Now What? Video of .XXX Seminar at Phoenix Forum
Well, here it is – the much anticipated video of the “.XXX – Now What?” seminar that was presented at webmaster trade conference The Phoenix Forum, on April 2. As you’ll see, the discussion was “lively,” to say the least – or down right hostile, especially after ICM Registry’s Vaughn Liley seemed unable to adequately answer questions posed by a packed house of adult webmasters.
The confusion expressed over .XXX and its IFFOR regulatory board’s policies and bylaws by webmasters and ICM’s representatives is remarkable, considering the nearly decade-long push by ICM to get the “sponsored” Top Level Domain approved by domain regulator ICANN.
It also is important to note that The Phoenix Forum is a long-established, well-attended adult online trade conference – with reported record attendance this year – it should be assumed that the majority of U.S. adult online business owners were either at the conference or had company representatives there. If the hostility and confusion expressed at this seminar represents the opinions of a cross-section of the U.S. adult online community, how is it possible for ICM Registry to claim that the .XXX domain is supported by this community?
Clearly, the concerns over online ghetto-ization, censorship, unnecessary fees, potential regulatory issues, cyber-squatting, payment processing, and trademark infringement – just to name a few – are hugely threatening to all adult online businesses.
Forty-four minutes into the video, Liley refers to the mainstream media reports following the approval of .XXX on March 18 at the ICANN 40 Conference in San Francisco, and specifically, the reports on the Indian government’s announcement that they will be the first to block the .XXX domain. Liley implies that the media coverage .XXX has received will lead to increased traffic for webmasters (combined with a marketing campaign financed by ICM). But what he fails to elaborate on is that much of the news following the approval of .XXX was negative – at best, referring to .XXX as “unnecessary” with many media analysts implying that the domain scheme amounts to nothing more than a money grab (FSC has links to many articles stating as such in publications like Forbes, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, etc.).
Later in the video, around 1:39, Liley is questioned about the potential for ICM to spider content on .XXX sites (and .coms that are linked to .XXX addresses) and other authentication verification procedures. His reply prompts catcalls of “liar” and “criminal” from the audience.
The panel was moderated by Wasteland.com founder Colin Rowntree. Representatives for pro-.XXX interests were ICM Liley and GEC Media’s Gregory Dumas. Representing the anti-.XXX side were Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas, FSC Board member and journalist Tom Hymes and FSC Board Chair and attorney Jeffrey Douglas. Mikandi’s Chris Lewicki, Wildline’s Chris Miller and CCBill’s Ron Caldwell also sat on the panel.
We suggest that you use headphones to listen to this video, due to the poor acoustics of the seminar venue.
All adult businesses have an online presence at this point, so this is an important issue for the whole industry, from online content providers to adult online retail sites to payment processors; we encourage you to watch and judge for yourself.
In related news: ICANN and ICM Registry finalized the contract for the .XXX domain on April Fool’s Day. How appropriate.
FSC’s advice to adult online businesses? Stay .COM – just say “NO” to .XXX – jc
Webmasters Show Lack of Support for .XXX at Phoenix Forum
ICANN and ICM Registry finalized the contract for the .XXX “sponsored” top level domain on April 1; the news was announced on ICANN’s blog in a post by ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey.
At the same time, popular adult webmaster trade show Phoenix Forum was taking place in Tempe, AZ. A seminar was schedule at the show for April 2, titled “.XXX – Now What?” With reported record attendance at the show, many longtime, established webmasters and adult online business owners were present and attended the seminar.
In its original announcement, no representatives of ICM Registry were scheduled to appear on the .XXX panel. But after some last minute speaker-juggling, ICM’s Vaughn Liley and GEC Media’s Greg Dumas agreed to speak on the panel, on behalf of .XXX.
That’s when the real Q&A started. To kick off the seminar, the floor was opened to questions from the audience, many of which were anxious to know about ICM’s policies and bylaws for .XXX and its IFFOR regulatory committee. This article from XBIZ.com illustrates what followed after Liley was unable to satisfactorily answer several audience members’ questions.
