability to deliver on its promises relating to the following public policy issues:

1. Take appropriate measures to restrict access to illegal and offensive content;

How will ICM be able to determine what is legal and offensive when those definitions change from nation to nation? It is inappropriate for ICM to act in this role. Those activities are better left to individual governments.

2. Support the development of tools and programs to protect vulnerable members of the community;

ICM has established that $10 of the $60 registration fee will go to some unknown and undefined entity to “protect children.” Imposing a “tax” on the adult industry sets a bad precedence for future TLD’s. Registrant fees should be properly restricted solely to supporting the registry operator’s costs of maintaining a secure and accurate database.

3. Maintain accurate details of registrants and assist law enforcement agencies to identify and contact the owners of particular websites, if need be; and…

The .XXX sTLD is and will always be deliberately and inextricably intertwined with sexually oriented expression on the Internet. As such, it will be an inevitable and on-going focus of those who would criminalize such expression on the Internet and elsewhere. The day when no substantial or powerful voice will be raised in opposition to such content on the Internet (even apart from the question of children and unwilling adults) is simply not in sight. We know this from our long and deep involvement in the public debate. Some countries would make .XXX mandatory for adult businesses, effectively putting a target on the backs of many legal businesses making them vulnerable to overzealous governments and authorities. Influential members of the United States Congress have already committed themselves to that position. Moreover, if the Board moves forward with .XXX, FSC, in its role as trade association for the adult industry, will monitor policies created and implemented by IFFOR and continue to challenge decisions that are not in the best interest of our members.

4. Act to ensure the protection of intellectual property and trademark rights, personal names, country names, names of historical, cultural and religious significance and names of geographic identifiers drawing on best practices in the development of registration and eligibility rules.

This point is ironic, in that the number one complaint from industry professionals about .XXX is how much it would cost them to protect their brand and traffic should the .XXX sTLD be approved. Our industry has been hit hard by the recession and many of these businesses do not have the capital to invest in, for some, thousands of .XXX versions of their domains. For most adult businesses, the passage of .XXX would pose a serious threat to their brand and trademark.

During its meeting in Brussels ICANN Board Members were visibly shaken by the resolution to move forward with considering the application. Harald Alvestrand voiced his concern:

To say that I am uncomfortable with this situation is an understatement. I believe that our process has been followed; our reconsideration process has been followed. We have received competent legal advice on what is the reasonable path forward for what the organization should do, and that effectively this forces me to say that it is in the best interest of the organization and the interest of the furtherance of the organization’s goals to act as if something is true that I believe is not, in fact, so. This is a very uncomfortable situation, but I can see no better way to move forward.

As ICANN board members spoke of their decision, they mentioned that their decision was good for the organization. True, ICM Registry promises millions of dollars of income for ICANN, assuming that income is not consumed by the inevitable litigation which ICANN will find itself a party to if the proposal is adopted. By focusing narrowly on the economic benefits for ICANN, the organization itself, the Board has lost sight of its overall mission “to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.”

Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s own CEO, stated in his last comment on the subject in the Brussels Board meeting, “In my view as CEO, the board must be able to use business judgment in order to protect the global public interest in the coordination of the root of the Internet and the domain name system.”

In other words, how tragic is it that ICANN’s Board is so bogged down by its commitment to process, that it loses its ability to apply truth, common sense and the best interests of the internet community.

Do not get mired in a process which forces you to side with two of three jurists and one opportunistically aggressive and litigious company. FSC urges the ICANN Board to use common sense; use business judgment; listen to your CEO; listen to the “sponsorship” community; listen to the 150 countries represented by the GAC; pay attention to the threat of instability that will come from a fragmented internet and reject ICM’s application once and for all.

Sincerely,

Diane Duke
Executive Director

 
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Porn industry “ready for war” with .xxx

02 Dec

I suppose if there’s anything good to come out of this mess it may be GAC figuring out what exactly it does and does not do. It’s annoying to be caught in the learning opportunity, however.

– Darklady

The Free Speech Coalition and ICM Registry are poised to do battle over the .xxx top-level domain at next week’s ICANN meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.

The FSC, which has opposed the porn-only domain for years, is trying to rally its troops with a flyer declaring it’s “Ready For War”, illustrated with a photograph apparently of Cartagena’s battlements.

(Apropos, really, given the city’s history fighting off the British and ICM’s habit of recruiting Brits for key positions.)

The FSC said on its blog:

the majority of adult Internet business owners and webmasters do not support being categorized in an Internet ghetto that will cost them millions in extra fees annually and also make it easier for anti-adult entities to censor and block their sites.

To read more, visit: Domain Incite

 
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FSC Letter to Government Advisory Committee (GAC)

12 Nov

Diane Duke is one of my heroes. :-)

– Darklady

Heather Dryden
GAC Members
c/o John Jeffrey
ICANN
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601

Dear Ms. Dryden and the Distinguished Members of Government Advisory Committee (GAC),
I am writing the GAC on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and its members. The Free Speech Coalition is the trade association for the adult entertainment industry. I understand that ICANN is seeking consultation from GAC concerning ICM’s proposed .XXX sTLD. FSC has a number of concerns with the proposed sponsored top level domain.

