Tell ICANN It SHOULD NOT

Creating a triple-X domain for pornographers to use could well increase the amount of pornography and obscenity on the web and make it even easier for children to come across it. Until May 10, the public can make comments about whether such a domain should be created.

The governing board that controls the Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, otherwise known as ICANN, is once again considering establishing a triple-X domain for pornography. Before ICANN acts, find out what you can do to make sure more pornography doesn’t flood your home.

The creation of a triple-X domain has twice been considered by ICANN and twice been rejected, but it has risen its ugly head once again. While it might seem logical to have an identifying domain on which pornography and obscenity can be put, most people familiar with the porn industry and Internet usage believe it will actually increase the amount of porn on the Internet and make it more available to adults and children.

If you want to have a voice in this issue, ICANN is receiving comments by email, but the time for submitting comments is short; they are due on May 10! If you want to make a comment, you may do so by sending your email to icm-options-report@icann.org.

Here are some thoughts for you consideration, some of which you might want to include in your comment:

  1. Neither ICANN nor the company urging the establishment of this new domain is arguing that the triple-X domain would clean up the .COM domain and require all pornographers to move to the triple-X domain. The .COM domain is a cash cow for pornographers, and they are not leaving it. Since ICANN has no enforcement powers to make them leave the .COM domain, pornographers would simply expand to triple-X and maintain their current .COM sites, perhaps doubling the number of porn sites and doubling their menace to society.
  2. The triple-X domain will not make it easier to filter porn, even if all pornographers would voluntarily move there (and that will not happen). The problem with filtering is not that it is difficult but sadly that too few parents care enough to employ filters for the home or laptop computers used by their children. Even if most parents did use filters on home computers, kids have access to the Internet outside the home.
  3. Since most families do not use effective filtering services, the triple-X domain would merely make hardcore pornography even easier to find for children. Thus the argument that a triple-X domain would benefit children by “cleaning up the Internet” is without any basis in fact.
  4. U.S. citizens should not believe claims by some that the U.S. Congress could merely pass a law requiring all porn companies to leave the .COM domain for the triple-X domain. Any law attempting to force pornographers to relocate to a triple-X domain would likely be declared unconstitutional because under the First Amendment, all pornography is “presumptively protected” by the U.S. Constitution until it has been determined to be “obscene” or “child pornography.” Just as the U.S. Department of Justice cannot force porn stores to move or go out of business because it believes that such stores are operating illegally, the Department cannot force pornographers on the .COM domain to move or go out of business without first charging them with a crime and having a court make a determination of illegality.
  5. Hardcore pornography (or “obscene material,” as it is called in U.S. law) on the Internet is already a violation of U.S law. The point here is that if the U.S. Department of Justice is already not enforcing the laws on the books, what is to make us think they will prosecute pornographers for merely locating in the wrong domain address?
  6. If somehow all porn sites providing obscene material would actually leave the .COM domain for the triple-X domain, they would still be violating U.S. obscenity law, which prohibits such material on the Internet regardless of location. We don’t want to provide the Department of Justice a ready-made excuse to say to illegal porn companies, “As long as you operate under the triple-X domain, we won’t prosecute you for the distribution of your illegal materials.”