[ppml] Free Market

Stephen Sprunk stephen at sprunk.org
Sun Aug 26 11:54:38 EDT 2007

Thus spake "Iljitsch van Beijnum" <iljitsch at muada.com>
> As I've said before, I don't think large scale reclaiming is going
> to do all that much for us, but if it would, I can't believe that lack
> of a few signatures would be enough to stiffle the growth of the
> world wide internet that has already become crucial to the
> economy of many countries.
> Not sure how it works in the US, but here in Holland if they want
> to build a railway through your property, the government CAN
> take that property away from you under some circumstances.

It's called "eminent domain" here; various governmental units (and a few 
private ones, like utilities and railroads) can forcibly acquire your 
property in return for the fair value if you refuse to sell.  The use of 
eminent domain is sometimes called a "taking".

However, ARIN does not have the power of eminent domain, and it's unclear 
anyways that the government has the power to forcibly acquire sets of 
integers, which are rather different than real estate.  OTOH, there's also 
no law that says ARIN, as a registry, is required to "remember" the 
registrations of integers that it doesn't have a contract for.  Since 
integers are not property, there's not really much parallel with eminent 
domain, since ARIN "forgetting" legacy registrations would not be a 
"taking".  You can't take a number away from someone.  How could anyone, 
even a government, revoke your right to use the number 13, for instance?

( There are interesting intersection with the AACS LA here: they claim 
ownership of an unspecified number of 128-bit integers, and they also claim 
they'll sue anyone who uses those numbers in certain ways.  I doubt the 
courts will find that argument meritorious, especially since people can't 
know whether or not a particular integer is "owned" by the AACS LA because 
they refuse to list them. )

None of this stops people from litigating the matter, of course, if we do 
things they don't like.  However, we've been told to make policy as if such 
things were not a problem and leave it to counsel to sort out.  If we want 
to propose a policy that revokes all legacy registrations (not that I'm 
endorsing that), we can do that.  The BoT is free to shoot it down if the 
legal risks outweigh the benefits, but that is not our problem here on PPML 
unless and until that happens.


Stephen Sprunk         "God does not play dice."  --Albert Einstein
CCIE #3723         "God is an inveterate gambler, and He throws the
K5SSS        dice at every possible opportunity." --Stephen Hawking 

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