Though Liley attempted to appease the audience with “shout-out” answers to some questions, the article says that he “would have been better off putting his hand in a fishbowl full of piranhas.”
FSC Executive Director also was in attendance at the .XXX seminar and pointed out to Liley several inconsistencies in his answers regarding ICM’s bylaws. The reaction of the assembled adult webmasters and online business owners was no surprise to FSC.
“It was clear at this seminar that adult industry professionals have had enough with ICM’s smoke and mirrors approach to the truth. ICM has seriously underestimate the adult entertainment industry’s ability to recognize a bad deal when they see it,” said Duke. “I’m going to have to agree with Greg Dumas when he said… ‘Just don’t buy it!’”
(Photo: Courtesy of the Smithsonian)
Update: CalOSHA, AHF’s Campaign to Mandate Condoms
Since 2009, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been waging a campaign against the adult industry in order to mandate regulations for condom use on adult production sets.
Shortly after AHF began filing complaints against AIM (AIM Medical Associates), several adult industry talent agencies and production companies, FSC started working with CalOSHA to develop industry-appropriate regulation. In an effort to protect the rights and safety of performers and the business interests of adult industry producers, we have been working with OSHA compliance experts, industry stakeholders and CalOSHA to develop new regulations.
One of the complaints filed by AHF in September has resulted in Hustler/LFP being fined more than $14,000 for violating condom regulations, and Forsaken Productions cited for more than $12,000 in violations.
“CalOSHA is once again responding to complaints, not from performers, but from AHF – a media-hungry nonprofit famous for frivolous lawsuits, preposterous protests and perpetual press conferences, ” said FSC Executive Director Diane Duke. “At a time when the adult entertainment industry is working, in earnest, to develop industry-appropriate regulations, CalOSHA would do well to stay away from this kind of political grandstanding.”
If you are seeking information about the latest on CalOSHA and proposed workplace safety regulations, please contact (818) 348-9373, or email@example.com.
Also, FSC has an exclusive publication available to members, and for a small fee to other industry businesses: ”Health and Safety Manual for Adult Businesses,” which gives you information on compliance with basic CalOSHA regulations and can be kept on-hand at your office or worksite.
The next medical meeting of CalOSHA’s Board of Directors addressing adult industry regulation, will be held on June 7th, at CalTrans building, 100 S. Main St. in downtown Los Angeles, at 10am. This meeting is open to the public.
FSC will continue to update the latest developments with CalOSHA, Please, follow us here at the FSC Blog, or @FSCArmy.
(Photo: Courtesy of Gariey Sia)
Gamma Entertainment Supports Efforts Against .XXX
Our friends at Gamma Entertainment have pledged to donate funding to FSC and support our efforts to protect adult online businesses from censorship and many other pitfalls associated with the .XXX sTLD.
For many online businesses, Gamma’s actions highlight the dilemma that has resulted from the .XXX domains being foisted on the industry. We understand that many online adult companies feel that they are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation regarding purchasing .XXX addresses in order to protect their brands. Gamma has said it will buy a limited number of .XXX addresses so that they can protect their brands, but will continue to focus on development of their .com properties – and Gamma will match the dollar-for-dollar amount spent on .XXX addresses with a donations to FSC and other anti-.XXX advocacy groups.
“This ruling has sparked great debate in our industry, with many companies divided on the issue. After much consideration, we feel confident that the positive efforts we put forth to protect freedom of speech will outweigh any domains registered to protect our business assets.” Gamma President Karl Bernard said.
FSC appreciates the acknowledgement and support of Gamma. “The fact that adult businesses do not want ICM’s .XXX TLD is being expressed on a number of fronts,” said FSC Executive Director Diane Duke. “Thank you to the folks at Gamma for their support of, and confidence in, FSC’s opposition to .XXX.”
(Graphic: Courtesy of XBIZ.com)
FSC Launches Anti-.XXX Campaign: .XXX, A Bad Investment — Just Say NO!
