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Net Content Coalition expands

The nonprofit organization announces plans to allow new members to join amid criticism that its base is too limited.

The Internet Content Coalition (ICC) today announced plans to expand its membership base.

It comes amid some criticism that the nonprofit group's membership is too limited. The ICC, formed last year, is an organization of content providers and distributors on the Web.

"As a community of professional Web publishers, we are focused on allowing the industry to develop the standards and practices for content, publishing, and commercial use of the Internet," James Kinsella, general manager of MSNBC and a cofounder of the ICC, said in a statement. "We believe ICC has a pivotal role in shaping the architecture of the Web and in maintaining a free Internet for the benefit of millions."

This summer, the group met to consider applying a "news" label to its Web content in order to bypass technology that censors violent or sexual Net sites. The plan created controversy, along with the group's invitation-only membership policy. In August, the group rejected the rating proposal, largely because it would be too difficult to implement effectively.

Cost of membership in the group will range from $1,500 to $5,000, which includes organizations as well as law firms. Existing members include MSNBC, Playboy Enterprises, Sony Online Ventures, the Weather Channel, Warner Brothers Online, Warner Music Group, ZD Net, and CNET: The Computer Network. (CNET publishes NEWS.COM.)

NEWS.COM reporter Courtney Macavinta contributed to this report.