Neustar bans Carlin's Seven Dirty Words
Date: Thursday April 25 2002, @04:25AM
Topic: Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)

dtobias writes "icann.Blog is reporting that Neustar has issued a last-minute policy, just before opening .us registrations on a real-time basis, to "review, for possible deletion by the Registry, all second-level domain names that contain within the characters of the domain name registration one of the seven words prohibited for broadcast by the Federal Communications Commission," based on a 1978 Supreme Court decision upholding such ban. Neustar's action "has been developed in direct consultation with the U.S. Department of Commerce.""

There's a lot wrong with this. First of all, adding new rules right before the registry goes live, and long after registrars have begun taking pre-registration requests, is not the fairest way of conducting business in an above-board manner. Furthermore, while a private entity like Neustar is under no intrinsic obligation to respect the First Amendment, the fact that they did this under government consultation, and pursuant to a government-granted charter to operate the country code registry for the United States, raises serious issues of Constitutionality.

At any rate, the broadcast industry itself, the target of the quarter-century-old ruling referenced in this policy, has in recent years gone away from a simplistic policy of simply banning certain words without regard to context or purpose. Some network broadcasts, like the uncut versions of Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, and CBS's documentary on the events of September 11th, have included some of those seven words, letting the viewing public know that people who saw the World Trade Center towers collapse right in front of them didn't always confine their reactions to "Golly, gee, darn it!" And Supreme Court rulings have made it clear that the Internet is not to be regulated in the same manner as broadcasting -- the Communications Decency Act was overturned.

While it's true that the Neustar policy is not a flat ban on such words -- they reserve the right to "review" them for deletion -- in practice it amounts to a ban on words that Neustar doesn't like, without any regard for context and purpose, since how can they possibly establish the context and purpose of the use of a newly-registered domain which has yet to be put into use? This is even more unfair than the UDRP, in which at least the registrant has a chance to defend themselves.

My checking of the WHOIS indicates that in fact Neustar seems to be treating this as a flat ban; some of the obvious "obscene" domains are listed as still available, meaning that the likely multiple registration attempts have all been turned down.

However, the owner of with.us (who appears to be in Paris, France; what ever happened to the U.S. nexus requirement?) can thumb their nose at this policy if they wish by creating appropriate subdomains to create hostnames like dont.*.with.us (insert appropriate Carlin word)... there's nothing Neustar can do to stop it, and there goes the neighborhood...

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Re: Neustar bans Carlin's Seven Dirty Words
by Ron_Bennett on Thursday April 25 2002, @07:09AM (#5982)
User #3011 Info | http://www.wyomissing.com/bennett/
I can't believe it...I thought the whole "dirty" word controversy was put to sleep once and for all back in 1999 when it became open season on the legacy gTLDs and anyone can now register basically anything in .COM, .ORG, and .NET.

Neustar has again fucked up another TLD launch. And that's sad since .US could have much utility if properly implemented...with that said, to be fair, the fault is not really Neustars, but rather the idiots who came up with the braindead idea of allowing 2nd level registrations in .US to begin with along with these new restrictions, but I digress...

Anyways, getting back to the 7 "dirty" word thing...it's really ironic how the United States which touts freedom of speech and expression bans offensive (though that's debatable since they're so commonly used these days) words while one can register similar "dirty" word domains in many other ccTLDs like .TV, .DE, .CC, etc. So much for the idea of freedom here in the States...

Fuck Censorship!
fuckcensorship.us
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: Neustar bans Carlin's Seven Dirty Words
by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday April 25 2002, @06:38AM (#5979)
User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
To what extent is ICANN involved in .us? My understanding is that the contract to delegate it to Neustar was done by the U.S. Department of Commerce. I know that ICANN has been involved in redelegating country code domains before, but I don't think they've been involved in this one.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
And they're already for sale!
by Undecided on Thursday April 25 2002, @04:57PM (#6003)
User #3285 Info
There are (as I type this) already 4 .us auctions at eBay. One is for teenporn.us and another is for 4 *sex.us names as as a set.

Yeah, Neustar's plan worked. Sure. I haven't even checked GreatDomains yet.

But hey, look on the bright side: If this is the best plan the Bush Administration can whip up to fight obscenity, the EFF is going to save a ton of money in legal fees over the next couple years.
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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
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    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/25/082532