Free Speech Coalition (FSC) announced today that it is launching an anti – .XXX campaign and urges adult online businesses to not buy into the newly-approved .XXX sTLD.
“Collectively, adult businesses understand that .ICM’s .XXX is bad for the adult entertainment industry. FSC is launching this campaign thus continuing its effort to rid the industry of this hazard. We are encouraging adult businesses to Just Say ‘NO’ to .XXX,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said.
“But FSC acknowledges and respects that, when push comes to shove, businesses need to do what they think is best for their company,” Duke added. “That is why adult companies need to know the implications of purchasing .XXX domain names and why buying .XXX could be the worst investment they’ll ever make.”
To help explain the potential pitfalls of the new .XXX sTLD, FSC has developed a list of bullet points highlighting some of the most serious issues for adult online businesses, and why they should avoid .XXX altogether:
- .XXX costs at least 10 times what your .coms cost (recent numbers thrown out are $70-$75/per domain name).
- Just 5 days after .XXX passed, India blocked .XXX with the promise of more countries like Australia, Germany to follow — instantly de-valuing your costly .XXX domain names.
- sTLDs have a proven history of failure — even ones that are not blocked by entire countries and have their industry’s support ( .Travel anyone???).
- High traffic websites will be leery of linking to your site, fearful of themselves being blocked or having dead links in blocking countries.
- All registrants of .XXX must agree to third-party automated monitoring of their sites for compliance of IFFOR policies — AND you will have to purchase your domain name before you even know what those policies are.
- Aliases (.XXX and .com going to the same site) require that related .coms adhere to IFFOR policies.
- IFFOR Policies will be determined by a council hand-picked by a Board chaired by ICM’s CEO Stuart Lawley-NOT the industry .XXX is supposed to represent. Moreover, ICM Registry has ultimate veto power over policy development.
- Businesses who register with .XXX make their alias .coms an easier target for censorship and blocking — do you really want to put your .coms at risk?
- Do the math — it doesn’t add up. Even if ICM’s claims of new consumers who “trust” .XXX ring true, for a company like Kink.com, which as approximately 10,000 domain names, it would have to bring in a three quarters of a million dollars in new revenues annually — JUST TO BREAK EVEN!
Regulatory organization ICANN approved ICM Registry’s application for the .XXX domain last Friday, despite protests from its own Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, and strong opposition from leading adult industry businesses.
FSC will continue to keep its members updated on this important issue. As the adult industry trade association, FSC will continue to support the better business interests of all adult businesses, and will lead the opposition to .XXX domains because we believe that buying into the .XXX online ghetto is harmful to the adult industry and for individual adult business. The .XXX domain will serve only to fragment the Internet, make adult online businesses an easy target for anti-adult filtering and censorship, and also make it easier for under-age users to access adult material online.
For more information on how you can participate in and support FSC’s opposition to .XXX, contact (818) 348-9373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo: Some rights reserved by Fotogail)
Press Conference at ICANN 40: Adult Industry Leaders Voice their Opposition to .XXX
In San Francisco, at last week’s ICANN 40 Conference, FSC staged a “No to .XXX” protest outside the Westin-St. Francis Hotel, which was followed by a press conference at the nearby Chancellor Hotel. Industry leaders including Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas, Kink.com’s Peter Acworth, Girlfriends Films’ Dan O’Connell, Wasteland.com’s Colin Rowntree, YNOT’s Connor Young, Adult Webmaster Empire’s Douglas Richter, attorneys Paul Cambria and Allan Gelbard, and FSC Board members and attorneys Jeffrey Douglas and Reed Lee, all spoke to media in attendance.
In this video (part one of two), each speaker makes clear their complete opposition to the .XXX sTLD proposed by ICM Registry. These same industry leaders stood before the ICANN Board of Directors later that day, and repeated their objections to approval of the new domain. Listen, as they explain in their own words, why they DO NOT support the .XXX online ghetto for adult online businesses.
