Infobox Top level domain

type=Sponsored top-level domain
status=Proposed; preliminary ICANN approval later revoked
registry=ICM Registry, Inc
sponsor=International Foundation for Online Responsibility
intendeduse=Adult entertainment sites
actualuse=Not yet available for use
restrictions=Applicants will be pre-screened and their existing Web sites checked to ascertain they are part of the adult entertainment community; a post-registration challenge process exists also; standards such as not marketing to minors must be adhered to
structure=Direct second-level registrations will be allowed
document=RFC 3675, [http://www.icann.org/tlds/stld-apps-19mar04/xxx.htm ICANN New sTLD RFP Application]
disputepolicy=UDRP, [http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/sponsored/sponsorship-agmt-att12-13oct01.htm Charter Eligibility Dispute Resolution Procedure (CEDRP)] , Start-Up Trademark Opposition Procedure (STOP)
website= [http://icmregistry.com/ ICM Registry] |

.xxx is a proposed top-level domain (TLD) intended as a voluntary option for sexually explicit sites on the Internet. The name is inspired by the former MPAA and BBFC "X" rating, now commonly applied to pornographic movies as "XXX". ICANN announced in June 1, 2005 that .xxx would become a sponsored top-level domain similar to .aero, .travel, etc. but it was never implemented. On May 10, 2006, ICANN reversed its decision, [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12728784/ Internet agency nixes ‘.xxx’ Web addresses] ] and on March 30, 2007, ICANN rejected the .xxx proposal a third time [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17868186/ MSNBC: Agency votes against '.xxx' domain for porn] retrieved 2007-07-11] .

As of 2005, there is an alternative implementation of .xxx by New.net, a private domain registration service unaffiliated with ICANN, via an alternative DNS root. Its future - including that of domain names previously registered with New.net - is uncertain in the wake of the ICANN-sanctioned TLD announcement.

Another unofficial .xxx TLD was previously available through the alternative DNS root system administered by the now-defunct AlterNIC.


A gTLD (generic top-level domain) for sexually explicit material was proposed as one tool for dealing with the conflict between those who wish to provide and access such material through the Internet, and those who wish to prevent access to it, either by children and adolescents, or by employees at their workplaces.

Advocates of the idea argue that it will be easy for parents and employers to block the entire TLD, rather than using more complex and error-prone content-based filtering, without imposing any restrictions on those who wish to access it.

Critics of the idea argue that because there is no requirement for providers of explicit content to use the TLD, sexually explicit material will still be commonplace in other domains, making it ineffectual at restricting access, and simply creating a new "landrush" as registrants of .com domains hosting explicit material attempt to duplicate their registrations in the .xxx domain, competing with operators who hope to register desirable names unavailable in other TLDs. There is also concern that the existence of .xxx will lead to legislation making its use "mandatory" for sexually explicit material, leading to legal conflicts over the definition of "sexually explicit", free speech rights, and jurisdiction. RFC 3675, entitled ".sex Considered Dangerous", discusses some of these objections. Meanwhile, the United States Department of Commerce has objected to the creation of this domain in response to complaints that it would legitimize pornography. [ [http://news.com.com/Bush+administration+objects+to+.xxx+domains/2100-1028_3-5833764.html Bush administration objects to .xxx domains] ] This has been backed by many conservative Christian groups in America such as the American Family Association.

Some of the objections to an .xxx domain (for instance the difficulty of legislating consistent world-wide morality) would be mitigated if the domain was a subdomain of a country-specific domain.

ICANN approved a proposal by ICM Registry, Inc. to implement .xxx as a sponsored top-level domain. ICM said it would charge $60/year for domains. The process for registrations was not immediately disclosed. In December 2005, discussions about the implementation of .xxx were taken off the agenda of ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee, placing its future in doubt; in its March 2006 meeting, the GAC formulated a letter of concern to the ICANN board about .xxx.

Considering all this, the ICANN board revoked its approval on May 10, 2006.

However, the establishment of such a domain name remains possible, as United States Senators Max Baucus (D., Montana) and Mark Pryor (D., Arkansas) have proposed to mandate its creation through legislation; it is unclear how such legislation could place a binding obligation to establish .xxx on ICANN without jeopardizing the argument that ICANN is not a US-controlled body.

On January 5, 2007, ICANN put up for public comment a revised proposal [ [http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-05jan07.htm ICANN Publishes Revision to Proposed ICM (.XXX) Registry Agreement for Public Comment] ] following changes to the policy of the ICM registry including the policing of any site that signs up to use the .xxx registry. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6240725.stm Proposal for porn domain revived] ] On March 30, 2007, ICANN rejected the .xxx proposal for the third time, citing that the board did not want to get in the business of content regulation, especially when the definition of "pornography" varies by jurisdiction. Other groups have spoken out against the domain as well. Adult website owners feel the exclusive domain for their sites would turn adult websites into an "online ghetto." Religious leaders, on the other hand, fear it would "legitimize and expand" the number of adult websites. ICM was quoted as saying they would "likely" file a lawsuit against ICANN. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2007-03-30-icann-xxx_N.htm?csp=34 ICANN rejects creation of '.xxx' domain] ]


Accessing web sites which use .xxx domains registered in an alternative DNS root with New.net (and several other unofficial TLDs they manage) requires special client software, the use of a DNS server specifically configured to resolve these domains, or the addition of ".new.net" to the end of the Internet address. E-mail can be sent to these domains only by appending ".new.net" to the end of the address. New.net domains can only be registered through them or their affiliates. These factors have limited the popularity of their TLD, and it would likely be further marginalized by implementation of the ICANN-approved .xxx registry. The prior use of these domains might also result in trademark disputes over domains registered in the ICANN-approved registry.

See also

*Free Speech Coalition
*Content-control software


External links

* [http://www.icmregistry.com/ ICM Registry site]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4606125.stm Net porn plan labelled 'obscene'] at BBC News
* [http://www.w3.org/2004/03/28-tld W3C: Why Using TLDs for Filtering is Ineffective, Harmful, and Unnecessary]
* RFC 3675 .sex Considered Dangerous
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12728784/ Internet agency nixes ‘.xxx’ Web addresses; Board members decide porn domains are more trouble than they’re worth]
* [http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/05/11/icann_kills_xxx/ ICANN Kills .xxx]
* [http://www.businessvoyeur.com/2007-01-08/xxx-resurfaces XXX TLD Revived]

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