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Adult Entertainment Co Takes On ICANN

A top adult entertainment company on the web, Manwin Licensing International, has filed a lawsuit to either block or overhaul the new .XXX top-level domain address.

The suit is the first tangible countermove against a plan proposed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) earlier this year to allow companies to create website addresses ending in their own names — that is, replacing the .com with, say, an Apple.com, or a place, such as Vegas.com.

A Controversial Plan

This Top Level Domain, or TLD, plan is controversial for several reasons. The fees involved are huge, meaning not every company will be able to take this step. Also there is bound to be much dispute over which firm or entity is entitled to a seemingly generic name, such as Apple or Giant or Money or Food. National governments wonder how much influence ICANN officials, and trademark owners, should have over process of creating new domain suffixes.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has called upon ICANN to withdraw the program because it will cause incalculable financial damage to brand owners. Besides their large costs, such top-level domain addresses would also offer “cyber squatters” an opportunity to harm a brand’s integrity and/or profit.

An industry association has since formed to fight this measure: the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight. It opposes the TLD program on the grounds that it is deeply flawed, excessively expensive and will harm brand owners.

Antitrust Issues?

The lawsuit filed by Manwin alleges antitrust law violations, writes Corporate Counsel.  It claims that ICANN conspired to eliminate competitive bidding and any market restraints for certain .xxx registry services with the intent to injure competition and consumers.

Manwin managing partner Fabian Thylmann told reporters the TDL program “forces trademark owners to purchase "defensive registrations" to prevent cybersquatters and others from exploiting those names.”

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