Businesses in U.S. complain of .xxx shakedown

NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – In preparation for a new  triple-x Internet domain that will launch in December, lawyers  for the most storied brands in the United States are scrambling  to prevent an x-rated rip-off of an invaluable asset: corporate  Web addresses.

The domain operator administering the .xxx domain is  accepting early applications from brand owners who want control  over their names. ICM Registry says it has received over  900,000 “expressions of interest” from companies that want to  preregister their trademarks or block others from snapping them  up to create, say, a Barbie.xxx or Coke.xxx.

While some adult-content providers are paying the  approximately $200 fee because they want to use the domain,  other non-porn brands ranging from MTV Networks and Budget  Travel to the Red Cross are preregistering to avoid future  legal battles with cybersquatters who register trademarks with  the intention of reselling them.

Porn and mainstream businesses alike complain they are  being forced to buy domain names they don’t want, don’t need  and won’t use — and compare the process to a hold-up.

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