The sun has risen on the first top level domain name aimed at the adult entertainment industry. A 50 day “sunrise period” running between September 7 and October 28 will allow interested parties to either register a .xxx domain name or exempt a trademarked name from being registered. Although ICM Registry, the company managing the domain, has attempted to make this sound majestic by calling it the sunrise period, it’s really about parties staking a claim to a site like www.regisphilbin.xxx. Don’t act like you couldn’t find, in some dark corner of the Internet, someone who would want this site to exist.

ICM Registry states on its main page that “.XXX isn’t just coming, it’s here!” While you can’t help but read that phrase, along with anything else on ICM’s site, as a double entendre, the statement is still true. In this 50 day period that started September 7, “Sunrise A” gives the opportunity for those in the porn business to secure a certain .xxx domain while “Sunrise B” covers those who wish to protect their brands from being associated with adult entertainment by removing their trademarks from eligibility.

Luckily for Regis (and 99.99% of the world), most famous celebrities have had their names made off-limits when it comes to the new domain. Companies like Disney, on the other hand, are going to have to cover as many bases as possible. In order to prevent something from being registered as a .xxx, the applicant must be a trademark holder, meaning that they have a legal right to be the only party identified with that word or phrase on the Internet.

Disney, for example, holds a lot of trademarks, but there are also a lot of strange people out there. If domains did crop up later that obviously infringe a trademark owned by a company like Disney, they can apply to have it removed, for a fee. Companies with many well-known trademarks will not only be looking at a lot of fees to exempt their marks initially in this sunrise period, but could also be looking at more to kill those sites they never thought someone would be so depraved to register. Is this really fair, for the sake of a porn domain? It may help to set adult sites apart from most of the other destinations on the Internet, but it seems that it doesn’t really matter what the domain for a porn site is, if people want to, they will find it.

When the sunrise period ends on October 28, what ICM refers to as a “quiet period” will follow, where presumably, everyone will have to suffer a little while longer with old-fashioned .com porn sites. Then, on November 6, there will be a “land rush” where those not qualifying for Sunrise A can secure a domain. But the most interesting date will be December 6 when the domain opens up to general registration. Then we’ll see just how weird things can get.

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