Battle over .xxx porn domains to go to court

ICM Registry, the company behind the unsuccessful bid for a .xxx domain for Internet pornography, is to take the United States government to court over the issue.

Earlier this month, ICM's proposals were voted down by ICANN, the American-based body that controls the allocation of Internet domain names. Opposition to the proposal centred largely on its effective creation of an online red-light zone.

The company claims that ICANN, which has a mandate to operate independently, was subjected to undue pressure from Washington over the issue.

It is understood that ICM, which is believed to have invested several million dollars during a six-year campaign to have .xxx approved, will file its case against the US Department of Commerce (DoC) in the Washington district of Columbia later today.

ICM hopes to gain access to information it alleges was withheld by the DoC in a freedom of information act (FOIA) request made in October 2005.

Stuart Lawley, the head of ICM Registry, told Times Online that this information will provide the "extra evidence that provides the irrefutable proof" that the US Government intervened in the issue to prevent .xxx going ahead.

The DoC has said that it "plays no role" in the day-to-day running of the Internet - something that was the subject of intense international scrutiny at a high profile international internet summit in Tunisia in November.

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