ICANN approves .XXX red-light district for the Internet

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Sat Mar 26 17:21:19 CDT 2011

On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 5:43 PM, John R. Levine <johnl at iecc.com> wrote:
>> US Code TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 71 > § 1470
>> http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00001470----000-.html
> That law includes the phrase "knowing that such other individual has not
> attained the age of 16 years."  That's why porn sites have a home page that
> asks you how old you are.

In court, willful negligence is generally the same thing as knowing.

> As far as I can tell from looking for case law,
> all the 1470 cases are basically child molestation cases where the 1470
> count was piled on in addition to the real charges, unrelated to kids
> looking for porn sites.

It gets messy because obscenity hinges on local community standards.
But that's the rub -- as a porn purveyor  you can't know what the
community standards are in the user's community. Not many examples of
web sites being taken to task for web content, not yet, but lots of
examples of mail-order porn owners having a really bad year year,
legally speaking.

> So, in short, there's no problem for .XXX to solve.

Suppose, just for the sake of the argument, that a statute or
precedent came about to the effect that a community which permits
access to .xxx sites (by not censoring the DNS) implicitly accepts
"that kind of thing" isn't obscenity under local law. Further, suppose
its found that the individual in such communities circumventing the
technical safeguards in place to censor his access to .xxx is solely
liable for such access, that the porn purveyor is -presumed- to have a
reasonable belief that said individual's activity was lawful... merely
because they access the site using the .xxx extension.

Suppose, in other words, it comes to be that an internet porn purveyor
is protected from local community standards for obscenity so he need
only worry about staying away from stuff that's illegal in his own
back yard. Where the prosecution has to support a claim that the site
is accessible other than through the .xxx name in order to survive an
early motion to dismiss.


William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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