.prn or other adult only domains a good idea?

A bill is being proposed that would require web sites containing material deemed harmful to minors to give up their .com addresses and adopt a .prn or some other address that would designate it as containing adult material.

See bottom half of this

My stance:

  1. Porn has every right to be on the internet.
  2. Parents should be able to restrict access to objectional material fairly easily.
  3. Current content based filtering software doesn’t work very well. It tends to filter more than what it should, and it isn’t too hard to design a site that will slip though its defenses.
  4. This would make filtering a trivial and nearly foolproof task.
  5. It would be pretty cheap to implement.
  6. I don’t see how it would limit free speech.

This looks like a pretty good idea to me. I am missing some hidden problem with it?

I could think of some suggestions to help ease the transition. The registrars could/should offer to convert existing .com’s to .prn’s at a rate less than the cost of a whole new domain, for example.

I like the idea except for the “require” part. I’d rather that it were voluntary (with no official org in charge of defining what is and is not “harmful to minors”) yet regulated in part by the ISP community – ISPs that host a lot of sites and/or email correspondence customers that don’t use .prn for them could come to be blacklisted until they get with the program.

It is one thing for porn site owners to identify themselves as such to advertise to those seeking porn while helping to keep parents of children off their case; it is another thing for all site owners to be subject to review by someone whose idea of what constitutes “harmful to minors” could be awfully broad and inclusive. What protects my site,with its theory papers such as Sexual Objectification and Visual Aspects of Sexuality, from being categorized as porn? I trust earthlink and other ISPs to have a lot more common sense about such things than I would ever trust some political appointee.

AHunter3, I have some of the same reservations. In the balance, I think I still prefer require by law for a couple of reasons. But, perhaps the phrasing “harmful to minors” needs to go and then be very specific about what should fall under this type of domain.

  1. I think porn has been pretty well defined, legally and in the courts.
  2. I would also add that porn spam should be required to come from a porn domain. I guess this is really where I like it to be a law. Spam bothers me much more than porn. This would make at least some spam super easy to filter and easy to prosecute violations. (A violation being a porn site being promoted by email from other than a porn domain)
  3. What you describe should easily be excluded legally.
  4. If a site is truly borderline, why not adopt a porn domain?
  5. If this is the law, and it is well written, it should actually make things easier for the porn opperators. It makes for a clear defense that he/she has taken reasonable steps to protect the children.

The difference in our opinioins, could mostly stem from my having more faith in the courts keeping something assinine from making it through. I could be naive though. Its happened before.

It looks pretty bad. The bill doesn’t cover ‘porn’ despite what you seem to think, it covers any speech deemed harmful to minors. That has, in the past, included sites on topics like drugs (especially legalization and actual effects), homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, unpopular political speech, computer security (not just H4X0R sites), and a host of other sites that aren’t just porn. If the bill passed, I’d expect it to have little effect on what kids could see - libraries wouldn’t be able to block the ‘adult only’ domains out of the free speech concerns that have blocked filtering software in the past, and filtering software would be as hard-pressed to sort out the actual stuff a parent wants to block from the stuff that gets forced into the domain that they don’t want to.

Your point 2 is pretty out there IMO; the library is full of potentially ‘objectionable material’ which parents can’t and shouldn’t be able to restrict access to ‘fairly easily’.

Riboflavin, If the bill wound up being applicable to many of things you mention, I would indeed be very opposed to it.

Here is what I am hoping for:

  1. This bill applies to actual porn.
  2. Porn is material that is designed to be primarily of purient interest, thats all.
  3. Congress will learn to write some narrowly focused and specific legislation.

Again, I might be naive.

I’m not American, but I can see some problems with this legislation. It won’t solve the problems it claims exist. No computer safeguard is completely hackproof, and as soon as someone finds a way to filter out all .prn sites, someone else will find a way to bypass that filter. Further, no amount of easy-to-use protection is enough to overcome parental indifference. If every pornographic site announced itself with a loud warning siren, there will be parents who will yell from the next room at the kids to turn off that damn noise, not stop looking at the site.

Of course, if the parents were involved and concerned, they wouldn’t need this legislation in the first place.

Legislating morality has always struck me as more about getting votes than protecting anyone.

Granted, congress has had a pretty poor track record in this arena lately.

I hold out hope they could improve.

Ignoring how congress could screw up such a law, what I am really looking for is problems with the idea in theory.

Maybe if we get something really workable, we could forward it to congress as an example.:smiley:

You are of course correct about the need for concerned parents. I would still think setting up a browser to not open .prn sites would be fairly foolproof.

I am thinking this would make the job of a concerned parent a bit more managable is all.

From the CNN article you linked to (bolding mine):

You can talk about ‘what you’re hoping for’, but the simple fact is that even the short summary in the CNN article specifically says that the bill does not, in fact, limit itself to porn. THAT is the big problem with the law. “Ignoring how congress could screw up such a law” is a poor point to start a debate from, as pretty much any law looks like a good idea if you ignore how it could be misapplied. “It’s illegal for people to do bad stuff - ignore how congress could mess up the law,” would be silly, and your condition is similarly flawed.

