.xxx

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Xxx.JPG
country: International
Registry Provider: ICM Registry
Date Implemented: 2011
Type: sponsored top level domain (sTLD)
Community: internet pornography
Key People
Stuart Lawley, Chairman and CEO

.xxx is one of the sponsored top-level domain name (sTLD) delegated in the root zone of the internet Domain Name System (DNS). The TLD is intended for the "online adult-entertainment community." The International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR) is the sponsoring organization and it is responsible in creating policies for the .xxx. IFFOR is a non-profit organization created by ICM Registry, which serves as the registry operator of the domain. [1]

History

.xxx Application during the 2000 ICANN Proof of Concept

ICM Registry proposed the .xxx as non-sponsored generic top-level domain name (gTLD) during the ICANN Proof of Concept round in 2000. ICANN's evaluation team did not recommend the string because of the "controversy surrounding it and the poor
 definition 
of 
the
 hope for 
benefits
 of .xxx." On December 15, 2000, ICM Registry filed a Reconsideration Request with ICANN but no action was rendered. The ICANN Board cited that "no new TLD proposals has been rejected rather a small set of potentially successful applicants had been selected with the aim of testing a diversity of approaches to the creation of new TLDs." [2]

.xxx during the 2003 sTLD Application Process

On December 15, 2003, the ICANN Board published a Request For Proposal (RFP) for new sTLDs after conducting public comments and extensive discussions within the different stakeholders within the ICANN community. ICM Registry submitted a proposal for.xxx on March 16 2004. IFFOR was named as the sponsoring organization, which will be responsible in developing policies for the proposed TLD. On August 2004, the Independent Review Panel evaluated ICM's application and reported to the ICANN Board that the the company failed to meet the baseline sponsorship criteria for sTLD.[3] Following the report, the ICANN Board approved a resolution allowing sTLD applicants to additional information to resolve the concerns raised by IRP in the report. On October 2004, ICM Registry started submitting additional documents to strengthen its application. ICM Registry was invited to make a presentation on April 3, 2005.[4]

Following the presentation, a special meeting was conducted by the ICANN Board on May 3, 2005 and discussed whether the sponsored community baseline criteria was met or not by ICM Registry. The Board decided to further discuss the issue on another meeting. [5]

On June 1, 2005, the ICANN Board tasked ICANN President Paul Twomey and General Counsel Jon Jeffrey to negotiate the proposed commercial and technical terms for a contractual agreement in connection with the delegation of .xxx sTLD.[6]

On September 5, 2005, the proposed contractual agreement for .xxx sTLD was submitted to the ICANN Board for approval. It was also posted on ICANN's website. Significant number of comments, correspondences and inquiries from the internet and community were received by the Board relating to the contract. The Board directed the ICANN President and the General Counsel to discuss the possible additional contractual provisions or modifications for the .xxx Registry Agreemet to ensure the development and implementation of policies consistent with the principles of ICM Registry application.[7]

Several revisions were submitted and negotiations were made on the .xxx Registry Agreement between September 15, 2005 until January 5, 2007. Extensive comments and advice were also received from global internet community and from the GAC, which were evaluated by the ICANN Board. On March 30, 2007, the ICANN Board denied the ICM Registry application citing that the company failed to meet the Sponsored Community criteria set forth in the RFP, the .xxx sTLD raised public policy, approval of the Registry Agreement will not resolve the issue raised by GAC such as offensive content and protection of vulnerable members of the community, the application raises significant law enforcement issues in different countries and the application poses a possibility that ICANN might be forced to assume an ongoing management and oversight role regarding Internet content, which is inconsistent with its technical mandate.[8]

Independent Review Proceedings

ICM Registry contested the resolution of the Board and submitted a request for Independent Review Panel proceeding on June 6, 2008.Entities may request for an IRP to resolve allegations that the ICANN Board acted or decided inconsistent with the organizations Articles of Incorporation. The IRP is a final appeal to ensure transparency and since the establishment of ICANN, ICM Registry was the first entity to utilize this provision. ICM complained that ICANN exceeded its mission during the evaluation process and violated the its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The internet governing body improperly administered the 2003 RFP process for sTLD and its decision lacks transparency and discriminatory. In addition, the company alleged that ICANN . [9]

ICANN Responded on Septemebr 8, 2008 and argued that ICM's allegations are false. The internet governing body pointed out that ICANN's evaluation on ICM's application was more open and transparent, the negotiations conducted on June 1, 2005 was not binding to assure approval of the Registry agreement. ICANN tried to work closely with ICM to resolve the problems in the application however, the ICANN Board believed that the underlying problems will not be resolved by awarding a contract. ICANN strongly emphasized that the decision was made in good faith to deny ICM's application.[10]

Both parties submitted their briefing papers and testimonies to the three-member IRP which was handled by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the AAA. On February 19, 2010, the IRP ruled in favor of ICM. Two of the panelist agreed that ICM met the criteria for sponsorship citing that, "the Board’s reconsideration of that finding was not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy." The opinion of the other panelist was contrary. He said that ICM did not meet the sTLD sponsorship requirements and ICANN carried out its decision with transparency.[11] Moreover, the declaration of the IRP is not a binding order rather an advisory or recommendation for the ICANN Board to consider as stated on Article IV Section 3(15) of the ICANN Bylaws stating that, "Where feasible, the Board shall consider the IRP declaration at the Board's next meeting."[12]

On March 12, 2010, ICANN Board considered the IRP declaration and delegated the ICANN CEO and General Counsel to develop a final report for possible process options to be posted on the website.[13] The ICANN Board received and evaluated 13,700 comments regarding the process options. On June 25, 2010, the ICANN Board to accept the majority recommendation of the IRP and directed the ICANN Staff to ensure that the ICM application is still current and no changes have been made to the company's qualifications.In addition, the ICANN Staff was also authorized to develop a contract with ICM to be reviewed by the Board to ensure that it is consistent with GAC's advice, if not, consultation with GAC will be done prior to approval of the contract.[14] On August 5, 2010, the proposed Registry Agreement was posted for public comments.[15] ICANN's chairman initiated a consultation process with GAC Chair regarding the proposed ICM Registry Agreement.Prior to the schedule personal consultation, GAC sent a letter to ICANN stating that it has no active support for the introduction of the .xxx string and governments might take actions to prohibit internet access to the TLD, which is a threat to the universal stability of the DNS.[16]

During the ICANN 40 meeting in San Francisco on March 2011, the ICANN Board approved the ICM application .XXX Approved at ICANN 40</ref> and .xxx was delegated to the root zone of the DNS on June.[17]

.xxx Sponsored Community

References