Time for a .xxx domain?

Having a specific domain name category gives an individual the power to decide whether or not to view adult content on the Web, says an industry observer.

Eric J. Sinrod, partner, Duane Morris
perspective There's no use in hiding from the truth. Adult content, including explicit sexual pornography, runs rampant on the Internet.

Internet users can implement specific searches looking for such content and, normally, they will find what they are looking for. Other times, people inadvertently will stumble onto such explicit content when searching for something else. Indeed, while a domain name may give one the impression that the site is suitable for a general audience of all ages, it may well turn out that the site displays graphic sexual content that is inappropriate for minors and for adults not wishing to view such content. So, what to do?

One proposed concept has been a .xxx Internet domain for sex-oriented Web sites. Just like .com is designed for businesses, .gov for government, and .edu for educational institutions, the idea behind .xxx is that there would be a specific domain name category for adult Web sites with sexual content. Internet users could more easily judge, based on seeing a .xxx domain name, what kind of content a site would feature before even clicking on a link to it.

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is awaiting recommendations from a particular committee that is evaluating this proposal. ICANN had been proceeding with its evaluation of the proposal until the U.S. Department of Commerce sought more time to hear objections.

Internet users could more easily judge, based on seeing a .xxx domain name, what kind of content a site would feature before even clicking on a link to it.

ICANN cannot move forward without Commerce Department approval. At this point, it is not clear when the proposal will be fully and finally evaluated.

The proposal has had its share of critics. Some of them claim that a .xxx domain would provide legitimacy to the pornography industry. Supporters claim that a .xxx domain would make it easier for people to filter out content they do not want.

Time will tell in terms of where this all is heading. Your humble author believes that information is power. Namely, if one knows in advance the type of content displayed on a Web site by way of a domain name designation, that individual then has the power and free will to decide whether or not to view that content. That is better than stumbling onto content that does meet one's standards of suitability and taste.

Biography
Eric J. Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris. His focus includes information technology and intellectual property disputes. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of Sinrod's law firm or its individual partners.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All