Unfortunately, the next morning, the ICANN Board decided to ignore their objections, the advice of the GAC committee and the Dept of Commerce, as well as objections from several of its own members – and .XXX was given approval on a 9-3 vote, with four abstentions.
Special thanks to director Michael Whiteacre, for generously donating his time to shoot and edit this video. (Mr. Whiteacre also is the director of FSC’s anti-piracy PSAs, which are now over 750,000 views on YouTube. Visit our YouTube page at FSC APAP). – jc
Media Comments on ICANN’s Approval of .XXX (or Who’s Idea Was This Anyway?)
FSC has returned from San Francisco where, last week, we protested the now-approved .XXX sTLD and brought the adult industry’s concerns in front of the ICANN Board, prior to ICANN’s decision on Friday. Despite ongoing opposition reaching back to 2007, as well as our best efforts to demonstrate the adult industry’s complete lack of support for the “sponsored TLD,” the ICANN Board voted 9-3 to approve (with four abstentions, including ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom).
Controversy has raged over the .XXX domain since 2005, when the Bush Administration wrote in a letter to ICANN, “The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails [about .XXX] from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children.”
Flash forward to March 17, 2011: The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) read this statement to the ICANN Board the morning before the domain was approved:
“There is no active support of the GAC for the introduction of the .XXX top-level domain.
“While there are members which neither endorse nor oppose the introduction of the .XXX top-level domain, others are emphatically opposed from a public policy perspective to the introduction of a .XXX top-level domain.
“Furthermore, the GAC would like to inform the ICANN board that an introduction of a .XXX top-level domain into the root might lead to steps taken by some governments to prohibit access to this TLD.
“The GAC, therefore, calls the board’s attention to concerns expressed by experts that such steps bear a potential risk or threat to the universal resolvability and stability of the domain name system.
“Moreover, the GAC does not consider the information provided by the board to have answered the GAC concerns as to whether the ICM application meets the sponsorship criteria.
“The GAC further shares concerns expressed by others that with the revised proposed ICANN/ICM Registry agreement, the corporation could be moving towards assuming an ongoing management and oversight role regarding internet content, which could be inconsistent with its technical mandate.
“The GAC looks forward to the board clarifying the basis for its Dec. 10, 2010, decision regarding .XXX.
“The GAC expects that this would include a response to the substantial objections received from the community and reference to ICANN’s role as a public benefit corporation.”
That was GAC making itself clear on the .XXX issue; however, the Obama Administration didn’t issue a statement until after the domain had been approved.
“We are disappointed that ICANN ignored the clear advice of governments worldwide, including the U.S,” said Asst Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickland. “This decision goes against the global public interest, and it will open the door to more Internet blocking by governments and undermine the stability and security of the Internet.”
Both before and after the vote, media outlets analyzed the motivation behind ICANN’s decision in favor of ICM’s long held-up proposal, and who would benefit from the Internet’s first content-based domain.
“Since the regular domains will still be in place, one has to wonder if the committee’s claim it will protect children was accurate and not also motivated by the added revenue the new domain will generate,” said SearchEngineWatch.com.
“Parents would be able to block the entire domain from being accessed, as opposed to tracking adult content using a .com site – but few people really know how to do that and would need to be shown. So that argument is not strong.
“Google could filter using the domain but one has to wonder if they would,” the story concluded.
Perhaps, for the first time in the history of the world, Republican and Democratic administrations, right-wing religious moral activists and the adult industry stood on common ground – they all opposed the creation of .XXX.
Here’s what the Christian Post said about the ICANN’s approval:
“Type ‘porn’ in Google and you get over half a billion results.
“But expect the number of pornography websites to explode now that ICANN has approved the .xxx domain – essentially creating a red light district on the Internet…
“‘I think this is a dumb decision and just adds more porn to the web and makes the web once again known for porn,’ Craig Gross, co-founder of XXXChurch.com, a ministry which helps people overcome their addiction to pornography, wrote Saturday.”
