Major online porn studios filed an anti-monopoly lawsuit earlier this week against the gatekeepers of the .xxx domain, citing price gouging and unfair practices.

Manwin, the parent company of popular porn websites, such as YouPorn and PornHub, joined forces with another porn company, Digital Playground, to sue Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and ICM Registry, the company auctioning off the .xxx domain, to reopen bidding with fairer prices.

Websites have been able to purchase domains in the Web’s new red light district since this summer. ICM Registry is currently in a “landrush” stage that only allows website from adult sponsored communities to purchase addresses. Several universities, including University of Missouri, have registered domains to help protect their online reputation.

The 44-page lawsuit seeks redress against ICM Registry and ICANN for “monopolistic conduct, price gouging, and anti-competitive and unfair practices.” In other words, the porn companies alledge the top level domain keepers are unfairly working together to jack up the .xxx price and profit off it.

The porn companies also claim ICM Registy “coerced” ICANN to approve .xxx domain without considering other companies. “ICANN awarded ICM that contract without soliciting or accepting competing bids, and without any market considerations...” the lawsuit states.

Moreover, the suit claims the contract between ICANN and ICM Registry will be “perpetually renewed” every 10 years and ICANN will not place any price restrictions on ICM Registry, like they do on other domains, such as .org or .com.

To combat this, Manwin and Digital Playground want to reopen the bidding process with fairer prices and competition.

ICM Registry responded to the claims, pledging to “vigorously defend their position against any merit-less claims such as this one.”

Photo by Mag3737