Schools grab .xxx sites to protect names from porn

GENERIC Internet pornography web CBS/AP

Schools grab .xxx sites to protect names from porn
CBS/AP

(AP) ST. LOUIS - Schools nationwide, including The University of Missouri and Washington University, are snapping up .xxx domain names to avoid links of their names to porn sites. 

The new address system is arriving soon for pornography providers, reports The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In a defensive maneuver, universities are registering their names with the .xxx address to keep names like washu.xxx and mizzou.xxx away from pornographers. 

The new .xxx domain will be launched later this year, and before that, everyone with a trademark has the opportunity to reserve names during what's called a "sunrise phase" aimed at protecting organizations against prospectors who grab sites to use or sell at a profit.

"We don't want someone coming across our trademark on a porn site. God only knows what they'd come up with," said Terry Robb, director of information technology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The university also has registered missouri.xxx and missouritigers.xxx.

The .xxx top level domain is aimed at giving adult content providers a natural place on the Internet, though the porn industry has been critical of the plan that some say is the first step in forcing them to move to the more easily blockable domain addresses.

It costs about $200 per domain for universities and others to take control of each of their .xxx sites.

St. Louis College of Pharmacy figured it was money well spent to purchase stlcop.xxx, even if it seems an unlikely name for a porn site.

"But you know, it's better to be safe than sorry," said Chad Shepherd, vice president of information technology for the school.

The decision also can be about protecting a university from unintended harm. For example, Washington University is often known as "Wash. U." An animated female Japanese character named WashuHakubi has inspired a subset of cartoons heavy on sex and violence, making it possible that Washington University could become an accidental victim.

"It wouldn't necessarily be anyone who even knew much about us," said Karen Daubert, the university's trademark and brand manager. As a result, the university has registered washu.xxx, along with washingtonuniversity.xxx and wustl.xxx. 

Visitors to the addresses won't have much to see. With mainstream sites with .com, .edu and .net extensions, organizations set up their various domain addresses to all point to the same Web page.

With .xxx addresses, "they won't point to anything," Daubert said.

  • CBS News Staff

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