Porn Websites Get Go Ahead for .xxx Domain Suffix - Technologist
Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Porn Websites Get Go Ahead for .xxx Domain Suffix

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

Pornography web sites have finally been given the green light to establish the .xxx suffix for their domain names, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Names (ICAAN) .

Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Well, not surprisingly, the reception has been mixed.

While, on the one hand, one might think that the pornography industry would be in favor of the .xxx suffix as an easy way to categorize and find their sites, there actually has been some backlash. Indeed, industry members have expressed concern in the media that by being grouped within the .xxx domain suffix, those sites potentially could be on the receiving end of censorship from certain governments and other types of regulation.

They also have voiced that they now may have to register .xxx domains to protect their names and trademarks contained within their current .com domain names so as not to allow others to register their names and marks using the .xxx suffix.

Some opponents of pornography also have expressed discontent. They worry that the .xxx suffix makes it even easier for people to seek out and find "smut" on the Internet.

But, of course, there are people in favor of the .xxx suffix. Their argument is that it is good to provide an easy to understand suffix that makes plain that a site with the .xxx suffix contains adult content. While that naturally makes it easy for people who want that content to find it, the opposite also is true - people who do not want to view pornography can avoid and even filter out .xxx Web sites.

And, of course, there is money to be made.

Over 200,000 .xxx domain names reportedly have been registered already, with each such registration costing $60 annually. ICM Registry will oversee the .xxx domain process, and certainly is not complaining about recent developments.

It will be interesting to see whether sites that truly are not related to adult content will also seek to register .xxx domains, perhaps to try to spice up their image or gain greater traffic or attention.

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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