Manwin, ICM Settle .XXX Lawsuit
Published on May 1st, 2013 03:17 PM
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Seventeen months after entering an acrimonious federal lawsuit over the adults-only domain space .xxx, adult entertainment conglomerate Manwin Licensing International and .xxx overseer ICM Registry have settled out of court.PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., and LUXEMBOURG – Seventeen months after entering an acrimonious U.S. lawsuit over the adults-only domain space .xxx, adult entertainment conglomerate Manwin Licensing International and .xxx overseer ICM Registry have settled out of court.
Details about the settlement are a bit vague, but this much is known: Manwin dropped the lawsuit it filed in November 2011 in exchange for a temporary reduction in the wholesale price of .xxx registrations, along with a per-domain-registration contribution from ICM to a benevolent fund or funds to be designated later by Manwin.
As one of Manwin’s chief goals in filing the lawsuit was to make .xxx pricing more affordable and competitive, and one of ICM’s chief goals in its defense was to demonstrate it is a responsible corporate member of the adult industry, “both parties feel these arrangements will set precedent for trade and consumer benefit and protection for the online space,” a prepared statement about the settlement noted.
The price drop, which will affect domain registrations newly created between May 1 and 31, lowers the .xxx wholesale price from $62 per domain to $7.85 — the same wholesale price charged by .com registry Verisign. Retail prices will vary by registrar and may be higher, though ICM Chief Executive Officer Stuart Lawley said some registrars have set their .xxx prices at $8 to $12.99 per domain.
“The special pricing is predicated on the [registrars] offering .xxx names at the same price as their standard .com price,” he told YNOT. “However, unlike most domain special offers, under this one registrants can register new names at the low price for up to 10 years.”
Lawley also said prices will rise in June, but ICM has not yet determined whether they will return to the original wholesale price.
“As of now that is the expectation [.xxx domains will return to $62 per domain],” he told YNOT. “That said, this promotional offer may give us some greater indication of the price elasticity in the market and allow us to review our ongoing prices. We will just have to wait and see, I guess.”
Lawley said he expects ICM to run “similar price promotions” in future years.
In addition to the temporary price reduction, ICM agreed to a permanent benevolent contribution of $2 for each new .xxx domain registered after April 30, 2013. The contribution will be delivered monthly to a fund designated by Manwin for the support of an adult industry initiative. The $2 contribution is in addition to the $10 per domain ICM already contributes to the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, an independent, non-profit body tasked with establishing and enforcing policy for the .xxx domain space.
The settlement also incorporated agreements beyond the financial. Manwin agreed to permit content from and advertising for .xxx websites on its tube sites and to allow .xxx websites to participate in its affiliate and promotional programs. Both concessions represented a dramatic about-face for Manwin on issues that proved particularly aggravating to ICM in the past. In October 2012, ICM filed a countersuit seeking triple the $40 million in damages the registry claimed to have suffered as a direct result of Manwin’s .xxx ban. A federal judge dismissed the countersuit in March and ordered ICM to pay a portion of Manwin’s defensive legal fees.
ICM also agreed to give up an implied claim in its marketing by acknowledging that websites hosted within the .xxx space are not the only responsible and safe adult-content locations on the web.
Manwin representatives did not return requests for comment.