On second thought, maybe we won't have .xxx

| Comments (2) |
Wired reports that ICANN has decided not to create .xxx TLD for pornography:
Anti-porn advocates, however, countered that sites would be free to keep their current ".com" addresses, in effect making porn more easily accessible by creating yet another channel to house it.

And they say such a domain name would legitimize adults sites, which two in five internet users visit each month, according to tracking by comScore Media Metrix.

Many porn sites also objected, fearing that such a domain would pave the way for governments -- the United States or repressive regimes abroad -- or even private industry to filter speech that is protected here under the First Amendment.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have introduced legislation that would create a mandatory ".xxx."

The porn industry trade group Free Speech Coalition believes a domain name for kid-friendly sites would be more appropriate.

The whole notion of a segregated domain for .xxx--as if this was somehow a 1-bit question that could be decided on a global basis--has always been fairly silly. On the other hand, it's equally silly to think that somehow creating a separate domain makes porn "more accessible". Domain names aren't like TV channels: having an extra domain name doesn't somehow give you twice as much bandwidth or customer demand. And it's really hard to see how it would "legitimize" porn by labelling it as such. On the third hand, while mandatory labelling of porn would make it easier to censor, there are lots of ways to do that kind of labelling, and it's the mandatoriness that makes it easier, not the existence of the technology for labelling. At the end of the day, it's pretty hard for me to care one way or the other about whether .xxx gets created.


It's hard for me to get exercised about domain disputes of any sort these days. Who remembers (or even looks at) domains anymore? That's what Google's for. (And, as evidence, note that many people don't even check that their bank's domain is correct when phished.)

And they say such a domain name would legitimize adults sites, which two in five internet users visit each month

It seems to me that they're pretty "legitimate" already, then. Apart from Eric's and Hovav's comments, which I agree with, I have to say that the whole idea of declaring pornography to be less than "legitimate" is silly. It's the consumers who define legitimacy, not those who would censor.

Leave a comment