Addressing the .XXX sTLD from an organizational and global internet standpoint, Article One of ICANN’s Bylaws clarifies that ICANN’s mission is to:

1. Coordinate the allocation and assignment of the three sets of unique identifiers for the Internet, which are:

a. Domain names (forming a system referred to as “DNS”);
b. Internet protocol (“IP”) addresses and autonomous system (“AS”) numbers; and
c. Protocol port and parameter numbers.
2. Coordinate the operation and evolution of the DNS root name server system.
3. Coordinate policy development reasonably and appropriately related to these technical functions.

ICANN’s mission is narrowly focused and technical in nature. ICANN has dramatically exceeded its responsibility and jurisdiction by assigning regulatory authority and content control to any entity, especially one as controversial as IFFOR, the proposed overseer of ICM’s sTLD. Any shift of ICANN’s focus away from its technical responsibilities to content- based regulation not only compromises ICANN as an organization, but also threatens the security and stability of the Internet as a whole. Domains using .XXX may end up being blocked by censorious regimes, a scenario that could eventually lead to alternate domain name systems being set up, thus fragmenting the Internet. Internet governance, oversight and enforcement properly lie in the hands of national governments and multinational organizations. If ICANN ventures into highly controversial and politicized content- based subject matter, it not only will find itself woefully lacking in the resources it will need to address these issues, but it also will lose the independence and credibility that comes with being a strictly technical, non-political organization.

Article 1 Section 1 of ICANN’s Bylaws state “The mission of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.” ICANN does not itself have governance, oversight and enforcement authority, nor can it grant that authority to another organization.

Now I would like to focus on the merits of the application itself. In its Wellington Communiqué of March 28, 2006, the GAC stated the following, “The GAC would request a written explanation of the Board decision, particularly with regard to the sponsored community and public interest criteria outlined in the sponsored top level domain selection criteria.” The GAC further stressed its concerns in the Lisbon Communiqué of March 28, 2007 in which it stated, “The GAC does not consider information presented by the Board to have answered the GAC concerns as to whether the ICM application meets sponsorship criteria.” Obviously, the GAC was uncomfortable with the lack of support from the adult entertainment industry for ICM’s application. The FSC believes that ICM not only grossly overstated the level of support from the adult entertainment industry, but also misrepresented information about that support to the adult industry and ICANN.

ICM claims to have industry support yet no one in the industry is willing to publicly back their application. This lack of support is unmistakably obvious on the XBIZ.net board discussion in which Stuart Lawley himself participated. XBIZ.net provides discussion boards for industry professionals. It is one of the adult industry’s top discussion boards promoted by one of the industry’s premier trade publications. The thread labeled, “The Man Who Would be .XXX King,” is lengthy and typical of industry sentiments toward ICM and its application. Mr. Lawley attempted to convince adult industry professionals that .XXX would be beneficial to the industry; however, with the exception of a few attorneys who stand to benefit greatly from trademark infringement litigation associated to .XXX, no adult businesses or business owners support ICM’s application.

To get the full impact of the thread, screenshots of the entire thread can be found at FSC.

Moreover, Mr. Lawley’s complete ignorance of the adult industry and his significant underestimation of the intelligence of the people within the industry, so enraged some of its members that they produced a .XXX parody video that contained the owners and founders of many of the industry’s biggest companies. The video can be viewed on a website created by many of these same industry professionals DotXXXOpposition.com/ .

Further, FSC has obtained letters from CEOs of the adult industry’s biggest, most prestigious and influential companies (Appendix A).

ICM does not have support from the adult entertainment industry. When asked by the adult entertainment community to come forward with any adult company in favor of the .XXX sTLD, ICM refused. FSC filed a DIDP request asking ICANN for ICM’s proof of sponsorship community support as submitted to ICANN. ICANN responded:

ICM’s designation of the information as confidential therefore makes all requested documentation subject to the following defined condition for nondisclosure set forth in the DIDP:

• Information provided to ICANN by a party that, if disclosed, would or would be likely to materially prejudice the commercial interests, financial interests, and/or competitive position of such party or was provided to ICANN pursuant to a nondisclosure agreement or nondisclosure provision within an agreement.

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.

One has to wonder, if ICM does have the support of the industry it claims, why would it not grant ICANN’s request and lift the “confidential” status from the very documents that could prove that support? It is because that support is nonexistent.

ICM has emphasized “pre-reservation” as a sign of support for ICM. In February of 2007 while speaking at a panel at the XBIZ Conference in Hollywood, California, ICM’s President Stuart Lawley assured member of the adult entertainment industry that ICM would NOT use pre-reservations as a sign of support while urging them to preregister their domain names. Video of Mr. Lawley making this comment can be found at the following link http://freespeechcoalition.com/xxx.html . It is important to note that in his statement to the industry concerning “pre-reservations”, Mr. Lawley said that “only people who have said ‘I support this’ we are saying is supportive.”