ICM Registry, .XXX’s sponsor, tweeted on Thursday that it had reached nearly 300,000 pre-registrations for urls. With potential for generating millions of dollars in fees to adult webmasters, it seemed that many of those in support of .XXX would benefit from reselling domain names. It also was clear that a great many of those had been defensive pre-registrations by adult online business in an effort to protect their brands and prevent squatting – but it remained unclear if those defensive pre-registrations could be counted as a show of support.
Veteran ICANN insider Steve DelBiano, director of the NetChoice Coalition, tried to explain ICANN’s decision on CNET.com, “… the board was in a difficult position: if they rejected Lawley’s proposal for .xxx, they’d face a lawsuit, yet someone else would surely bid for it during the next round of applications expected later this year.”
In any case, .XXX addresses are anticipated to start rolling out in the third quarter of the year, despite the opposition.
NetworkWorld.com described what adult webmasters will be subjected to by ICM Registry and its regulatory IFFOR Board if they choose a .XXX url:
“Anyone who wants to register a .xxx domain will first have to go through an application process that’s approved by the International Foundation for Online Responsibility. This procedure is intended to ensure that .xxx domains don’t engage in fraud, child pornography and other practices. At the same time, having a domain set aside specifically for adult websites would make it easier for users to block such sites from their browsing experience.”
Overall, media comments after the ICANN resolution were mixed, and many seemed disparaging.
TechCrunch.com called the new domain addresses “.XXX brothels,” and Wired.com called .XXX an online “red light district.”
Wired’s story pointed out that adult webmasters will have the privilege of paying to preserve their brand and intellectual property: “… The domains will be limited to the adult industry, and ICM says adult sites that already own .com TLDs will be able to reserve their .XXX domains early so that they can ‘protect their brand names and intellectual property rights within .XXX.’”
Not to mention the censorship issue; those .XXX addresses will also make it easier for whole countries to block adult online businesses – and Germany, Australia, Thailand and China have already stated that they would be likely to do just that.
Gothamist.com noted that while ICM claims that .XXX will make it “… easier to filter out inappropriate content… ‘some [ICANN] board members viewed as a dangerous step toward censorship.’”
TheNewsChronicle.com declared simply, “It might now be easier to block NSFW sites!”
FSC will continue to advise its members and the adult industry on developments with .XXX, and once we get back in the office tomorrow, news will be forthcoming. We would like to thank all industry members that follow @FSCArmy and retweeted our messages during the conference. Despite the unfavorable decision, your voices were heard loud and clear.
We also would like to take a moment to thank the industry leaders that attended the ICANN meeting on Thursday to voice their opposition, including Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas, Kink.com’s Peter Acworth, Wasteland.com’s Colin Rowntree, YNOT’s Connor Young, Adult Webmaster Empire’s Douglas Richter, Girlfriends Films’ Dan O’Connell, attorneys Paul Cambria and Allan Gelbard, attorneys and FSC Board members Jeffrey Douglas and Reed Lee, FSC Board President Sid Grief – also the industry professionals from Kink.com and NakedSword.com that joined in the protest rally, as well as performers Jiz Lee and Kara Price.
FSC Board member and Evil Angel General Manager Christian Mann was unable to join us in San Francisco, but said to XBIZ.com, “I’m not surprised as we knew we were facing pressure from forces with resources, money and questionable agendas. I realize that on the surface, the issues are complex which makes it harder to get people outside of the industry to understand the inherent risks.
“I had hoped that ICANN board members would have known better than to go along with this flawed plan. I was wrong about that. I also know that it’s too soon to see the fallout and whether or not there is still a challenge to be made.
“There are many battles yet to be fought and the FSC remains the trade association for any company or individual in the adult entertainment business,” he added.
We thank you all, for your support. – jc
(Illustration: Osmar Schindler, David and Goliath, 1888)
ICANN Approves .XXX sTLD
Ira Magaziner, one of the founders responsible for creating ICANN under the Clinton administration, Vint Cerf, the past Chair of the ICANN Board, Larry Strickling, the Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce and former US President Bill Clinton all spoke of the absolute necessity of the ICANN Board listening to its Government Advisory Committee, but apparently the advice fell on deaf ears.
