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Triple-X Domain Will Promote Legalization of Obscenity says Pro-Decency Groups

Contact: Robert Peters, Morality in Media, 212-870-3222, mim@moralityinmedia.org

 

NEW YORK, Mar. 8 /Standard Newswire/ -- Thirty-three pro-decency organizations and individuals have sent a letter to the Department of Commerce opposing a revised proposal to create a Triple-X "domain" for pornographic web sites on the Internet.

 

The revised proposed .XXX domain, like the original proposal, is being proposed by ICM Registry, the company bidding to provide registry service for the Triple-X domain if it is created.

 

The letter warns that the porn-only domain will likely lead to more porn sites on the Internet, will not protect children or society from the harmful effects of pornography, and will be used as an excuse to not enforce obscenity laws. The letter also warns that it "would appear the .XXX domain is intended to promote legalization of obscenity."

 

The letter explains the latter concern, stating in part:

The Proposed ICM Registry Agreement (Appendix S, Part 8, at p. 86) states that the Registry Operator "will prohibit child pornography;" and ICM Registry chairman Stuart Lawley has said, 'Apart from child pornography, which is completely illegal, we're really not into the content-monitoring business' ["Porn-friendly '.xxx' domains approved," C/NET News.com, 6/1/05].

 

In the United States, however, distributing obscenity on the Internet is also illegal, and long before the Supreme Court in 1982 upheld laws that prohibit child pornography, the Court said this about obscenity in a 1942 case, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire…:

 

[I]t is well understood that the right of free speech is not absolute at all times and under all circumstances. There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene…

 

The Proposed ICM Registry Agreement (Appendix S, Part 8, at p. 90) states that the Registry Operator will '(i) promote the principles set forth in the UN's Declaration of Human Rights related to free expression and (ii) prohibit child pornography…'

 

The clear implication of the above statement is that pornography, other than child pornography, constitutes 'free expression' within the meaning of the United Nations Declaration. But as the Supreme Court observed in the 1957 Roth v. United States…case:

 

The protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people…But implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity…This rejection…is mirrored in the universal judgment that obscenity should be restrained, reflected in the international agreement of over 50 nations… [In a footnote, the Roth Court cited the "Agreement for the Suppression of the Circulation of Obscene Publications, 37 Stat. 1511; Treaties in Force 209 (U.S. Dept. State, October 31, 1956)"]

 

The letter also takes issue with the notion that hardcore pornographers that voluntarily relocate in the proposed .XXX domain and that voluntarily comply with the new domain's rules would thereby become part of a "responsible online adult-entertainment community."

 

In addressing the latter concern, the letter states in part:

 

Furthermore, those who produce and distribute pornography that graphically depicts, among other things, adultery, bestiality, bigamy, excretory activities, orgies, incest, prostitution, male rape, pseudo child porn, teen sluts, unsafe sex galore and the degradation, rape and torture of women (some of whom were trafficked into sexual slavery) are the antithesis of "responsible."

 

The letter was drafted by Morality in Media President Robert Peters. The full text of the letter, with the signers, is available at www.ObscenityCrimes.org on the CURRENT NEWS page.

 

Headquartered in New York City, MORALITY IN MEDIA works through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity. MIM operates the www.obscenitycrimes.org website, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws, and the National Obscenity Law Center, a resource for prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and legislators.