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  • To: xxx-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject:
  • From: "Michelle L. Freridge" <execdir@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 09 May 2006 20:05:05 -0700

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>May 9, 2006</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT
face="Times New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Dear ICANN Board of Directors,</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>As you may already be aware, the Free Speech Coalition is
the trade association for the adult entertainment industry, with over
3000 members from every sector of the business. We are already on
record as being opposed to the current <st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> 
Registry application to create
a .XXX top-level domain (<st1:stockticker>TLD</st1:stockticker>), but I
thought I might take this opportunity to reiterate once again a few of
the reasons why we believe this proposal must not be
approved.</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>First, it is our firmly held opinion that such a domain
will do little, if anything, to keep minors from accessing adult
content on the Internet. We are not alone in that. We know that at
least one Board member of ICANN believes that .XXX will not be
effective in keeping minors from adult websites. If your own people
believe this, what reason is there to even pretend that the protection
of children is the motivating reason for .XXX? </FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>In fact, greed is the real motivation behind this
application, and it is no secret that .XXX has the potential to earn
<st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> Registry millions of dollars.
Other than that self-serving prospect, however, we can see no other
compelling reason for such a <st1:stockticker>TLD</st1:stockticker> to
exist, and indeed, we think it is likely that .XXX will result in a
wave of trademark litigation that will serve no purpose but to line the
pockets of intellectual property attorneys. In the meanwhile, as people
and companies are bickering over domains, governments and private
industry will also be eyeing the .XXX domain, with an eye not toward
money but control. </FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Already, there is pending legislation in the United
States that would make .XXX mandatory, and in Australia to make
ISP-level filtering the law. In the latter circumstance, the default
setting for access to adult content will be off &ndash; it will not get
through &ndash; unless the subscriber contacts the ISP and effectively
&ldquo;registers&rdquo; to receive it. In a world in which ISPs are
handing over subscriber information to government entities at the drop
of a hat, we are appalled that ICANN &ndash; a avowed force for freedom
and openness in the world &ndash; would allow itself to become an
unwitting pawn in such an unconscionable plan to control access to
lawful content. </FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Then there is the specter of private industry &ndash;
VISA, ISPs, Search Engines &ndash; effectively making the use of .XXX
mandatory. There is nothing in the current
ICANN/<st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> Agreement that limits what
such players may require in connection with .XXX. Quite apart from what
these other companies might do, the current proposed
ICANN-<st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> agreement contains
provisions that would seriously undercut the constitutional victories
that we won in the U.S. Supreme Court and are fighting to establish in
the lower federal courts. We are naturally quite concerned about these
provisions, and we would be happy to detail our concerns.</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>But perhaps our greatest concern has to do with the
methods used by <st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> Registry to gain
support in the industry, and ICANN&rsquo;s complicity in refusing to put
into place a mechanism that assures that, with respect to a sponsored
application, companies in the target industry are not promised monetary
rewards or favors for their support. The Free Speech Coalition itself
was approached and offered a percentage of registration fees for our
support. We declined, but we suspect that others did not. In light of
these possibilities, we have to wonder why ICANN has steadfastly
refused to publish the names of the people and companies who support
this application. We understand why
<st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> Registry might want to keep
those names secret, but ICANN&rsquo;s oft-stated mission is to maintain
a posture of neutrality and transparency, and we are pained to see that
neither of these laudable traits is in evidence in this case.
</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>The Free Speech Coalition is dedicated to protecting the
welfare of the industry our members represent, and we will continue to
provide that important service whether this application is approved or
not, but we are serious when we say that profit-making schemes that
endanger our hard-won freedoms do not sit well with us. How much more
evidence than the legislation currently pending in Congress do you need
to see that this application, in practice and precedent, could very well
turn out to be one of the worst things that ever happened to the
Internet, and I wonder how on earth you can oppose the idea of a tiered
Internet and still support this equally foolish idea. </FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>I could go on, but the point is clear. You simply must
not approve the <st1:stockticker>ICM</st1:stockticker> Registry
application. </FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Sincerely, </FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Michelle L. Freridge</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Executive Director</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New
Roman" size=3>Free Speech Coalition</FONT></P>
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face="Times
New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P>



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