ICANN has just published the proposed contract for ICM Registry’s porn-only .xxx top-level domain, and over a dozen supporting documents.
Another 30-day public comment period is now underway, which will likely see more concerted efforts by the Free Speech Coalition and its accidental allies on the religious right to have .xxx killed off.
It will also be interesting to see whether the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee decides to chip in with its $0.02.
The GAC has always been wary of the .xxx application and remains the tallest hurdle to jump before the TLD has a chance of being approved.
There’s a lot of information in these documents, including much more detail on IFFOR, the International Foundation For Online Responsibility, which will set the TLD’s policies.
I’m going to bury my nose in these docs, and will provide an update later if I find anything interesting, which seems likely.
ICANN has given an unprecedented glimpse into the workings of its board of directors, with the release of hundreds of pages of staff briefing papers.
But the documents are quite heavily redacted, particularly when it comes to some of the more controversial topics.
The documents show what ICANN staffers told the board in the run-up to the Nairobi and Brussels meetings, dealing with important decisions such as .xxx and internationalized domain names.
The Brussels decision to put .xxx back on the track to approval sees more than its fair share of blacked-out text, but the documents do show that ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey’s recommendations were pretty much in line with how the board eventually voted.
Other topics seeing redaction include the implementation of DNSSEC at the root, the activities of the Internet Governance Forum, and specific discussion of IDN ccTLD delegations.
Some topics are deemed so sensitive that even the titles of the pages have been blacked out. But in at least one case somebody apparently forgot to redact the title from the PDF’s internal bookmarks.
So we know, for example, that a section entitled “Chronological-History-ICM” is deemed entirely unpublishable, even though ICANN has previously published a document with pretty much the same title (pdf).
Two ICANN board members voted against the recent resolution to grant Arabic top-level domains to Palestine, Jordan and Tunisia, it has emerged.
While the resolutions approving internationalized domain names for Singapore and Thailand were carried unanimously and without discussion, the three Arabic-script IDNs were discussed and received two negative votes and three abstentions.
So which two board members voted against these ccTLDs and why?
Beats me. The IDN ccTLD fast track process is one area where ICANN is quite secretive, and the report does not break down the substance of the discussion or the identities of the directors.
Strangely, two resolutions I would consider much more controversial faced less opposition.
The report shows that the resolution passing ICM Registry’s .xxx domain to the next stage of approval was carried unanimously, and that only one director voted against the .jobs amendment.
ERE.net has more on the .jobs story.
The fight between ICM Registry and the Free Speech Coalition over the proposed .xxx top-level domain is not over yet.
The porn trade group has a plan to block ICM’s passage through the ICANN process, and has already stepped up efforts to rally the adult entertainment industry to its cause.
Last weekend at the AVN Show in Florida, FSC chair Diane Duke reportedly said:
ICM is saying this is a done deal… but it is not a done deal. We [the FSC] have a strategy to block the application. I have spoken with people from ICANN, and they agreed that this is not a done deal.
Asked whether lawsuits would be required, Duke reportedly answered: “There are other avenues to block this.”
These comments and others suggest that the FSC intends to use ICANN processes to, at the very least, delay .xxx’s delegation.
A public comment period will be launched soon on the proposed ICM-ICANN registry contract. This will likely be oversubscribed by FSC supporters.
If the contract ends up being bounced to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee for consideration, there’s another opportunity for FSC lobbying.
Then, crucially, if ICANN votes to approve .xxx, the FSC could attempt to temporarily block the actual delegation to the DNS root by filing a Reconsideration Request.
Under my reading of the Reconsideration procedure, the actual delegation of the TLD could be delayed by anything between 30 and 120 days. Possibly longer.
The FSC would need to show at the very least that it would be harmed by .xxx’s introduction. If successful, the best case scenario for the FSC would see the resolution approving .xxx bounced back to the ICANN board for a second vote.
Beyond that, there’s always an Independent Review Panel. For that, the FSC would need to show that the .xxx approval breached ICANN’s bylaws or articles of incorporation, which seems to me to be a more challenging proposition. Also very expensive.
Another interesting quote from the AVN article – reportedly Allan Gelbard, lawyer to John “Buttman” Stagliano, said that the adult industry may be unduly worrying because:
anti-trust and trademark legal challenges would be brought immediately following the final approval by the ICANN board
Make of that what you will.
To be honest, the funniest thing about it for me was the decision to cast a handsome, shiny-toothed American anchorman type as British ICM president Stuart Lawley.
Bring on the Christians!
The contract between ICANN and ICM Registry to run the .xxx adults-only top-level domain is to be submitted for an ICANN public comment period, again.
ICANN’s board resolved yesterday to publish the proposed registry agreement for comment for at least 30 days.
But it has not yet decided whether to refer the deal to its Governmental Advisory Committee, which remains ICM’s major potential pitfall on its route to the root.
As long as the public comment period kicks off quite soon, the ICANN board could be in a position to make that call at its weekend retreat, September 24.
The .xxx application has generated more public comment over the years than all other ICANN public comment periods combined.
Its last such period, earlier this year, saw thousands of comments, most of them filed in response to outreach by right-wing American Christian groups.
Objections are also regularly received from members of the Free Speech Coalition, a porn trade group.
I expect this forum will be no different. It will be interesting to see what tactics are rolled out this time, given previous failures.
Here’s the meat of the latest resolution:
RESOLVED (2010.08.05.21), upon receipt of ICM’s application documentation, ICANN Staff is authorized to post ICM’s supporting documents and proposed registry agreement for the .XXX sTLD for public comment for a period of no less than 30 days.
RESOLVED (2010.08.05.22), upon completion of public comment period, ICANN Staff shall provide the Board with a summary of the public comments and shall make a recommendation to the Board as to whether the proposed registry agreement for the .XXX sTLD is consistent with GAC advice.
RESOLVED (2010.08.05.23), once the Board has received the above public comment summary and recommendation from the ICANN Staff regarding the proposed registry agreement for the .XXX sTLD, the Board shall at its next possible meeting, consider this recommendation, and determine, consistent with the ICANN Bylaws, whether a GAC consultation shall be required.