Inc.

Towards fair, open, technically sound global Internet policy.

 

 Mueller |
 Sexton |
 Fenello |
 Stef |
 HURST 
 |
 Steinberg |
 Misc |
 Rutkowski |
 Feld |
 Cook |
 Love |
 Berryhill |
 Frankel |
 Barry |
 Dahlgren 
 

An Experiment in Organization of Multinational Adult Content
in Top Level Domain Name Space

Draft Fastlane v1.1 - February 6th, 1998

Marc Hurst (mhurst@fastlane.ca)
Tim Gibson (tim@fastlane.ca)

Dealing with the recommendation for the expansion of the Top Level Domain space to include content specific zones presenting a theoretical and administrative challenge to the DNS industry.

In creating new Top Level Domains for the exclusive use of adult oriented electronic content many physical, technical, legal and administrative guidelines and restrictions are presented. The varying degrees of international laws regarding privacy, content and cross-jurisdictional law-enforcement exacerbate the difficulties of imposing and promoting such guidelines.

Note:

The authors caution that this is a limited overview. This subject requires further study by an expanded board of advisors comprised of members of the law enforcement, Internet Engineering and Interred Policy advisory communities. More input is required and policy will further evolve as the industry expands and new paradigms emerge.

History

Until 1993 much of the adult oriented electronic content was available through dial-up bulletin boards and password protected ftp sites on what was an extremely limited Internet. All of this content required downloading and decoding on the client computer to enable graphical viewing.

With the advent of the World Wide Web and such graphical interfaces as "Mosaic" which eliminated the requirement of some degree of technical expertise to decode and view files, the availability of adult oriented materials and the number of people with access to these materials skyrocketed. Traditional print and video were no longer the only means of publishing both legal and illegal adult content.

The expansion and availability of a mass conduit for such material has created markets and conflicts within the social, legal and electronic communities.

Products

In the beginning Internet adult content comprised of very simple "static" graphic files (still photos) and descriptive text files (stories, jokes and accounting of personal experiences). With the advance of hardware and software capabilities adult content in new media began to mushroom. This was no cause for alarm, as it essentially echoed the march forward of other types of media development.

Beyond the traditional static still photos and text files, adult content now includes movies, sound files,interactive/role playing games and live video and audio feeds originating from adult establishments featuring erotic dancing/entertainment and private/commercial locations that feature pay per-view live interactive sex shows featuring frontal nudity, multiple penetration and interaction with animals and inanimate objects.

Players

In the past the opportunity to enter the Adult Content Production Industry has been limited due largely to the cost of enabling technologies. It is now possible to produce a professional quality finished product using commercially available hardware and software. This has allowed many groups to produce salable content from household quality desktops and publicly available freeware.

In the beginning of the World Wide Web the traditional publishing companies like Playboy and Penthouse were the leaders in producing high quality commercially consumable content for the online industry. Now many private individuals, students and artists are producing original product for profit. The evolving "privatization"of content production has led to a situation in which legal standards regarding content can no longer be enforced effectively or affordably.

The relative ease of producing fresh content, due to the lowered entry threshold of acquiring quality digital graphic reproduction equipment, has simplified the unlawful reproduction of copyright intellectual and commercial properties. This has allowed the broad distribution of plagiarised illegal, commercially proprietary and private content.

Creation

There is precedent for the creation of such a mechanism as an Adult Content exclusive Top Level Domain.

Essentially the assignment of DNS names resembles the manner in which the UseNet newsgroup names were created, and in 1986 the name "alt.sex" was created by Richard Sexton and Brian Reid as an attractive nuisance to make it easier to filter out this kind of content. Peter da Silva later created alt.binaries to house pictures, not words, and to this day there are literally hundreds of subgroups in these hierarchies catering to erotica.

While it is not a given that erotica can only be found in these newsgroups, the amount outside these groups is negligible; erotica placed outside these hierarchies raises the ire of the Internet community who rapidly "flame" people to violate this convention by pointing out that "there is a proper home (more acceptable location on the Net) for that type of content".

The notion of an "attractive nuisance", from an ontological perspective, ".sex" is the most desirable name to house the now culturally acceptable "Erotica". No other name is broad enough to encompass all forms of this, yet general enough to encompass anything even remotely unsavory. Other suggestions might be viewed as being too specific, as in ".porn", while another popular selection, ".xxx" might be viewed as being too generic and capable of wider applications.

Regulation

The single largest constraint relating to the enforcement of acceptable international content standards is the interpretation of which national "jurisdictional" application of acceptable standards for content production and distribution take precedence in situations involving multiple national jurisdictions.

