.XXX Domains

Thursday 18th August 2011

A sponsored top level domain (sTLD) has recently been approved by ICANN, intended for sites which contain explicit materials. The .xxx domain is to be used on a voluntary basis. The sponsoring organisation behind the sTDL is the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (“the Sponsored Community”), which fosters the idea that .xxx domains will facilitate the identification and blocking of such sites to prevent viewing by minors. Rather than filtering content - an often haphazard approach to preventing viewing of certain internet content - the .xxx domain would allow the entire .xxx sTDL to be blocked. Opponents argue that as the use of the .xxx domain is voluntary, explicit material will still be available throughout the internet.

From a registration perspective, unless there is reason for a party to believe that their name or brand may be registered as a .xxx domain and used by a third party in order to display offensive material, this cyber development is unlikely to be an issue. It is however possible to “block” your registered trade mark from being used in a .xxx domain name. The domain name will then resolve to a plain page which states that the domain name has been reserved.
Registrations will occur in four tranches:

  • Sunrise A: Those who own an adult industry trade mark and become members of the Sponsored Community and wish to register a .xxx domain name, or those who own existing global top level domains (gTDLs) or country code top level domains (ccTDLs) and who wish to register the same domain name as a .xxx domain name (7 September 2011 for a period of 30 days).
  • Sunrise B: Those who own a trade mark outside the adult industry and wish to block use of their trade mark with .xxx domain names (Also run from 7 September 2011 for a period of 30 days).
  • Landrush: From 24 October 2011 for 10 days those who are members of the Sponsored Community can register domains.
  • General availability: From 6 December 2011 the .xxx domains will become generally available.
  • Sunrise A applications will have priority over the Sunrise B applications.

 
If you would like to discuss further the possibility of registering or blocking a .xxx domain name, please contact us.


Article written with assistance by Chloe Barker.

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