Friday - March 30 - 2007
Read the article direclty from http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/10958/53/1/1/
No consensus over .xxx at ICANN public forum
|By Stephen Withers |
|Friday, 30 March 2007 |
Participants in the public forum held as part of this week's ICANN meeting in Lisbon lined up on both sides of the debate over the introduction of a .xxx domain for adult or pornographic sites.
Diane Duke, executive director for the Free Speech Coalition - a trade association for the adult entertainment industry was first to speak, saying "Today, we are here because the adult entertainment community believes that the views of the industry are being misrepresented on the issue of the .xxx sponsored top-level domain. Let me be clear. The adult entertainment industry, the sponsorship community, not only does not support ICM's proposal but it actively opposes the creation of a .xxx top-level domain."
"The only possible benefit to a .xxx so-called sponsored top-level domain is the one that will be realized by ICM's bottom line, she added. (ICM is the registry proposing .xxx.)
Jeffrey Douglas, volunteer chair of the Free Speech Coalition also spoke against the proposal and outlined the nature of the organisation's objections.
"[T]he difficulty with the .xxx is that the content itself has inherent controversy in the possibility of regulation, he said. "The creation of dot XXX will, of course, allow new means of censorship by multiple layers of government, especially within the United States."
Douglas went on to say "The other component of .xxx that is unique from any other dot proposal, again because it's based on content, is that it, in effect, creates a second class of speech, a speech that needs to be overseen by apparently responsible adults, that needs to be treated differently. If you could imagine a proponent of a dot religion saying that, 'We are appropriate so that we can regulate responsible speakers of religion,' that's identical to what the proposal is before you now."
Cultural issues were also raised.
Khaled Fattal, chairman of the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium but speaking in a private capacity, said "I can speak on behalf of the Arabic community. We met yesterday, and I think if you were to poll the streets of the governments, the private sector, you will get 90-plus percent that they would not be in favor of having anything to do with the adult or pornography in Arabic...
"[A]s you all know, there is no Arabic DNS today. We have been calling for it and working for it for years in this process. And I know we have a lot of support from you on this. But the reality is, if we have, for example, a .xxx and the IDN [internationalised domain name] is implemented and the extensions in other languages are in, it is foreseeable that the Arabs will end up with an Arabic adult Internet long before we have an Arabic Internet."
Comments in favour of the proposal were opened by Stuart Lawley, president and CEO of ICM Registry. "ICM has gone well beyond what was required of any other sTLD applicant and well beyond what was reasonably required in reference to its application," he said.
.xxx would "bring concrete new value to the global name space and the Internet community as a whole by facilitating badly needed voluntary industry self-regulation," and there is a precisely defined and demonstrably appropriate sponsored community that strongly supports the proposal, he said.
"These supporters hail from all around the world. From Australia to Zambia, with Latvia and 70 other countries in between."
Robert Corn-Revere, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine and ICM Registry's lawyer, questioned the Free Speech Coalition's standing as a representative of the adult industry, describing it as "a small California-based group that got its start as legal defense fund in the early 1990s."
"[T]o bill it as the only organization that can represent people who want to sign up for dot xxx is simply incorrect," he said.
Not all the speakers took a position either way. For example, Ron Andruff said "we have to look at this and find a place where we can make sure that parents don't have to sit beside their children when they're on the Internet, but they can allow their children to have access in a more controlled environment."
Read the entire transcript at ICANN's web site.