Another flaw I just thought of is that the law in question doesn’t apply to anyone outside of the US, which means that ‘bad stuff’ will not be confined to the specified domains, which renders even the ‘easy filtering’ part moot.

Finally, I don’t see any need for a law here. This could be done without government involvement at all, and would probably be a good idea - porn sites generally WANT to identify themselves as porn sites, and don’t want to let kids in (aside from any moral or legal considerations, a CC charge from a kid will probably not stick, and they’re in it for money).

This is pretty persuasive. Looking at the porn operators motivation definitely alters the idea of “need” in my mind.

For the record, I would not support the bill if everything mentioned (hate speech, and other material… ) was included in the final draft. I would only consider the more focused idea, personally. I probably should have stated specifically in the OP that I would expect/hope the bill to be more specific by the time it was considered for passage than at its introduction.

Now, I guess I am down to this:

If the online porn industry called for and got a .prn domain and they started using it, I would have to agree there is no need for the legislation at all.

On consideration of your arguement, I would have to agree that it really is in their best interest to persue something along these lines.

What if they don’t agree?

and… wow, finally back up to 500 posts again after the shutdown.

Well Scott, I agreed with you at first, but Riboflavin does make a good point.

I’m not a fan of government interferance in the choices of its citizens, and it looks like that particular working could be abused pretty easily.

While I won’t say that porn should be shown to kids, I don’t think that the gov. would be happy to stop there. The “material deemed harmful to minors” part is what worries me. If it were just porn, I’d be behind it all the way. For those of us who enjoy porn and are of age to view it the .prn extension would not be any harder to type than .com, and it would be easier for parents to block children from seeing it.

–==the sax man==–

Would it be fair for online sites that show nudity to register as porn when glamour, sports, music and entertainment magazines at the grocery store can show nudity and not be labeled porn?
Actually, I wish that internet sites would adopt policies on their own but its not going to happen.
A good way for no real progress to occur is to include the politicians.

How is it possible to have a web domain of .prn? I only ask because .prn is a file extension for text-based files. I don’t know how widespread this file extension is, but I use it at work with some licensed software (including Excel '97).

Wouldn’t using .prn be like using .xls or .doc? It seems like that would work primarily for downloading .prn files.



And just who makes the determination that a site is a porn site? John Ashcroft; who apparently believes that a statue with an exposed nipple is pornographic?

Just why would any site voluntarily adopt the .prn designation? One person’s porn is another person’s art.

This is another case where Congress should butt out. They just lost a court case declaring one of their laws unconstitutional (simulated sex). Do they REALLY need another?

And BTW, who makes the determination that a site is ‘harmful to children’? Do the words FUCK and SHIT make a site harmful? Do pictures of naked people make a site harmful?

It’s a can of worms that we don’t need to get into. I get really tired of people trying to legislate what I can see and do. This is just another example.


This seems to me a thinly veiled way to sanitize the Internet for children, rather than putting the responsibility on parents (where it belongs). As has been said, this idea is horrible if it applies to anything deemed ‘unsuitable’ for children, not just pornography. There are people out there who believe that the unedited Tom Sawyer is inappropriate for minors.

What makes the Internet great and useful is that it allows so many viewpoints. To banish all ‘inappropriate’ sites to a certain domain would simply kill many of them – do you think that Yahoo! Geocities and other free or low cost providers would want to move to .prn or .porn in order to protect some of their subscribers?

It’s not like there is no other alternative, anyhow. ‘Let them use filters!’

Internet domains extenstion (I’ve got the term wrong, I know) don’t have anything to do with file extensions; old DOS programs with a .COM extension don’t produce any sort of conflict with .com domains.

What is involved in setting up a new domain is getting someone to handle the namespace (that is, keeping track of who gets bigtits.prn) and the DNS entries (that is, what IP address does www.bigtits.prn point to), then getting ISPs to recognize those DNS entries in their own servers. There are several groups of people trying to add some new domains, and it’s kind of messy right now but I suspect that we’ll see some new, generally accepted domains before too much longer.

Ooops, I didn’t realize that just typing that was going to create a link in the post, but it doesn’t go to anwhere real. I guess I should have unchecked ‘automaticall parse URLs’…

Clearly, the proper domain name for this type of thing is .cum.

Okay, back to your intelligent comments…


Actually, many porn sites grab common, mis-spelled, or non-renewed domain names that people would type by accident and redirect them to porn sites. Clearly, I’m not going to give examples but they are very easy to find. They want to be found by accident, they don’t necessarily want to be obvious.

Porn sites would be constantly trying to get around the .prn restrictions because they would make more money that way. Since all businesses would block .prn from work, the porn providers would find a way around that problem. Besides, national legislation for a worldwide internet is pretty silly.

IMO, this is just some politicians trying to sound like they are doing something for the children.

How exactly would this be implemented?

I can see a whole host of problems, not least in that it would do nothing to stop the proliferation of quick-and-easy porn websites on free webspace providers. I can see the larger, established porn sites switching, but how exactly would this be enforced in Russia (for example)? At best there’d be a lengthy and time consuming legal process, during which time many unscrupulous individuals could easily set up ‘temporary’ sites to cater for those without access to .prn.

It’s an ineffective, ‘feelgood’ solution that won’t do a damn thing.