Appendix B shows the list of “subscribers” submitted by ICM. Note the numerous “Support .XXX – Wish to Register” lines following the redacted names and email addresses. This statement correlates with the sign-up process on ICM’s website. For viewers looking for a place to pre-reserve their sites they are given the ability to sign up to a mailing list. The only choices one had were, “Support .XXX – Wish to register, ICANN registrar, Reseller, Media, other” (Appendix C). Nowhere was there an option for adult industry members who oppose .XXX to pre-reserve their domains defensively. Business owners wishing to pre-reserve defensively were forced to choose the option “Support .XXX – wish to register.” It is telling that there are no “Support .XXX – Wish to register” statements AFTER Mr. Lawley made his comments at the XBIZ conference, but what about all of those that came before? Mr. Lawley misrepresented what would be used as support to the adult entertainment industry he wishes to serve. The adult entertainment industry level of support was grossly misrepresented to ICANN.

Contained in FSC’s DIDP request was a call for the release of the names of the IFFOR Board Members as well as IFFOR’s Advisory Council members. Once again, ICM did not grant ICANN’s request to release that information. ICM’s application requires adult businesses to agree to comply with “IFFOR Policies and Best Practices Guidelines” that have yet to be created by boards and councils which have yet to be revealed. Vague, general promises stating that everyone will be happy in the end, have not and will not generate the support from the adult entertainment community ICM wishes to serve. This is es¬pecially true because the global online adult entertainment community is aware that ICM is making similarly vague and general promises to those who want to burden and in many cases outright ban sexually oriented expression.

What industry or any community would willingly be regulated by a body comprised of unknown individuals, assigned to implement undefined policies, overseen by an entity which characterized self-regulation as “foxes guarding the henhouse.” The proposed secret “henhouse guards” are who? Wolves? Roosters? Or farmers who shall harvest all the eggs produced?

The GAC also has expressed well-founded concerns about ICM’s vague promises, as demonstrated in its Wellington Communiqué, which questions ICM’s ability to deliver on its promises relating to the following public policy issues:

1. Take appropriate measures to restrict access to illegal and offensive content;

How will ICM be able to determine what is legal and offensive when those definitions change from nation to nation? It is inappropriate for ICM to act in this role. Those activities are better left to individual governments as discussed earlier in this document.

2. Support the development of tools and programs to protect vulnerable members of the community;

ICM has established that $10 of the $60 registration fee will go to some entity to protect children. Imposing a “tax” on the adult industry sets a bad precedence for future TLD’s. As the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) aptly stated in their comments to ICANN of January 5, 2007:

Registrant fees should be properly restricted solely to supporting the registry operator’s costs of maintaining a secure and accurate database. If .XXX registrants intending to engage in legal activities can be required to fund hotlines, technology developments, and educational efforts directed against illegal activities they neither promote nor engage in, what logical argument can there be against requiring the same of all other registrants who provide adult content at other TLDs? Similarly, if the good cause of child online safety can be used to extract mandatory financial support, what other promoters of good causes will petition ICANN to mandate similar involuntary contributions to their efforts in future TLD agreements? Will the websites of corporations that manufacture tobacco products as well as websites that feature ads for those products be required to support anti-smoking and cancer research organizations? How about automakers and auto ads and global warming? Fast food restaurant chains and good nutrition and anti-obesity campaigns? Video games and youth violence? The meat and fur industries and animal rights? The list of potential supplicants is as long as the organizations which pursue “good causes”. Once ICANN establishes the precedent that registrant fees can include mandatory contributions to organizations who have claimed, however tenuously, that the registrant bears some responsibility for the ill it seeks to cure it will have opened the floodgates to being looked to as a funding source for them.

Indeed the very act of requiring businesses to support financially an advocacy group is an improper violation of free speech and free association rights. What if IFFOR designates monetary support for a group which some holders of .XXX domains oppose? This mandatory support provision is emblematic of the fundamental insensitivity to free expression issues which the ICM Registry proposal represents.

3. Maintain accurate details of registrants and assist law enforcement agencies to identify and contact the owners of particular websites, if need be; and

The .XXX sTLD is and will always be deliberately and inextricably intertwined with sexually oriented expression on the Internet. As such, it will be an inevitable and on-going focus of those who would criminalize such expression on the Internet and elsewhere. The day when no substantial or powerful voice will be raised in opposition to such content on the Internet (even apart from the question of children and unwilling adults) is simply not in sight. We know this from our long and deep involvement in the public debate. Some countries would make .XXX mandatory for adult businesses, effectively putting a target on the backs of many legal businesses making them vulnerable to overzealous governments and authorities. Influential members of the United States Congress have already committed themselves to that position.

4. Act to ensure the protection of intellectual property and trademark rights, personal names, country names, names of historical, cultural and religious significance and names of geographic identifiers drawing on best practices in the development of registration and eligibility rules.

This point is ironic, in that the number one complaint from industry professionals about .XXX is how much it would cost them to protect their brand and traffic should the .XXX sTLD be approved. Our industry has been hit hard by the recession and many of these businesses do not have the capital to invest in, for some, thousands of .XXX versions of their domains. For most adult businesses, the passage of .XXX would pose a serious threat to their brand and trademark.

Finally, FSC would like to voice concern over the lack of transparency to the internet community of the IRP process and the Board’s decision to move forward, as well as the mission drift that seems to have occurred in this process. At the Board meeting in Brussels the following resolutions were made concerning .XXXsTLD :

Resolved (2010.06.25.19), the Board accepts and shall act in accordance with the following findings of the Independent Review Process Majority: (i) “the Board of ICANN in adopting its resolutions of June 1, 2005, found that the application of ICM Registry for the .XXX sTLD met the required sponsorship criteria;” and (ii) “the Board’s reconsideration of that finding was not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy.”

