Just before wrapping up its meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board voted to postpone any decision about a proposal to create a ".xxx" top level domain for adult Web sites.
The matter is scheduled to be taken up again at its June meeting in Brussels.
The board voted unanimously to direct the organization's CEO and general counsel to write a "report of possible process options" within the next two weeks that will be posted online for a 45-day public comment period.
In 2005, the ICANN board voted to negotiate a contract with ICM Registry for the .xxx domain, finding that ICM's proposal met required criteria. But in 2007, the board rejected the proposal. ICM appealed that decision to the organization's Independent Review Panel which, last month, ruled that ICM had been treated unfairly.
The review panel's ruling (PDF) noted a 2005 letter to ICANN from an official with the Bush administration Commerce Department saying that the department had received "nearly 6,000 letters and e-mail from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children and opposing the creation of a new top level domain devoted to adult content." The panel found that, in 2007, the board was pressured to reject the proposal "by the government of the United States and by quite a number of other influential governments."
By e-mail from Nairobi, ICM Registry CEO Stuart Lawley said: "We note the ICANN board's resolutions and are looking forward to seeing the proposals in the next 14 days for the process to implement the Independent Review Panels decision."
Full text and audio of ICANN resolution and vote
Here is the text of the resolution: (The "whereases" were not transcribed, but they're in the four-minute audio file at end of this post.)
"It is resolved that the board has considered the independent panel's declaration in conforming with the ICANN bylaw requirements during its meeting in Nairobi and explored possible paths regarding ICMs application for .xxx. Resolved the board directs ICANN's CEO and general counsel to finalize a report of possible process options for further consideration and further resolves that the board directs ICANN CEO and general counsel to post the report of possible process options on the ICM manner for public comment within 14 days which will enable the community to provideinput on the board processes. The report will be posted for public comment for no less than 45 days which will enable the board to consider the possible process options no later than ICANN's 38th international meeting in Brussels."