Secret list of celebrity .xxx domains removed from market

Michelle Obama safe, Samantha Cameron must use protection


Hundreds, possibly thousands of celebrities have had their names permanently banned from the new .xxx adults-only internet domain.

El Reg can reveal that everyone from Justin Bieber to Piers Morgan has had their .xxx address placed into a permanent "reserved" status by the registry manager, ICM Registry.

This means that cybersquatters or crafty porn webmasters will not be able to register domains such as Beyonce.xxx or BritneySpears.xxx to drive traffic to their sites.

It also means that many celebrities will not have to pay to protect their personal brands in the forthcoming .xxx "sunrise period" or take cybersquatters to court in future.

ICM has not published its list of reserved names, nor will it reveal how long the list is or how it decided which celebrities were worth including.

However, it's possible to reverse-engineer parts of the database using Whois tools provided by ICM and third parties.

The threshold for inclusion appears to be based on fame, rather than sex appeal. While Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt can rest easy, so can Donald Trump and Verne Troyer.

As a useful guide, the only current member of the Celebrity Big Brother cast on the list appears to be Tara Reid. In the unlikely and frankly terrifying event that somebody cybersquats their .xxx names, Jedward and Kerry Katona will have to lawyer up.

You don't even need to be alive to be included. AmyWinehouse.xxx is blocked, as is Elvis.xxx, MarilynMonroe.xxx, JimiHendrix.xxx and OsamaBinLaden.xxx.

From the world of politics, Barack Obama and David Cameron have both been protected. But while MichelleObama.xxx is also blocked, SamanthaCameron.xxx is not.

ICM says that it has reserved roughly 15,000 domains from registration, but this includes names that have been blocked on cultural grounds (the world's capital cities and half a dozen spellings of Mohammed, for example) and thousands of "premium" names that the company plans to auction later.

There are no corporate trademarks on the reserved list. Companies that want to make sure their brands do not appear with a .xxx extension are expected to pay between $200 and $650 to to make sure they are removed from the pool of available names.

ICM says that trademarks, which often match dictionary words, make less clear-cut cases than personal names, and that it is also harder for celebrities to obtain a registered trademark on their name.

It has also created a new anti-cybersquatting policy, the Rapid Evaluation Service, that promises to turn off obviously infringing domain names in as little as three days after a complaint is made.

ICM's trademark protection period runs from 7 September until 28 October. It plans to start accepting registrations from everyone else in December, with registrars such as Go Daddy expected to charge $100 a year. ®


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