Resolved (2010.06.25.20), the Board directs staff to conduct expedited due diligence to ensure that: (1) the ICM Application is still current; and (2) there have been no changes in ICM’s qualifications.

Resolved (2010.06.25.21), if the expedited due diligence results are successful, then the Board directs ICANN staff to proceed into draft contract negotiations with ICM, taking into account the GAC advice received to date.

Resolved (2010.06.25.22), upon staff’s finalizing of a draft contract with ICM, the Board will determine whether the proposed contract is consistent with GAC advice, and if not, will enter into GAC consultation in accordance with the Bylaws.

Resolved (2010.06.25.23), after the GAC consultation is completed, the Board will decide whether to approve the contract, and will declare whether its action is in accordance with GAC advice or not.

ICANN Board Members were visibly shaken by these resolutions and some spoke out:
(From Board Transcripts)

HARALD ALVESTRAND: To say that I am uncomfortable with this situation is an understatement. I believe that our process has been followed, our reconsideration process has been followed. We have received competent legal advice on what is the reasonable path forward for what the organization should do, and that effectively this forces me to say that it is in the best interest of the organization and the interest of the furtherance of the organization’s goals to act as if something is true that I believe is not, in fact, so. This is a very uncomfortable situation, but I can see no better way to move forward.

RITA RODIN JOHNSTON: I guess I agree with Harald. I was in the unfortunate position to be on the board in 2007 and being told to reevaluate what happened in 2005. And after hearing many comments about the propriety of this application, I still question whether, in fact, there is a real sponsored community here, but it really doesn’t matter what I think. I think what’s important is that ICANN has a process that it set up and the process came back and said that sponsorship criteria was met and that this board has the courage to follow that criteria. And I think that is really important for everyone in the community to understand and appreciate.

KATIM TOURAY: Yeah. Thanks, Peter. Good morning, everyone. I, too, I think have to say that I’m like a lot of people here on this dais. You know, I’m in a very uncomfortable position in the face of this resolution. I think at the end of the day, we all have to face the facts that sometimes we have to make the tough decisions. And I think this is a very difficult decision that has to be made in the interest of ICANN, in the interest of due process, and in the interest of the involvement of the community in the stipulation of the policies of the organization.

And as Bruce said, this game has still not played out yet. We still have quite a number of steps to proceed. I think at this point, you know, we have to, you know, do our best to follow due process. Thank you.

ROD BECKSTROM: While I accept the contribution to ICANN’s accountability and transparency provided by the existence and the use of the independent panel review process, I am nonetheless concerned about the determination by two of the three panelists that the ICANN board should not use business judgment in the conduct of its affairs.

Clearly, the ICANN Board understood that there was serious lack of support from the sponsorship community. Two of the three panelists on the IRP indicated that the sponsorship issue was settled while the third, Judge Dickran Tevrizian, adamantly disagreed, saying, “In my opinion, the application was rejected on the merits in an open and transparent forum. On the basis of that, ICM Registry, LLC never satisfied the sponsorship requirements and criteria for a top level domain name.” Interestingly enough, of all the people interviewed through the IRP process, no one from the adult entertainment industry was interviewed- the sponsorship community, the party most affected, was not represented.

As board members spoke of their decision, they mentioned again and again that their decision was good for the organization. ICM Registry promises millions of dollars of income for ICANN, assuming that income is not consumed by the inevitable litigation which ICANN will find itself a party to if the proposal is adopted. By focusing narrowly on the economic benefits for ICANN, the organization itself, the Board may have lost sight of its overall mission “to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.” This letter clearly communicates just some of the threats a .XXX sTLD would impose on those systems.

As Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s own CEO, stated in his last comment on the subject in the Brussels Board meeting, “In my view as CEO, the board must be able to use business judgment in order to protect the global public interest in the coordination of the root of the Internet and the domain name system.”

.XXX is not just a bad idea, it is a bad business decision. The GAC has the responsibility to stop this dangerous and unwanted TLD. Please advise the ICANN Board not to enter into a contract with ICM for a .XXX sTLD.

Sincerely,

Diane Duke
Executive Director

 
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FSC Claims Victory: ‘It’s Far From Over’

30 Oct

If you aren’t already a Free Speech Coalition member, then please become one. All the cool kids are doing it.

– Darklady
FSC Board Member

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — After Free Speech Coalition (FSC) submitted a letter to ICANN regarding consideration of the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (GAC) concerns in the approval process for the proposed .XXX sTLD, the ICANN Board of Directors yesterday resolved to delay any decision on .XXX until December.

The action was reported in TheDomains.com (http://www.thedomains.com/2010/10/29/xxx-pushed-off-until-colombia-icann-meeting-in-december/). The ICANN decision effectively halts the approval process and recognizes necessary consideration of GAC’s prior opposition to the .XXX sTLD and concerns for lack of sponsorship from the adult online community.