“Of course we are disappointed but we are not surprised by the ICANN Board’s decision. As voiced in concerns by speakers at this very conference, the ICANN Board has dangerously undervalued the input from governments worldwide,” said FSC Executive Director Diane Duke. “Worse, they have disregarded overwhelming outpouring of opposition from the adult entertainment industry – the supposed sponsorship community – dismissing the interests of free speech on the Internet.”
While the industry must assume that second-level .XXX domain names will be sold, the battle is not over. Under ICANN’s bylaws there are review procedures available to affected parties including GAC itself.
“Until now we have been forced to work within the constraints of the ICANN process. FSC is now free to explore all options and we intend to do just that with input from, and in the interest of, our members,” FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas said. “We will help the industry fully understand the risks and ramifications of participating in .XXX .
Douglas went on to comment that, “As regrettable as the vote was, the involvement of FSC and industry leaders in this process has and will continue to provide a positive face of the adult entertainment community to leaders of the online community worldwide.”
In the coming days and weeks FSC will provide information about .XXX and alternatives for the adult entertainment industry.
‘No .XXX’ Protest at ICANN 40 Conference in San Francisco
FSC Executive Director Diane Duke leads the rally cry
Kink.com founder and FSC Board member Peter Acworth is interviewed at the rally
Wasteland.com founder Colin Rowntree and Pink Visual President Allison Vivas in front of the Westin-St. Francis
Marching on the line in front of the ICANN Conference
Attorney Allan Gelbard, Evil Angel founder John Stagliano and attorney Paul Cambria (l to r)
Attorney and FSC Board member Reed Lee and FSC Board President Sid Grief protest in front of onlookers
Girlfriends Films owner and FSC supporter Dan O'Connell pickets outside the conference
At the ICANN Conference 40, held this week in San Francisco, FSC staged a “No to .XXX’ protest rally with industry leaders and others from the adult community. Those in attendance included Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas, Kink.com’s Peter Acworth, Girlfriends Films’ Dan O’Connell, YNOT’s Connor Young, Wasteland.com’s Colin Rownrtree, attorneys Paul Cambria, Allan Gelbard, Jeffrey Douglas and Reed Lee, perfomer Jiz Lee and former performer Brooke Ashley, staff from Kink.com and NakedSword.com, as well as FSC staffers.
Today, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke and attorney and FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas await the possible decision from ICANN on the proposed .XXX sTLD. Overall, the adult industry’s voice was heard both in the media and at the conference; today’s decision, if handed down, will represent the culmination of seven years of opposition for .XXX by the FSC and the online adult industry.
From San Francisco: Adult Industry Does NOT Support .XXX
FSC Board member and attorney Reed Lee and Wasteland's Colin Rowntree (r to l) working diligently to fight .XXX
ICANN Chair Peter Dengate-Thrush and other ICANN Board members will vote on whether or not to approve .XXX on Friday
FSC is in San Francisco through Friday to voice opposition and protest against the proposed .XXX sTLD. We need your help.
.XXX will cost adult webmasters millions in unnecessary fees; will make it easier for anti-adult entities to block adult websites; will make it easier for children to find adult material online; will needlessly fragment the Internet and set a precedent for online censorship. One company, ICM Registry, will have control over the online adult industry if .XXX is approved.
ICANN’s Peter Dengate Thrush stated that he is “not sure” which way the ICANN board will vote on .XXX. There is still time for you to voice your opinion and tell ICANN that you DO NOT support .XXX…
Follow us at @FSCArmy – we will be tweeting today and tomorrow, with messages that clearly say that WE DO NOT SUPPORT .XXX – if you are in adult, or you are an online consumer of adult, support our efforts to defeat this dangerous action.
You worked hard to build your Internet business – do you want an address in the .XXX ghetto?
(Photos: Diane Duke)