Religious Group Tries Letter-Writing Campaign to Topple .XXX

Apr 6, 2010 12:00 PM PST
CAROL STREAM, Ill. — A nonprofit religious group on Monday debuted an online letter-writing initiative for the public to voice opposition to the .XXX sTLD proposal.

Using an editable electronic form letter that is sent directly to ICANN, the Illinois Family Institute hopes to sway the board of the Internet domain name overseer to nix .XXX when it comes up for a vote in late June at its Brussels meeting.

The group's executive director told XBIZ that within just one day "hundreds" have filled out the form that has been forwarded to ICANN.

David E. Smith, the Illinois Family Institute's executive director said that .XXX has been on the group's radar for more than five years.

"The first and foremost reason why we are making this move is that .XXX would promote the legitimacy of porn," he said. "But the truth is that the vast majority of porn is obscene, and there is overwhelming opposition in this country and abroad.

"A .XXX domain will increase the amount of porn on the Internet and make it more available to both adults and children. We hope to have thousands of letters in opposition to .XXX sent to ICANN's board before its vote."

The Illinois Family Institute's plea on its site includes a letter from Patrick Trueman, who formerly led the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity unit and is considered a "good friend" of the organization.

Trueman said in the letter that "there is also absolutely no evidence that any good would come of [.XXX] ... It appears that the company proposing it is merely seeking enrichment at the expense of the public."

Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, said that the consensus on both sides of the fence is that .XXX would be just bad policy.

"Rarely do we find ourselves on the same side of an issues as anti-adult industry groups but it would seem that nobody likes the idea of a sponsored .XXX TLD except, of course, Stuart Lawley."

Lawley is the architect of .XXX who stands to gain financially if ICANN's board gives it the green light. If approved, his company, ICM Registry, would become the gatekeeper for the sTLD, requiring it to monitor registrant compliance with content site-labeling requirements.

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