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Plan for top-level pornography domain gets reprieve

ICANN to reconsider .xxx denial

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What was decided

Two main issues with respect to the dot-xxx application were decided in favour of ICM Registry.

First, the panel decided that the ICANN Board had been wrong to reopen the question of whether there was a suitable “sponsoring community” for dot-xxx after it had already agreed that the company had passed this step and approved a decision to enter into contractual negotiations.

In so doing, the panel rejected the recollections of ICANN’s former chair, vice-chair, and president as “not adequately refuting” the various public statements made about the process for new top-level domains and the dot-xxx application.

And secondly, the panel decided that the final vote to reject the application was “not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy” - i.e. the application was treated differently to other applications such as those for dot-mobi, dot-jobs and dot-travel.

The panel also found “grounds for questioning the neutral and objective performance of the Board” and said that the four reasons the Board gave for rejecting the dot-xxx application were “not fully coherent”.

The current Board members, the majority of which were not on the Board at the time of the vote will need to decide whether it agrees with the panel findings and then what the implications of that are.

ICM’s Lawley is quite clear about what he expects. “I don’t want this to become a huge debate all about ICANN’s bylaws or another cycle of publishing contracts for public review. We have been through five iterations of the contract; it is on the table and we will be expecting ICANN to execute on that contract. It is a question of ‘is ICANN going to do the right thing or not?’”

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