PVV’s open letter to ICANN

So I have written quite a bit about ICM Registry’s proposed sTLD .XXX over the past few months – you’d think after this many years these characters would give up, but alas you would be grossly mistaken in this instance.  Ordinarily I really admire perseverance, but in this case it’s just irritating! (need to catch up? click here or here)

Anyway, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently opened up a public comment period for people to express their opinions and concerns about .XXX.  Under the auspices of being all doctor-like and scholarly, I just submitted my own series of comments to ICANN expressing my concern over the problematic sTLD.

I know you’re curious, so here’s the letter I wrote to ICANN (almost verbatim):

“September 14, 2010

Dear ICANN,

Hello! My name is Dr. Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, and I am writing to you to express my concern over and opposition to ICM Registry’s proposed .XXX sTLD.

First off, I would like to let you know that I am an assistant professor of Sociology at XXX University and a professional member of the adult online community — the party most impacted by the ICANN Board’s decision.

I maintain a blog called Porn Valley Vantage (or PVV at www.pornvalleyvantage.com).  PVV is committed to the critical discussion of all issues impacting the adult production industry and the persons working therein.  PVV does not produce content or contain nudity or sexually explicit imagery.  It is an academically rigorous blog informed by my research on the adult industry and my experiences working with persons therein.

However, simply the willingness to discuss adult content and the adult production industry as culturally significant dimensions of our social world in a public online forum is enough induce a measure of the social stigma and discrimination members of the adult community experience on a daily basis.  For this reason, I identify my self and my work as part of the professional adult online community.

Here are some of the problematic issues with ICM Registry’s proposed .XXX sTLD as I see them –

1. ICM Registry is attempting to insert their “services” into a space that members of the adult online community already have covered.  The adult entertainment community already has an entity through which internet publishers and others can self-identify as a responsible global online adult entertainment community (the Free Speech Coalition and its code of ethics).  Why is an additional party necessary, and what additional “better” services might an outside for-profit entity claim to offer the adult entertainment community and the wider community of adult consumers, regulators, and the general public?

2. I have already attempted to register with ICM Registry (as a little experiment), but this most certainly DOES NOT mean I want a .XXX domain name.  In fact, outside of being curious as to what exactly the pre-registration process entailed, my main reason for pre-registering was to ensure that others did not get to my domain name first.  Entrapping persons and businesses to pre-register in an attempt to protect business interests does not point to support.  I urge you all to consider how many pre-registrations have been submitted with this very same logic in mind.

3. I am concerned about who exactly is developing the regulations and standards for .XXX.  To my understanding, there has been a complete lack of transparency on the part of ICM Registry surrounding the names of IFFOR Board members and Policy Council members who will develop regulations for the .XXX sTLD.  Who are these persons, who selected them, and what are their qualifications?

Moreover, as I understand it, adult businesses would be required to agree to comply with “IFFOR Policies and Best Practices Guidelines” in order to purchase a relatively pricey .XXX domain name; however these guidelines have yet to be created.  How possibly can people be expected to agree to such completely undefined terms?

Members of ICANN, I urge you to please consider these issues (and certainly there are many others).  If ICM Registry were to come with such a proposal for lawyers, construction workers, or even bloggers (for example), I doubt very seriously that the mechanics of the .XXX proposal would hold.  In fact, I feel very strongly that the main reason ICM Registry has offered up such an incomplete, presumptuous, and discriminatory proposal is directly related to the wider cultural marginalization of adult.  People have very mixed, often strong feelings about adult content and production, but this does not mean that this industry or its members warrant discrimination, entrapment, or ghettoization.  In fact, they deserve that very same protections and civil liberties we offer other humans and other industries.

Please help put an end to discrimination and what amounts to a thinly-veiled ploy to further marginalize the adult industry (and make a pretty penny in the meantime).

Sincerely,

Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD”

Well, what do you think?  Tell me! Or better yet, tell ICANN.  You can email your comments to them at xxx-revised-icm-agreement@icann.org.  Make sure you get to it soon though, bebes! – the open comment period ends on September 23, 2010.

And if 1) you are a professional member of the online adult community and 2) are struggling with your letter to ICANN in opposition of .XXX, you may borrow any of the text from my letter if it helps you (you may not use any of my text if you are not both 1 and 2 – sorry, but I’m gonna be a bitch like that in this case).

Questions? Comments? Email me!

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You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”