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MU buys .xxx domain names to protect trademark

Purveyors of porn won't be able to buy sites borrowing Mizzou name
Monday, November 7, 2011 | 5:23 p.m. CST; updated 5:31 p.m. CST, Monday, November 7, 2011

COLUMBIA — MU is one of almost 80,000 institutions and companies that have purchased Internet addresses designed for pornography providers — but not for the reason you might think.

MU bought the addresses mizzou.xxx, missouritigers.xxx and missouri.xxx to prevent those names from being associated with adult entertainment websites.

"If somebody wanted to buy (the domain) and run a porn site, they could," Division of Information Technology spokesman Terry Robb said. "People could mistakenly go to mizzou.xxx, and there you are. It's our trademark name, and a porn site obviously should not use our trademark name for their activities."

MU spends $129 per year for a block on the addresses. Robb said the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers alerted trademark holders in September that they would need to protect their trademarks. The corporation is the global organization that monitors and approves top-level domains.

The .xxx addresses are being sold by ICM Registry, the company that controls the domain. The .xxx domain will make adult websites easier to find for people who want them and easier to avoid for people who don't, said Jocelyn Johnson, a public relations representative from the firm representing ICM Registry.

"ICM Registry has been working on .xxx for almost 10 years now, in terms of getting it prepared and getting it approved," Johnson said. "So when it was approved last spring, it had been in the works for a while."

Between Sept. 7 and Oct. 31, almost 80,000 companies registered names under the .xxx domain. This was the "sunrise period" in the registration process, during which companies with trademark names could buy the Web addresses, Johnson said. The company is not releasing information about how many of these companies were registering names because they wanted to block pornographic websites from using their trademark names.

"Companies applying to remove trademarks needed to submit an application and supporting materials to prove they were, in fact the trademark owner," she said. "Once the application was submitted, ICM Registry had a third-party company verify the legitimacy of the trademark and owner."

A new registration phase begins Tuesday, when companies in the adult entertainment industry can buy website names, even if they don't have a trademark. In early December, anyone can buy a .xxx website name, and most of the registered websites will begin publishing content, Johnson said.


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Comments

Louis Schneebaum November 7, 2011 | 6:37 p.m.

Why even waste a dollar on it? There are hundreds of possible permutations of the name: missouritigers.xxx, mu.xxx, mutigers.xxx, etc. Why not buy them all up? Alternatively, we could choose not to live our lives quaking in terror of someone accidentally visiting a website that doesn't exist yet and, even if it did exist, wouldn't actually be affiliated with Mizzou. The best way to tell would be the fact that you don't see a picture of Jesse Hall and the MU Logo, but instead see pornography...

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 7, 2011 | 7:16 p.m.

Confusion over .xxx and .edu TLDs? Moronic.

But... give credit for entrepreneurial spirit to ICM Registry, not only selling domain names *for* porn, but also selling domain names in the .xxx TLD for *FEAR* of porn. That's Brilliant!

3 x 80,000 x $129 = $30,960,000

I'd hazard a guess that the people running ICM Registry are a lot more savvy than the institutional suits that fell for the ruse.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum November 7, 2011 | 8:46 p.m.

I'm just bummed out that I didn't think of it first and will thus have to work tirelessly until the end of my days. Unless, I can sell all of these .cok URLs...

(Report Comment)
Tim Parker November 8, 2011 | 3:53 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Richard Saunders November 9, 2011 | 4:24 p.m.

So... mizzoutigers.xxx is available?

I wonder who will get ShowMePorn.xxx?

(Report Comment)

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