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.xxx 'adult' domain names one step closer

ICM, the organisation that has been battling for six years to get a .xxx top level domain names accepted by ICANN is one step closer to achieving its goal: a draft proposal, its fourth, has been issued by ICANN for public comment.

The document, along with a range of supporting material from ICM, will be available for a 30 day comment period on the ICANN web site until 23 September.

In 2004, ICM submitted an application in response to an ICANN request for proposals to create new sponsored top-level domain registries and submitted its first proposed registry agreement for .xxx on 16 April 2006.

This was rejected by the ICANN board within a month and two revisions were posted for public comment in January and February of 2007. The board rejected the most recent of these in March 2007.

However ICM sought an independent review and the Independent Review Panel issued a declaration early in 2010 declaring the rejection flawed.  On 25 June 2010, the ICANN board "determined to accept and act in accordance with some of the Panel's findings and directed ICANN staff to conduct expedited due diligence of ICM and to proceed into draft contract negotiations with ICM."

In posting the revised version on its website, ICANN says: "The revised proposed registry agreement was submitted by ICM Registry after negotiations with ICANN staff. The revised proposed registry agreement has not been considered or approved by the ICANN board. The revised proposed registry agreement is revised from the proposed agreement considered by the Board in March 2007."

It notes some of the major changes from the previous March 2007 proposal as being:
- Revisions to reflect changes to address DNSSEC handling and current technical specifications, as well as links to current ICANN processes;
- Revision to be consistent with most sTLD agreements in the renewal terms;
- Termination, assignment and subcontracting provisions have been revised and clarified;
- Modifications to further define the sponsored top level domain (sTLD) community and to provide the requirements of ICM in developing and implementing policy for the TLD through IFFOR, consistent with the ICM/IFFOR sponsoring organisation agreement and the sTLD charter.

IFFOR, the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, is a non-profit entity delegated with policy formulation for .xxx. It will have a board representing all stakeholders, including child safety representatives, members of the free speech community and adult entertainment industry representatives and will be funded by a $US10 annual levy on every .xxx domain name registered.

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