Porn bigwigs get their panties in a twist over .XXX domain

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Manwin Licensing is going to court to make the world safe for porn peddlers.

Specifically the Luxembourg-based company that operates YouPorn and Playboy.com wants to block the adoption of the .XXX domain and alleges that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN), as well as ICM Registry, the company responsible for managing the domain, have engaged in “monopolistic conduct, price gouging, and anticompetitive and unfair practices,” according to court documents first obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

In March, ICANN awarded the ICM Registry a contract to assign .XXX domain handles, and there have been more than 80,000 applications for related addresses, according to the Journal. Manwin Licensing and Digital Playground, who are party to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California are mad because the ICM is charging $60 per domain name. Manwin’s network of porn properties get more than 60 million repeat visits, and at $60 per name, that’s likely to be a significant chunk of change.

When new top-level domains are unfurled, there is always a rush to claim names to protect individual copyrights and to safeguard company brands against impostors who might masquerade as the genuine article by domain squatting. As an example, the website whitehouse.org (which has been suspended), was a parody site that called itself the “officious website of President George W. Bush” but had no affiliation with the president or any connection to the U.S. government. Companies rush to snap up new domains as soon as they become available in order to prevent confusion, or to avoid similar embarrassment. But the only real winner is often the domain registrar, who makes money selling the website handles.

[Image Credit: XXX via ShutterStock]