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Domain name group ICANN OKs .xxx for porn

The approval comes despite fierce opposition from those in the adult-film industry who say it could lead to censorship.

March 19, 2011|By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times

Call it the red light district of the Internet.

The .xxx domain for adult-content websites was approved Friday by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Santa Monica-based group that manages the creation and distribution of Web addresses. The move came despite fierce opposition from porn stars and others in the industry who argued the use of the new domain could lead to censorship.

Florida-based ICM Registry proposed the domain name .xxx in 2004 with plans to sell Web addresses to adult-content websites and publications. The triple-x domain suffix will not, however, be required by law for websites featuring ribald material.

"For the first time, there will be a clearly defined Web address for adult entertainment, out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses," ICM Chief Executive Stuart Lawley said in a statement.

Lawley said that his company has already been flooded by thousands of requests to reserve more than 200,000 domain names.

Critics of the decision, which include Los Angeles-based adult video producer Vivid Entertainment and the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult industry, have argued that the domain suffix would create a stigmatized section of the Internet that would be easier to censor.

Lawley has previously talked about his plans to build a "PayPal for porn" system that could process more than $1 billion in transactions a year.

shan.li@latimes.com

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