Home > News > Manwin, Digital Playground File Suit Against ICM, ICANN • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

Manwin, Digital Playground File Suit Against ICM, ICANN

Manwin, Digital Playground File Suit Against ICM, ICANN
Get XBIZ News
XBIZ Research
Will Google uphold its commitment to 'Freedom of Expression' when it comes to organic adult search results?
Yes
  32.24%
No
  67.76%
Out of 183 votes. Results based on votes submitted by members of XBIZ.net social network.
Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011    Text size: 

LOS ANGELES — Manwin has teamed up with Digital Playground to wage an antitrust suit against .XXX operator ICM Registry and ICANN.

The suit, filed this morning at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, as well as violations of two California statutes relative to unfair competition and practices.

The suit also names 10 John does as defendants.

"[Manwin] and Digital Playground seek redress for monopolistic conduct, price gouging and anticompetitive and unfair practices, broadly harming competition, businesses and consumers, and arising out of the establishment of .XXX ... ," the suit said.

The suit goes on to say that .XXX "defensive registrations" are causing confusion and dilution of adult websites' values, and that the costs and disadvantages of them outweigh any benefit of the sTLD.

"In fact, ICM promoted .XXX in large measure first to create and then exploit the need for such defensive registration," said the suit, noting that during the .XXX Sunrise period almost 80,000 domains were purchased with an average $150 registration fee.

The two adult studio plaintiffs also contend that ICANN, which oversees the Internet, provided "no competitive process for the award of the .XXX registry contract."

"The .XXX registry contract itself  places no restrictions upon (and in fact enhances) ICM's abilities to exploit that  monopoly position to the disadvantage and harm of competition, consumers and businesses," the suit said.

The studios said that ICM has reacted to the circumstances with the anti-competitive behavior "expected of a monopolist" by making defensive registrations unreasonably expensive and difficult and has required that registrants of names in .XXX waive legal rights and claims against ICM as a condition of registering.

The suit also charges that ICM Registry has reserved to itself some of the most popular or desirable domain names, which it has sold at prices substantially above those in a competitive market.

"[ICM Registry CEO] Stuart Lawley has announced that he expects to  be able (and intends) to prevent the establishment of any other (potentially competing) adult-content TLDs, including through a contractual promise by ICANN not to approve such TLDs," the suit said. "Lawley has also announced that he projects  that ICM will earn annual profits of $200 million from operating the .XXX TLD — profits to be earned by charging prices well above those in a competitive market.

"Indeed, ICM is charging $60 annually for .XXX registrations, more than 10 times the annual registration charges in other relevant TLDs."

Fabian Thylmann, managing partner of Manwin, in a statement said that the suit is a "monumental case impacting the entire business community and the Internet ecosystem.”

"It uncovers a pernicious monopoly at the very heart of the Internet," he said. "Ending anticompetitive practices by ICM and ICANN will not only protect our business, but help other companies compelled to pay a fee to keep their names unassociated with a .XXX designation.”

Diane Duke, the executive director of the adult industry trade group Free Speech Coalition, told XBIZ that the suit is on target.

"Manwin and Digital Playground bring home the points that FSC has stressed all along," she said. "Through .XXX, ICM is engaging in unfair, monopolistic business practices that not only harms adult businesses but also end users and the Internet as a whole. 

"I applaud Manwin and Digital Playground for their insight and leadership," she said.

The suit seeks an injunction and attorneys fees, as well as other relief.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

EDUCATIONAL FEATURES

Placing a Focus on User-Buying Triggers

This is the last of a series of three articles focusing on specific ways that paysite owners can optimize the user experience and present sites and content in ways that attract modern customers and keep... More »

Avoiding Missteps in Advertising

I usually write about how to improve your business and the balance of your life from my experiences at JuicyAds. This month in celebration of the annual traffic Issue, I am writing about what I’m... More »

Integrated Marketing: Get More From Ad Dollars With Multiple Media Channels

By combining marketing elements and focusing on one basic message, you can develop a comprehensive, integrated marketing approach for your brand or product that will generate effective mileage for your... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sexpo

Aug 01 - Aug 03
Sydney, Australia

QWEBEC Expo Montreal

Aug 15 - Aug 17
Montreal, Canada

Asia Adult Expo

Aug 28 - Aug 30
Macau, China

CatalystCon West

Sep 11 - Sep 14
Los Angeles, California
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!