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Aussie Sex Party takes the whip to .xxx domains

Gives ICM Registry a dressing-down

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The Australian Sex Party has joined a growing international chorus of voices accusing ICANN and ICM Registry of a shakedown over the .xxx domain space.

Companies that don’t want their domain names appearing in front of the already-notorious dot-triple-x are facing an October 28 deadline to register with ICM, the sole contractor of the domain with ICANN.

The approaching “sunrise” deadline has inspired wild estimates of the cost to Australian businesses, with News Limited outlets multiplying the number of registered businesses in Australia (two million) by the price of a defensive registration ($US199) to arrive at a national "pornageddon" cost of $US400 million (NineMSN later paraphrased the report to conclude that there are two million Australian businesses operating online, which is plain silly. The actual number of active, employing businesses in Australia is in the order of about 800,000, most of which probably lack a domain name that would interest cybersquatters).

Fiona Patten, convenor of the Australian Sex Party, is on the attack, saying that ICM Registry is “selling off other peoples’ trademarks”.

“It’s a pretty brilliant money-making venture,” she told the Herald Sun.

It’s not the first time Patten has taken the stick to the .xxx idea; she also believes it could offer censorship via the back door, so to speak. Back in March, she noted that opposition to the creation of the top-level domain was “probably the first and only time we will ever see sex industry, government, and morals groups all lining up to agree on Internet censorship”.

As previously reported in The Register, ICM Registry has kindly blocked various celebrity names – about 15,000 – from registration in its private playground, but didn’t extend that courtesy to corporate brands. ®

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