In 2006, ICANN’s GAC opposed the passage of .XXX in their Wellington Communiqué. At the ICANN Conference in Lisbon, in 2007, GAC reaffirmed that opposition stating, “The Wellington Communiqué remains a valid and important expression of the GAC’s views on .xxx. The GAC does not consider the information provided by the Board to have answered the GAC concerns as to whether the ICM Application meets the sponsorship criteria.”

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke has travelled to Lisbon in 2007, as well as Brussels this past June, in order to oppose .XXX. She said, “While attending the GAC meeting in Brussels, I observed an informal conversation among its members, there was general consensus that its concerns had still not been addressed, and its prior Communiqué objections stand.

“Stuart Lawley can stand on the rooftops and shout that this is a done deal all he wants but this is an insurmountable obstacle for ICM to overcome,” Duke added. “FSC pointed that fact out to the Board in our letter requesting that they seek consultation with GAC and apparently, they agreed.”

The proposed .XXX sTLD is scheduled to be discussed at the next ICANN Board of Directors meeting to be held in December, in Columbia.

###

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 Questions ICANN Over GAC Concerns on .XXX sTLDs

28 Oct

I dunno, I get the impression that ICANN might like to indulge in some “transparency and equitability,” but don’t really see how that could be popular with ICM Registry or Stuart Lawley.

Neither entity has indicated any interest in either virtue and, in fact, seem fairly hostile to the concepts since they might either further slow this process or lead to them not getting their way.

And these are the folks who are supposed to help the adult industry improve its image? Help like this we do not need…

– Darklady

CANOGA PARK, Calif. – Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has issued a letter to the ICANN Board of Directors, which will meet today in a closed meeting. The meeting agenda includes a discussion of the proposed .XXX sTLD.

In the letter, FSC voiced concerns as to whether or not the ICANN Board has addressed issues raised by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). FSC also called for the board to consult GAC, “in the interest of transparency and equitability.”

The letter raised four points to the ICANN Board, giving a timeline for statements issued by GAC. The statements repeatedly point out GAC’s concerns over approval of the proposed .XXX sTLD and even state several GAC members’ opposition to approval. Points emphasized by FSC include:

• The last formal statement from GAC on the topic was in its March 28, 2007 Lisbon Communiqué which states, “The GAC reaffirms the letter sent to the ICANN Board on 2nd February 2007. The Wellington Communiqué remains a valid and important expression of the GAC’s views on .xxx. The GAC does not consider the information provided by the Board to have answered the GAC concerns as to whether the ICM Application meets the sponsorship criteria.

• In the Wellington Communiqué of March 26, 2006 the GAC identified a number of concerns about the application and the concept as a whole, ending its comment on the subject with the statement, “Nevertheless without prejudice to the above, several members of the GAC are emphatically opposed from a public policy perspective to the introduction of a .xxx sTLD.”

• During the GAC meeting in Brussels, in informal conversation among its members, there was general consensus that its concerns had still not been addressed, and its prior Communiqué objections stand.

• Just as the Board has given deference to the decision of the IRP [Independent Review Panel], so must it give deference to the GAC advice.

FSC opposes .XXX sTLDs, which would cost adult Web businesses millions in unnecessary fees and put adult websites in a category to be easily targeted by anti-adult interests.

###

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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Letter of Opposition: Darklady Says No .XXX Please!

25 Sep

I helped create the website www.DotXXXOpposition.com in order to give adult webmasters an opportunity to speak out and to learn more about why .XXX is such a bad idea not merely for the industry but for sexually frank websites in general.

Part of that effort included creating the 8-minute short film “.XXX — The Movie.” I encourage you to visit the site and watch the video. If nothing else, you’ll likely be amused.

But the amusement will be based on reality. Much of the dialogue spoken by the Stuart Lawley character comes directly from Mr. Lawley’s ham-fisted attempts to convince those of us who frequent XBiz.net that .XXX will make us all millionaires… and those of us who don’t become millionaires aren’t worth much.

There are so many technical reasons for this sTLD to be denied, so I will focus on some of the administrative reasons.

Perhaps most importantly is the fact the ICM Registry and Stuart Lawley proudly proclaim their absolute non-involvement in the adult industry. This presents a number of troubling questions:

1) What knowledge do these entities have concerning the vast range of sites likely to be included in a .XXX domain?

2) Why the pride at the lack of involvement? If the community ICM Registry wants to represent is something it wants to distance itself from, why should that community trust ICM Registry?

3) Given the disrespect Stuart Lawley has shown to individual members of the sTLD community in question, as well as his discounting of the Free Speech Coalition, its goals and its achievements (which include producing a Code of Ethics), why should the community trust ICM Registry?

4) Yesterday it was revealed that ICM Registry has hired an AD AGENCY to promote .XXX and to supposedly make the community “more responsible.” More responsible than what? Than criminals who happen to have websites? The implication that the industry is not “responsible” is quite insulting — and the idea that a British ad agency somehow knows more about online adult entertainment and the community’s intricacies is laughable and insulting.

5) Often when someone from the community in question asks Stuart Lawley a question, his answer is vague or even contradictory. Where will the $10 from the outrageous $60 per domain go to? Child protection groups? Why? This is a strong suggestion that the community in question somehow harms children, which is untrue and, again, an insult. Why not fund the Free Speech Coalition, instead? It at least has a clue about how the adult industry works.

