Penn reserves .xxx domain names related to the University


The domains were purchased to avoid 'illicit content' being 'associated with Penn's brand'


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Photo by Photo illustration by Justin Cohen


Penn bought some naughty gifts over the holidays.

The University has reserved domain names such as “Penn.xxx” to prevent adult content creators from using it for illicit purposes, according to Mark Wehrle, technical director of the Information System and Computing Department.

Last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the company responsible for all internet domain names — approved the use of “.xxx” domains for adult entertainment websites. However, the names are not all being used as intended.

Speculative individuals have bought “.xxx” domain names related to prominent institutions in hopes of making a quick profit when these institutions decide to buy these names back from them.

These institutions are buying the domains back in order to eliminate any connections to illicit content on the web that could be construed as the institution’s.

Wehrle wrote in an email that “Penn is sensitive to making sure that its trademarks, which include its name, are protected and used in ways that have been pre-approved by the University.”

Wehrle wanted to make sure that illicit content is “not associated with Penn’s brand” and the trademark is not “used in ways not intended by Penn.”

Political Science professor Roger Smith agreed with the University’s decision, saying that while “Penn is a university that promotes free expression and inquiry,” it has “the right to protect itself” from the bad intentions of others.

College freshman Casey Li also agrees with the University’s decision. “I think it is fine for them to buy domains for that purpose,” she said, “as along as they don’t actually put any graphic content on it.”

The University of Colorado found itself in a sticky situation when a prospecting Las Vegas individual bought the domain name “Colorado.xxx” and started posting amorous content on it.

The University of Colorado, which had already reserved 27 domain names, is currently in talks with the owner of the rogue domain name, according to University Business.

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