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Latest Turn of Events on .XXX, from ICANN Wellington

As the ICANN's week-long meeting in Wellington, New Zealand is now fully underway, the approval of the proposed .XXX top-level domain (TLD) continues to remain a key topic of discussion and its eventual approval yet uncertain. The .XXX TLD was widely expected to receive its final approval at the ICANN's last meeting held in Vancouver about 4 months earlier but the discussion was unexpectedly delayed as the organization and governments requested more time to review the merits of setting up such a domain.

"The DoC [US Department of Commerce] have obviously been busy since their original August 2005 intervention and John Kneuers visit to Vancouver when we were pulled off the agenda," said Stuart Lawley, president of the would-be .XXX operator ICM Registry LLC, referring to DoC's March 20, 2006 correspondence [PDF] recently published on ICANN's website. "Unfortunately they don't seem to have noticed that on September 15 the ICANN Board met and commented as follows and Voted 11-0 in favor of a resolution," said Lawley in reference to the ICANN's Special Meeting of the Board held in September 15, 2005 preliminary report:

"Whereas, the ICANN Board has expressed concerns regarding issues relating to the compliance with the proposed .XXX Registry Agreement (including possible proposals for codes of conduct and ongoing obligations regarding potential changes in ownership) and has noted the importance of private registry agreements, in creating contractual means of affecting registries and other actors of the Internet community for the public interest.

Whereas, ICANN has received significant levels of correspondence from the Internet community users over recent weeks, as well as inquiries from a number of governments.

Resolved (05.__), that the ICANN President and General Counsel are directed to discuss possible additional contractual provisions or modifications for inclusion in the .XXX Registry Agreement, to ensure that there are effective provisions requiring development and implementation of policies consistent with the principles in the ICM application. Following such additional discussions, the President and General Counsel are requested to return to the board for additional approval, disapproval or advice."

ICM Registry has responded [PDF] to the Chair of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, explaining that "every thing contained in Acting Asst Secretary Kneuers letter, plus more, are included in the revised contract before ICANN," said Lawley.

Coincidently, a very pointed letter was published yesterday, March 25 2006, in The Financial Times by Elly Plooij-van Gorsel, the former VP of the European Parliament, on the current status of .XXX approval dilemma.

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