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.XXX accuses ICANN of 'lip service' on porn domain

Porn domain bidder calls whitewash

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The company behind the proposed .xxx internet domain has accused ICANN of trying to weasel its way out of approving the porn-only domain.

ICM Registry, which has been fighting for the right to run the domain for a decade, said ICANN staff members prepared “fundamentally flawed” advice, designed to confuse its own board of directors.

A three-man Independent Review Panel recently ruled that ICANN broke its own fairness rules when it rejected .xxx in 2007 under pressure from the Bush administration, having previously approved it.

The IRP made a two-to-one majority decision, but unanimously agreed that its own ruling was non-binding, which has given ICANN some wiggle-room on how it handles the proposal.

The organisation is currently soliciting public comment on a set of four post-IRP “process options” for .xxx. Three of the four options still lead to ICM's bid being rejected.

This has unsurprisingly angered the wannabe registry. In a response paper released last night, ICM claims: “ICANN Staff propose to give lip service to the Declaration of the Panel, but not correct any of the violations that the Panel identified.”

The company demands that ICANN stop messing about laying “traps, hurdles and obstructions” and return to the contract talks it quit three years ago, if it wants to show the world that it can be objective and accountable.

The IRP is the final court of appeal to challenge ICANN's decisions, short of going to an actual court of law. But ICM is in fact likely to take its case to court should ICANN reject its bid. A lawsuit could quite easily have a nine-figure dollar value attached.

ICANN's revisiting of .xxx has caused a tsunami of complaints from US Christian groups, which believe it will lead to an increase in internet porn. It has also raised objections from porn trade group the Free Speech Coalition, which believes it could lead to censorship.

ICANN will likely make its decision during a public meeting in Brussels next month. ®

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