Here's a Monday afternoon poser: what's the difference between www.murder.ie and www.porn.ie?
Well, according to the owner of sex.ie, the former is an acceptable domain name according to the IE Domain Registry's naming policy, while the latter is proscribed under said policy's validity guidelines.
Specifically, the rules state: "The proposed domain name must not be offensive or contrary to public policy or generally accepted principles of morality."
Accordingly, the IE Domain Registry has blocked repeated attempts by sex.ie to acquire porn.ie. The disgruntled applicant explains:
For quite a while now, I've been trying to register the domain "Porn.ie". I've been rejected each time because - according to the IE Domain Registry - the word "porn" is offensive and immoral. To get around this I tried to register "porn" as a business name, but alas, the Companies Registration Office think "porn" is an offensive word.
Just so we're clear here, they aren't saying the act of porn is offensive or immoral, they're saying the word is.
This baffles me for a number of reasons. How is a word immoral? The act of rape is immoral, but the word "rape" isn't. The act of murder is immoral, but the word "murder" isn't. Why doesn't this logic apply to porn, whether or not they think porn is immoral?
Cue Slashdot's take on the matter, which kicks off thus: "Porn.ie is a poor example, since pornography has been a strict superset of free speech since the 1960's; how about: juden-raus.ie? juden-raus.ie, I suspect, would convert many here into willing censors."
Yup, the keen-eyed among you will have spotted the main debating point here. Strict superset? Oh dear, oh dear:
If pornography was a superset of free speech, strict or otherwise, then all free speech would be porn. What you mean is that porn is not a subset of free speech. But I think in Ireland, which is fairly conservative IIRC, it might actually be a disjoint set to free speech.
At this point, we decided we didn't give a tinker's cuss about immoral Irish domain names, but in the interests of something approaching journalism, went and sniffed around a few potential "offensive or immoral" crowd pleasers. Take, for example, poguemahone.ie, which is currently "not registered within the IE Zone". Neither does bollox.ie register on the IEDR radar, which, since both are highly desirable URLS, leads us to suspect they may have been blocked.
There is, however, hope for Irish civil libertarians and professional pornographers in the form of feck.ie, which we reckon is a pretty good substitute for porn.ie. ®
Other domains "not registered within the IE Zone" include milf.ie, cock.ie, pussy.ie and cumslurpingstrumpets.ie, a fact which leads us to wearily concede the IEDR really does take this porn thing rather seriously.
For the record, the sex.ie bloke is right about murder.ie, but no-one to date has taken it upon themselves to register rape.ie.