Bill for mandatory new TLD
Date: Wednesday April 17 2002, @07:35AM
Topic: USA Goverment Relations

Anonymous writes "I love this one. This story talks about a bill being introduced in the House of Representatives that would mandate a new TLD of ".prn" to create an internet red-light district. It would also mandate that adult-site owners would have to give up .com (and presumably .net and .org) domains and move to .prn."

I wonder what their view is on porn sites in other countries that use .com TLDs.. Would they decide that if it's .com, US law applies?

I doubt there's any chance of it passing. Amusing thought, though.

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Re: Bill for mandatory new TLD
by NgBng on Wednesday April 17 2002, @09:38AM (#5869)
User #3321 Info
I'm in the UK, so this doesn't necessarily directly affect me, however if forced upon the .COM registrars and servers it would.
I'm all for this move, I've been suggesting something like this for a while, but with one very important proviso.
The .prn must be actively attractive to such sites - a bit of stick goes down a lot better with some carrot. Make the domains cheaper, but state clearly in the bill that this exists purely as a child protection measure and that the domains involved are not having their free speech inhibited in any way. They can still say/show what they want within existing publishing deceny laws (if applicable). It would be nice if some exploration could be done into ways of having the existing .com's forward to their new .prn domains, but in a way that proxies/browsers set to prevent .prn access would understand/detect, that way the impact on the .com owners would be low. I'm not sure if that's possible, but it should be explored and debated.
I would be interested to hear the justifications of owners of sites that would be subject to this as to why they feel they should keep their .com domains (if they do).
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Re: Bill for mandatory new TLD
by Hendrik on Wednesday April 24 2002, @05:43AM (#5952)
User #2856 Info
Such a zoning measure has been deployed to Premium Rate telephone numbers in the Netherlands and the UK.

After requests of the information providers industry themselves this was introduced in the Netherlands in 1996. The area-codes 0906 (adult entertainment) and 0909 (games, gambling and other entertainment) have been introduced. Leaving the rest of the premium rate to 0900.
The decision to decide what is, and what is not porn or entertainment is decided in this self-regulated and industry financed committee (a non-profit foundation).
The committee has got a very thin legal position in the telecommunications act. It is only allowed to propose number withdrawal to the numbering plan regulator (OPTA the equivalent of the FCC). But every citizen is allowed to propose that to the regulator.

After some discussions about offenders that registered and operated an adult service under 0900, they voluntarily shifted to 0906. Never has any case been brought for decision to OPTA.

The Dutch scheme has been copied later by Oftel in the UK. On their numbering conventions web site you can read:

Sexual entertainment Premium Rate Services

A7.8 In order to provide service meaning to callers, premium rate sexual entertainment services, regardless of the charge for the content, product or service, shall only be promoted and accessed using 0909 and no other service meaning shall be given to 0909. Sexual entertainment services are entertainment services of a clearly sexual nature, or any services for which the associated promotional material is of a clearly sexual nature, or indicates directly, or implies, that the service is of a sexual nature.

It must be noted that in most European countries adult entertainment behind premium rate numbers is forbidden. This induces "escape" behaviour. Where such services are promoted from international numbers operated on Carribean Islands and African nations. Numbers that are blocked at the international gateways in typically two weeks after detection (Italy is typical in this blocking behaviour). Other "escape" behaviour is "erotic" cooking information (Belgium had them) etc. etc.

These zoning-schemes in the Netherlands and the UK seem to work quite well on a national base. Where social norms on conduct are fairly homogenuous. I have strong doubts if a mandatory system will work on an international scale. As you could already see from the above notes that even western Europe is not quite homogenous on the subject.

PICS as a W3C standard was originally intended for such "self-regulation" measures.
But as far as I know, the more extreme porn services has moved quite fast from the USA to other countries with more liberal views on this type of information.
Main guesses from these experiences: on a global scale enforcement will fail. However a for US-based servers en companies might succeed depending on the views about zoning and the ability of US-official to push them to the zone with a soft stick.

The carrot for the adult entertainment industry is the availability of attractive names already taken under .com in the new TLD or .us second level domain name. It might succeed if the largest firms in that industry sector decide to move. Effectively what happened with the premium rate telephone numbers in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
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