It must also be noted that it is not the responsibility of an adult only content TLD registry to enforce international law. It is however a major concern that all entities be compelled to cooperate, within reason, with all federal law enforcement agencies. With regard to this concern all TLD registries should be compelled to make a limited effort to police their respective TLD's for questionable content while retaining a sensitivity to the First Amendment rights (or jurisdictional equivalent) belonging to the respective individuals.

The issues to be considered are:

Generally it would be expected the the "Law of the Land" would apply; however in an industry where so much information is manipulated remotely the pertinent law enforcement agencies will be forced to decide, or solicit from higher authorities, which precedents would be appropriate to apply to the infringement(s) concerned.

Enforcement

Often law enforcement groups encounter difficulties in coordinating their efforts due to discrepancies in jurisdictional laws.

What should be created for the policing of groups that encroach upon acceptable international standards is a legal attache/secretariat that would coordinate inquiries and investigations relating to cross-jurisdictional occurrences. Through this vehicle only the appropriate federal authorities would be allowed to access an extended contact database.

Registries are obligated to either enable or educate sovereign states on practices and procedures on how to filter these Top Level Domains from the Domain Tree which is accessible from their respective jurisdictions. Registries will be further obliged to assist these governing entities in determining access standards for content (i.e. - what is considered art in some jurisdictions is designated pornography in other regions).

Operational Standards

The functions of the registry will be operated in compliance with the administrative and operational standards as established by the US Department of Commerce, The US Department of Justice, the US NTIA, the US NIST, IANA, IETF, IAB and all other pertinent federal and international regulatory authorities.

In addition:

* All TLD servers will run DNS Secure (the most current version of BIND).

* All TLD servers will be USG Orange Book compliant in addition to observing standards set out in RFC 2050.

Parallels

Content segments that parallel the issues that are inherent in the Adult Content Industry have similar legal and civil issues. Software piracy (warez) and audio and video piracy all fall under international intellectual property theft law under Interpol guidelines.

Unfortunately due to the anonymous nature of the online theatre (the Internet) it is extremely difficult to track infringements and exploitation of pirated copyrighted materials. Frequently the ability to enforce and prosecute offenders is obstructed by the inability for law enforcement agencies to coordinate investigations among themselves.

Concepts

There are many concepts that the industry can introduce that would assist in the regulation and organization of adult content within the confines of the online industry.

An effective physical employment of an adult content exclusive top level domain is to embed physical mechanisms (such as a "Parental Lock") within commercially available software and freeware that would eliminate the ability to access a specific name space.

By enabling such an exclusive use domain countries where such content is illegal or undesirable could filter access in that jurisdiction through the employment of proxy servers.

Many law enforcement groups lack the expertise, tools or experience to identify, track and apprehend the entities that account for the worst offenses in regards to the status quo of decency laws throughout United Nations sanctioned countries. All content exclusive domains should be required to provide 24/7/365 support to assist in the objectives of proactive law enforcement efforts by such empowered authorities.

One very strong vehicle for motivating the industry into self-regulation/policing is to promote the involvement of such groups as the ASACP (Adult Sites Against Child Pornography), the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), the CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) and AIM (the Association for Interactive Multimedia). These groups have membership ranks composed of both corporate citizens and private individuals. If promoted properly in the media, proper market pressures exerted upon both consumers and purveyors of adult content would be an effective maneuver in expanding the self-regulation umbrella of the adult content industry.

Conclusion

The enabling of an Adult Content oriented Domain Name Space will allow for:

The strong argument can be made that by enabling such a content exclusive Domain Name Space to exist one is creating a "Red Light District" for the Internet. In this case consumers of such oriented product will be able to locate sought after sites with greater ease and efficiency, as would happen in any other content exclusive Domain Name Space.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to force all of the existing Adult Content providers on the Internet to adopt an exclusive Domain Name Space by mandate. However all such registries should be compelled to solicit other registries and search engines in order to persuade Adult Content oriented sites to defect to a particular content exclusive domain name space.

 Home 
 
 
 ESSAYS 
 |
 About |
 Lists |
 Faq |
 Works |
 Draft |
 Press |
 Inc |
 Support |
 Issues |
 Setdns 
 
 
 Mueller |
 Sexton |
 Fenello |
 Stef |
 
 HURST 
 |
 Steinberg |
 Misc |
 Rutkowski |
 Feld |
 Cook |
 Love |
 Berryhill |
 Frankel |
 Barry |
 Dahlgren 
 


The open-rsc is a project by, of and for the Internet community.

If you have comments on any aspect of this project, you can either send them to everybody involved by sending mail to domain-policy@open-rsc.org, or, if you want to send mail just to the webmaster, send mail to webmaster@open-rsc.org

Donate: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund or Save The Rhino