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Porn industry, Christian lobby unite against .xxx domain
June 28, 2010
10:11 am
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rath
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Updated 1 hour 51 minutes ago

The pornography industry and the Christian conservative lobby have united in opposition to a proposal to create a new domain name catering specifically for pornography on the internet.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - responsible for domain names and categories globally - has given conditional approval for a .xxx domain category.

The decision would create a .xxx domain for pornography alongside already existing domain categories like .com, .com.au, and .net.

The long-awaited decision comes at the end of vigorous lobby by a company called ICM Registry, which is set to make $30 million a year from the new domain addresses.

It says it has 110,000 pre-sales from sites keen to adopt the .xxx domain.

ICM Registry argues that filtering out harmful pornography will be made easier and segregating the internet will allow people to exclude adult entertainment.

For example, an internet filter could easily be set to block all .xxx domains to help protect children.

However, an unlikely alliance has formed between the Australian pornography industry the Australian Christian Lobby in opposition to the new domain category.

Sex industry lobby group the Eros Foundation is strongly opposed to the new domain, arguing that an .xxx domain would "ghettoise" the sex industry.

Eros Foundation spokeswoman Fiona Patten says the adult industry worldwide does not support the domain.

"[ICANN] is also asking a third party that is not involved in the industry to decide what is suitable for .xxx and what is not, and so particularly for the American industry, this is an absolute anathema for them - to have someone decide what they can and can't show," she said.

Ms Patten says the new domain would not be a huge help to filtering as it would not keep pornography segregated to just one domain.

".xxx won't put sexual explicit material or pornography into one area. The dot coms will still exist," she said.

"You have got to decide internationally what is deemed suitable for adults only and that would vary from country to country."

'Legitimising pornography'

Meanwhile, Australian Christian Lobby spokesman Lyle Shelton says the group opposes the new domain because it sees it as further legitimising the pornography industry.

"Anything which further mainstreams and legitimises the porn trade is obviously not a healthy thing for children," he said.

"It is not a healthy thing for the wider society because it just continues to take us down this path where profiting off naked young women continues to gather acceptance in our society and of course we are seeing the pornification of culture seeping into our everyday lives."

He says he hopes all online pornography will be banned in Australia through an internet service provider-based filter.

"We don't have a proper ISP-based internet filter in place as yet. What the Government has on the table is for refused classification material, so we have got a long way to go," he said.

Along with the Christian lobby group and pornography industry, the Australian Government has long been opposed to the domain category.

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) says the campaign to create a .xxx domain has been running since 2004.

IIA spokesman Peter Coroneos says the justification of creating the .xxx domain is no longer valid as PC-based filtering technology has vastly improved since 2004.

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