6) Although we’re assured that .XXX will not become a legally enforced ghetto for sexually explicit materials, that meme is becoming increasingly popular in mainstream press articles. I do not see ICM Registry doing any real work to disprove this.

7) Ultimately — why does the world even need .XXX? If the goal is to keep minors from accessing materials that their parents feel are inappropriate, then a .KIDS domain makes a lot more sense to me.

I honestly believe that the only entities that will gain from this enterprise are Stuart Lawley and ICM Registry. Given how hostile the world economy is these days and how many online professionals are small business people such as myself, please don’t provide another opportunity for greed to threaten the ability of people to make a living, however humble, online.

Most sincerely,

Theresa A. Reed
Free Speech Coalition board member

www.darklady.com
www.masturbate-a-thon.org
www.dotxxxopposition.com
twitter/thedarklady

 
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Last Chance for Comment on .XXX Today

23 Sep

Today’s the day! Speak now or forever hold your peace… until the next time ICM Registry tries to bully .XXX onto the internet whether we want it or not… or until you have to decide if you’re forking over $60+ so Stuart Lawley can buy himself something pretty.

– Darklady

CANOGA PARK, Calif. – Free Speech Coalition (FSC) is calling for all online adult business stakeholders to post their comments opposing the .XXX sTLD at the ICANN website. The public comment period ends today.

Comments can be posted via email at xxx-revised-icm-agreement@icann.org

FSC will post a public comment this afternoon, as well as data collected from the Call-to-Action survey in which stakeholders were asked to endorse statements of opposition to the proposed sTLD.

If you have not done so already, FSC asks you to go to the survey and add your vote to the industry professionals opposing .XXX. The survey link is here

For more information and suggestions for making comments to ICANN, visit www.freespeechcoalition.com.

“.XXX is a situation where together we stand,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “Online business owners who are against .XXX must post comments by the end of the day, in order for their voices to be heard. FSC has spearheaded the opposition to this supposed “sponsored” domain because the webmasters have told us that they don’t want it. But we need as many stakeholders as possible to tell ICANN how they feel.”

“.XXX would end up costing webmasters millions in unnecessary fees, if passed,” Duke added, “and also make it easier for the wrong people to target adult material online, including children and anti-adult activists.”

###
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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M&C Saatchi lands .xxx sex site ad task

23 Sep

Talk about insulting! ICM Registry apparently thinks only non-adult companies can properly profit from and provide guidance to the adult industry.

While ICM Registry and Stuart Lawley scoff at the Free Speech Coalition and ignore its Code of Ethics, they go off and hire an ad agency to not merely pimp the new ride, but “increase responsibility” among adult websites!

Yeah, that’s what ad agencies are famous for. Encouraging responsible behavior.

Next thing ya know, they’re going to be showing us how to have sex in front of a camera, too!

– Darklady

ICM Registry, the US company behind the new .xxx domain name for pornography sites, has appointed M&C Saatchi to handle a global advertising account.

M&C Saatchi won the business after a competitive pitch against four undisclosed London and US agencies.

The agency will be responsible for increasing responsibility among the adult industry through a campaign in the US and UK in January. It will then roll out a consumer campaign next year to raise awareness of the new domain.

To read more, visit: campaignlive

 
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Letter of Opposition: This Stupid Dot XXX Thing

23 Sep

DomainNameWire.com contends that .XXX opponents are becoming cookie cutter cut-and-paste experts. Given how many reasons there are to not want an .XXX sTLD, I can understand why folks might be cribbing one another’s notes, although I think ICM Registry and DNW are exaggerating the number of people who might be doing this if all they’re basing it on is similar comment titles.

Here, for example, is a clearly original — and clearly articulate — letter from one of the industry’s longest-working male performers, Will “Taliesin” Jarvis.

– Darklady

This Stupid Dot XXX Thing

Unlike that fabled prescription of chicken soup for the common cold – It couldn’t hurt. – .xxx could hurt, and it cannot help. Such a TLD cannot help because there is nothing to help. Is there an extant problem that such a TLD might fix? I have no difficulty finding porn on the internet. Do you?

My name is Will “Taliesin” Jarvis and for twenty-six years (and still going strong, I’m happy to say) I have openly and unashamedly been a member of the erotic entertainment community, serving in the capacity of writer, actor, director and, most proudly of all, activist for free speech and expression.

The salient point to consider here is that .xxx, unlike other TLDs, is about content; it is about the specific type of material that would be included in such a domain. All other top domains are categories that can be filled with a variety of content. To create a domain just for a specific kind of content is counterproductive.

It might seem as if a .xxx domain would be one more step in the mainstream acceptance of porn, but it is actually a step toward the ghettoization of porn, a means of keeping it segregated from the mainstream.

The United States have never been the melting pot described to us in sixth grade history class. And Jesse Jackson’s “patchwork quilt” analogy, while informative, fails as long as one small set of patches in one area of the quilt can disenfranchise any other patch they chose. Those who argue for .xxx, who argue for voluntarily segregation from the whole place their patch and all similar patches in grave danger of not mere disenfranchisement but of complete excision from the whole.

