Saturday, March 31, 2007

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Baptists, bootleggers, and porn

CNET's Dawn Kawamoto reports that the .xxx registry will not be happening anytime soon:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has rejected a controversial proposal to create a new .xxx domain suffix for adult Web sites.

ICANN on Friday voted 9-5 to deny an application from ICM Registry, which for the past several years has sought to be the registry for adult-content Web sites.

ICANN, which oversees domain names and Internet addresses, decided that ICM's proposal raised too many public-policy concerns and ultimately could change the role of the nonprofit organization.

"ICM's response does not address (the ICANN Government Advisory Committee's) concern for offensive content and similarly avoids the GAC's concern for the protection of vulnerable members of the community," ICANN stated in the meeting. "The board does not believe these public-policy concerns can be credibly resolved with the mechanisms proposed by the applicant."

In the New York Times, Thomas Crampton explains the interesting coalition of interest groups that opposed the .xxx registry:
ICM had argued that creation of the domain would enhance safety for young users by clearly defining .xxx sites as a no-go zone.

Described last week by Paul Twomey, Icann’s chief executive, as “clearly controversial, clearly polarizing,” the issue had been discussed among Internet enthusiasts and on blogs.

Some who objected to the proposal included companies in the sex-related entertainment industry as well as religious groups. The entertainment executives raised fears that use of the domain, although voluntary, could open the way for governments to isolate sex-oriented Web sites into a single part of the Internet.

Religious groups expressed concern that creation of the .xxx domain would serve only to encourage creation of more sex-related content.

Others warned that the move would create a bonanza for ICM Registry, since companies with existing Web sites would be compelled to buy .xxx domain names to prevent someone else from creating sites using their company names.

Political scientists talk about "baptist-bootlegger coalitions" to explain occasions when groups on opposite sides of an issue support the same policy for very different reasons (baptists: naive expression of preferences; Bootleggers: rent-seeking).

In this case, however, the baptists refused to side with the powerful bootlegger.

posted by Dan on 03.31.07 at 08:46 AM


In Lubbock, Texas (at least as of 5 years ago), you had to leave the city limits to buy beer, wine and liquor if you were not ordering a drink in a bar or restaurant. As a result, a strip of stores developed at the outskirts, and every once in a while, there would be a vote to alter the status quo. And each time, the religious folks and the booze store owners on the strip would essentially ally to keep the status quo.

posted by: Steve Saideman on 03.31.07 at 08:46 AM [permalink]

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