Trademark owners can block misuse in .xxx domain

ICM Registry says it has received 900,000 expressions of interest for .xxx domain names

Trademark owners can prevent their names from being misused in the new .xxx top-level domain by blocking these names, ICM Registry, the Florida-based registry operator for the .xxx top-level domain said.

As the .xxx domain is a domain reserved for adult entertainment, some trademark owners may not wish to be associated with it. The domain was created earlier this year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which determines which top-level domains can exist and who will manage them.

The .xxx domain is one of the sponsored top-level domains set up to represent a specific community, and which have a sponsor in charge of policy formulation over matters concerning the domain. ICANN delegated the management of .xxx to sponsor ICM under a registry agreement.

ICM Registry said Sunday that it was giving owners of registered trademarks and IP holders, who do not want to figure in the .xxx domain, a period called Sunrise B between Sept. 7 and Oct. 28 to opt out and block the registration of their trade names in the .xxx domain. This is also the period, called Sunrise A, when applicants who are trademark owners and other IP (intellectual property) holders can apply for .xxx domain names.

At the close of the Sunrise Period, if no conflicting application by a Sunrise A applicant has been made, the names "will be reserved from registration (blocked)," ICM said on its website.

It said it is working closely with individual domain registrars who are handling the registration and exemption process for .xxx.

However if both Sunrise A and Sunrise B applicants want the same domain name, priority will be given to the qualified Sunrise A applicant to register the domain name, ICM said. The Sunrise A applicant will have received notice of Sunrise B applicant's interest in the domain name and cannot claim lack of notice in any subsequent dispute between Sunrise A and Sunrise B applicants, it added.

The service to trademark owners wanting to opt out comes at a one-time fee, though the company did not specify the amount. This service is without annual fees, and will only be available to rights owners during the restricted Sunrise period, it added.

After the close of the Sunrise period, a "Land Rush period" will run for 18 days during which businesses from the adult entertainment industry will have premium access to the remaining .xxx web addresses. The next stage will be general availability of the remaining .xxx web addresses.

The .xxx domain has drawn criticism from conservative and religious groups, as well as owners of pornography sites, who hold that a .xxx domain for adult entertainment may be segregated by other websites who will avoid linking to them, and will invite censorship in some countries.

ICM said it had received 900,000 expressions of interest for .xxx domain names.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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