Adults seeking entertainment, information and even edification from erotic movies have readily embraced each form of new technology as it has developed. Until about twenty-five years ago the primary method for delivery of erotic movies to consumers was projected film in a public theater, a theater often relegated, by law, to an undesirable part of town. In the 1980s this transitioned to VHS video cassettes, and then to DVDs, rented or purchased in a shop (generally located in a more mainstream venue) and brought home to be watched in privacy. In the 1990s porn began making a presence on the fledgling internet. But these were not smooth transitions. Every step of the way had been a battle (in law, religion, ethics, politics, community), sometimes many battles, just to take a single small step forward.

To create a .xxx top level domain could push the adult movie industry back to the days when porn theaters and adult book shops were zoned into the most undesirable business locations possible. Erotic entertainment businesses have proven themselves to be good corporate citizens over the years and do not deserve such treatment, do not deserve disenfranchisement from the mainstream.

There is no valid reason to adopt .xxx as a top level domain.

Will “Taliesin” Jarvis

 
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Escort Service Fears .XXX Will Hurt Web for Adults

20 Sep

The site this text comes from has a serious problem with viewable html code, so I’ve cleaned it up and reproduced it here with a link to the page I found it on. Most people haven’t considered the possible impact of a .XXX sTLD on escort agencies and providers that prefer the safety and convenience of the internet.

Assuming their sites will meet whatever minimal standards ICM Registry decides to impose upon the adult industry, the writer plans to line Stuart Lawley’s pockets out of fear — although s/he also voices an even more common fear: that any and all sexually explicit material will eventually be forced into this virtual “ghetto.”

Of course, Lawley insists that .XXX won’t be a “ghetto.” No, no. It will be a “resort.”

Is that anything like a minimum security prison?

Don’t forget: send your comments to ICANN before September 23.

Comments can be viewed at xxx-revised-icm-agreement.

– Darklady

“In this particular blog site we oftentimes explain subjects of which have an impact on the escort and also adult entertainment sectors. Here is the most recent and in what way it’ll influence Chelsea’s Angels – the top referrer service with regard to Titusville escorts

The new .xxx top-level domain for internet websites which have grown-up material is now here, or at least will be before long. This particular topic has been an argument for many years and it is right now a reality.

What on earth is our position?

Similar to a great many others we’re going to purchase an internet site . or perhaps even two using the .xxx because if I cannot I’ll be sitting on the sidelines sooner or later in the long run, and it’s really normally very much better to be prepared. It isn’t needed for sites to advance to that domain yet, with “yet” being the key phrase. At this juncture you can exclusively reserve an individual .xxx domain for $60 and it is going to end up being allocated soon.

That isn’t the best thing for adult internet business. To merely shove any web site having grown-up page content into the .xxx ghetto, and so, mark our words : that would be just what it will become. It can be cyberspace equivalent of the red light area on the borders of your area. Many will obtain the sites, but most would not when ever their internet service providers (ISPs) set out to block out more or less all .xxx web-sites. But then this is the fundamental strategy, right?

Presently there are generally a bunch of instruments offered to Internet service providers, mothers and fathers, hotel accommodations, and then anyone in-between to block webpages by just key-phrases researches, groups, and URLs, so this relocation is going to take it a measure further along with aid preventing of any site reported to be grownup or with mature subject material. We perceive it as being putting the adult books ınside a bin across town, preventing the street directly to them, and instructing intrigued individuals to go looking as they would like.

This ghetto could be impeded by each and every library, hotel room, and also company which provides at no cost access to the internet or even Wi-fi. If you’re in grownup enterprise you’ll want to understand this means a lot of the people never ever uncovering your website. Write sensual content articles? Better choose something else entirely to perform. Own an escort website or an activities organization that will books strippers at events? Enjoy getting to your prospective client base.

They are really actually hurting the web for anyone that is a grown-up as well as is sure that they should be able to experience traditional grownup resources or stop at an adult internet site should they thus desire. The actual outcome will probably serve to kill-off a lot of mature commercial enterprise.”

Read original at CellPhoneNPDA

 
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Should All Porn Sites End with .xxx?

17 Sep

Although ICM Registry isn’t suggesting that all explicitly sexual content be forced into the .XXX sTLD, plenty of other people think it’s a great idea… and that it’s precisely what ICANN has planned — which is another reason that it’s a horrible idea.

Stuart Lawley insists that his personal .XXX goldmine won’t be a “ghetto” but, instead, “a resort.” Color me unconvinced.

Please, please, please send your comments to ICANN before the September 23 deadline. They can be submitted to xxx-revised-icm-agreement@icann.org and viewed at http://forum.icann.org/lists/xxx-revised-icm-agreement/.

– Darklady

ICANN considering this possibility again.

It has been quite some time since a proposal for a new top level domain name .xxx was mooted to classify pornography websites on the Internet. The proposal, which was first talked about back in the year 2000 has already been through three rejections. However, with an Internet governing body – ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) considering this domain again, the issue is back in contention…

To read more, visit: techtree

 
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Letter of .XXX Opposition: Syzygy Magazine

14 Sep

To be fair, if .XXX is introduced, Larry Flynt will not be going hungry. No disrespect meant to Mr. Flynt, of course, and I have no doubt that this new policy would take a bite out of his bottom line. But there’s a difference between worrying about the bottom line and worrying about having one’s ass on the line.

