Online Porn Empire Settles Lawsuit Against The Company Behind .XXX

stuart lawley

Stuart Lawley, pictured here, is the head of ICM Registry.

The owner of a ton of pornographic websites has settled an antitrust lawsuit against pornographic search engine Search.xxx.

Porn website owner Manwin Licensing International SARL, which operates sites like YouPorn and Pornhub, sued ICM Registry, which owns the massively-hyped .xxx domains that launched in 2011. 

Manwin accused ICM of price gouging by charging porn site owners way too much money to use the .xxx suffix, according to Reuters. Manwin says "defensive registrations" were necessary to prevent confusion that would result from other companies registering under the names of popular .com sites.

Under a settlement announced Wednesday, ICM will sell the domain names at a discounted price during the month of May. ICM promised to offer similar promotions in the future.

Business Week's Paul Barrett points out that it's a little weird Manwin didn't get any money out of the deal. He speculated that perhaps Manwin has more important concerns than ICM's alleged price gouging in light the recent arrest of company head Fabian Thylmann on suspicion of tax evasion.

Manwin says in a press release that it's pleased with the deal.

"One of Manwin’s key motivations was to make .xxx pricing lower and more competitive,” the company says.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages Internet domain space, has recently been selling new domain name suffixes beyond the traditional .org, .edu, or .com names.

These new domains appear to be a recipe for litigation, as companies race to buy up hot domains like .xxx. Amazon, for example, plans to buy up .book and .author — a move that could invite litigation from authors and publishers.

Scott Turow, a lawyer and writer, told Reuters in March that "putting generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power. The potential for abuse seems limitless."



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