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Internet Porn – A Favorite Topic


I’ve spent more than a few bytes on the subject of the .xxx top level domain (TLD) since I launched this blog. Every time it comes around again, I start harping on the topic and urging rather short sighted people to get behind this idea.

Porn sites are largely concerned that the domain name, while billed as voluntary, would make it easier for governments to later mandate its use and “essentially ghettoize sexual information on the Web,” Kernes said…

Religious groups worry that “.xxx” would legitimize and expand the number of adults sites, which more than a third of U.S. Internet users visit each month, according to comScore Media Metrix…

“They will keep their `.com’ domains, and I have no doubt they will buy their `.xxx’ as well,” said Patrick Trueman, special counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian public-interest law firm. “There will be twice as much pornography on the Internet.”

Now, most people who buy a .com, a .net, and a .org address point all of them at the same site, so the argument that this somehow doubles the amount of porn online is really a specious argument at best. That’s typical of the reactionary religious crowd, but what really strikes me as dumb is the porn producers argument.

As an industry, the porn producers generally go along with zoning laws that are already on the books. Most examples of confrontation between the porn industry and local zoning laws hinges on the lack of zoning against porn and the retroactive establishment of zones after a purveyor of smut has opened his doors. They oppose retroactive laws to put them out of business after they have legally opened.

The .xxx domain is somewhat a similar situation. They see this as yet another attempt to zone them out of business. In this case, though, it’s not quite the same. The cost to redirect .com traffic to a .xxx domain is minimal compared to negotiating a new lease, arranging for packing and moving, and build out costs for new space. The cost side of the question is minimal.

The upside, however, is actually quite beneficial to producers.

Yes, all porn may be corralled into a single TLD. But who cares? It would provide parents with easy to use controls for blocking it, but it would also make things that much easier to find.

Getting back to the zealots, here’s the problem. You’re never going to make porn go away – try as you might. There is several thousand years of artistic evidence that the expression of sex through every possible medium is a staple of society. Culture after culture has depictions of sex on everything from cave walls to ornate vases and urns. It’s not going anywhere.

Why let beliefs that you can somehow change human nature prevent you from taking steps to at least curb the problem? The internet is the medium where you actually could make it relatively difficult for kids to find porn. Embrace that fact.

I hope ICANN finally passes .xxx. It really is an idea whose time has come.



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Written by Michael Turk