Much has been written about the massive explosion of porn on the internet, most of it from the tongue-clucking standpoint of fretting about what all these pixelated parts might do to The Children. That’s when it’s not outright fearmongering about porn addiction and child slavery, of course. Overlooked in this eruption of safely moralizing verbiage, however, is the entrepreneurial angle.

The barriers to entry into the skin trade have never been lower. Untold thousands of people all over the world have been building fanbases, reaching niche markets, and making their fortune. There’s the big success stories you’ve heard of, like Suicide Girls, but there’s also every esoteric fetish turning a profit through Kink.com’s network, all the way down to every independent camgirl and moneydomme trolling Second Life and chatrooms for clients. In a lot of these cases, “making their fortune” just means “covering rent and bills this month”, but that’s the point of small business, isn’t it? Why does so much of our society’s thinking about porn focus on the supposedly predatory companies that are making a killing, and ignore the thousands who are just making a living?

Proponents of the .xxx domain have a strong incentive to ignore that chunk of the data. They can rest on their claims that the costs of the changeover won’t be all that great, won’t be too big a deal, and isn’t it worth it to protect the children or clarify the market or… whatever it is they’re claiming .xxx will do?

The fact is, when you’re living on the long tail, when you’re getting by instead of getting rich, there are no small, negligible costs. When your profit margin’s 5%, you can’t survive a hit to that margin. When you’ve got 300 fans, how many of them will fail to track your move to a new website? Can you get by on 250 fans? On 200?

Let’s skip over the disingenous justifications for .xxx for a moment: this policy is solely about creating another barrier to making and enjoying porn. The only rationale that can be offered is that it isn’t such a large barrier, and frankly, that only makes it worse. Because if the barrier isn’t large, then who’s it going to block? The little guy. People trying to make it in a tough economy as best they can. People serving an audience that would otherwise have nothing made for them. People trying to put together something fresh and original with whatever they can scrape together. People like myself, so maybe you could say I’m just looking out for my own ass here. But that’s just it; when you’re a small independent operator, who else is going to?

Brad Hanon
Syzygy Magazine

http://www.syzygymag.com

 
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Call to Action: Examples of Submitted Comments

14 Sep

September 23rd is a lot closer than it feels — and given that it’s the final day members of the adult entertainment industry and others will be allowed to remind ICANN that .XXX is not welcome that means it’s important to submit your comments as soon as possible.

If you’re still not sure how to express yourself, visit the ICANN forum for examples of what others have already said. Not only will they be educational, but they may spark some creativity of expression on your part.

Don’t let ICM Registry and Stuart Lawley get rich off of our hard work and smear our business reputation by suggesting that we’re not to be trusted without their services!

 
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Call to Action: Tell ICANN “No” to .XXX

25 Aug

If you’re still discovering the many reasons that .XXX is a bad idea and would like an example of an articulate explanation recently shared online, be sure to read “Opposed to .xxx draft agreement – comments of Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.” available in the sidebar under Adult Press/Blogs.

While reading may be fun-damental, writing is essential in this case.

ICM Registry has likely made an excellent case for its dream of showers of gold raining down upon it and its registrants’ bank accounts.

We have 30 days to write to ICANN, and once again tell the board that online adult industry professionals do not believe that this sTLD is in the best interest of anyone other than ICM Registry.

A good explanation of a submitted comment appears at ICANN posts .xxx contract for comment

We’ve done this before — and it sent a message that ICANN heard.

The message was no.

Unfortunately, Stuart Lawley and his ICM Registry don’t appear to care that the online adult industry isn’t really that “into” them and won’t take “no” for an answer.

This means that we need to put it into words once again: Clear, calm, rational, professional, polite — but firm — words that ultimately mean “No means No.”

– Darklady

Marina Del Rey, CA – This morning posted ICM’s draft agreement on a .XXX sponsored top level domain (sTLD).

On 30 March 2007, the Board rejected the proposed agreement. ICM sought an independent review of the Board’s denial of ICM’s application for the .XXX sTLD.  Two of the three judges on the Independent Review Panel issued a statement that they believed ICM met its requirements for a .xxx sTLD, the third justice was in dissent of the opinion.  ICANN Board members reluctantly voted to act 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.

Part of the requirements of that due diligence is the posting of the ICM application for public comment.

“FSC plans to sift through the hundreds of pages of the application and its associated documents,” said Diane Duke FSC Executive Director.  “We will then and provide feedback to the industry about ICM’s application as well as the suggested next steps for the industry and FSC in blocking ICM’s .XXX sTLD.  FSC members and the industry can expect additional information from FSC by the week’s end.”

The application will be posted for a thirty day public comment period commencing at 12:00 noon Pacific Daylight August 24, 2010 through 11:59 a.m. Pacific Daylight time September 23, 2010.

Comments can be submitted to xxx-revised-icm-agreement@icann.org and viewed at http://forum.icann.org/lists/xxx-revised-icm-agreement/.

Duke reminded industry members, “This is just another step in a process-it is far from over and CERTAINLY not a done deal.”

###

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.

August 24, 2010
Contact: Diane Duke
(818) 348-9373

 
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