March 26, 2004
by Nick Morgan
March 26, 2004 10:06 AM
There is no shortage of people offended by internet porn, but would relegating porn sites to .xxx domains offend the First Amendment? Mr. Ichiban thinks not.
Let's not forget the technical and legal problems involved with adopting a .xxx top-level domain: companies like new.net and youcann.org already provide "alternative" domain extensions, and when the ICANN makes these official extensions, there are conflicts between the registries.
While New.net is not an "offical, government sponsored" registrar, they still have support for their domains on some 175 million computers worldwide. Several thousand (I would imagine) customers have paid $30/year for blah.xxx domains, and ICANN is under no obligation to recognize those registrations.
So, if I registered "ryanjensen.xxx" from New.net, I would be forced to re-register (and re-pay for) the domain from an accredited registrar should ICANN take it over. The same thing happened when ICANN took .biz from YouCANN.org.
I am not so sure the free-speech impact is so limited. There will be pressure for ISPs and other private actors to block all .xxx sites. As a result, people whose sites are classified by the government as porn will want to contest the classification.
First question: what do you mean by porn?
Second: when your government official classifies a site as "porn", on what grounds can the site owner challenge the classification?
Third: at what point will you make the determination that it's a "porn" site? When the domain is registered? At any time? Will there be a government spider out there looking for images, and alerting investigators when it finds images it thinks are porn?
1) I had in mind the Miller obscenity test, but since someone rightly pointed out there is a "community standards" prong in that test, I think it would be ok for Congress to specify certain non-controversial elements that could be labeled "porn."
2) Sites could be challenged the way regulatory agency decisions are challenged now: file a complaint with the FCC.
3) If someone wants to take a chance with a .com, but complaints are filed (or the gov't spiders the site), then a determination can be made to move to another suffix.
Like I said, I think many sites would not challenge the classification because they would like the added "hardcore" label of .xxx or something. A .adult label could also be less stigmatizing. And if an ISP wants to make money, then it will listen to its customers and not block these suffixes.
Porn accentuate disparity of beauty. It's in a sense the opposite of burga. In consensual society, porn allows pretty girls to out evolve the ugly ones. So ugly bitches hate porn.