ICM Registry to Sue U.S., Appeals ICANN Decision

Rhett Pardon
JUPITER, Fla. — ICM Registry will file a lawsuit against the U.S. government today in order to gain access to information withheld in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made in October.

ICM, which was unsuccessful in its bid for adults-only sponsored top-level domain .XXX, is seeking information that will provide the “extra evidence that provides the irrefutable proof” that the U.S. government intervened in the issue to prevent .XXX going ahead, ICM Registry’s Stuart Lawley told XBIZ

Lawley contended that, if true, it would also contradict public statements made by the Commerce Department that it “plays no role” in the day-to-day running of the Internet.

Last week, ICANN’s board, 9-5, rejected ICM’s bid out of “public policy concerns.” The company, based in both Jupiter, Fla., and Toronto, began its bid for the .XXX sTLD six years ago. ICM pledged to donate $10 of the proposed annual fee of $60 for a .XXX domain name to child-protection groups and to require users of .XXX to label their content.

ICANN, a nonprofit that operates under a memorandum of understanding with the Commerce Department, had initially approved moving forward with the proposal last June, but reversed the decision after the Commerce Department requested further review of the application.

ICM claims that the Commerce Department redacted 120 pages of 1,600 documents that the company requested in the FOIA. The company is trying to prove that the Commerce Department overstepped its authority by lobbying hard against .XXX.

“Our story needs to be told,” Lawley said. “We’ve been done wrong. I think what’s going on here is already clear, but I want the extra evidence.”

Meanwhile, ICM Registry has filed a reconsideration request with ICANN, claiming that the board voted on inaccurate information, were unaware of the “inappropriate involvement of the U.S. government in this process,” and had been misled by ICANN officials relative to contract negotiations with ICM.

That request will be reviewed by four of ICANN’s board members, three of whom voted against .XXX last week.

Lawley said that he's "not sure" how the ICANN review will go.