[arin-ppml] The root of the disagreement?

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Jun 27 05:56:55 EDT 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> Was just reading back through Ruling the Root, when I (re)discovered
> your overview on methods for allocating goods.
> Very illuminating -- truly. Is there anyplace where those who do not
> have the book could peruse your chapter on "The Political Economy of
> Identifiers" online?

Not at the moment. Might have time to make it available when returning
to US.

> Do you think that IP addresses are, or should have, the same
> based value that domain names currently have?  

Of course, IP addresses do not have semantics, which moots the question
whether they should have them.

> Would you argue that the
> value of IP addresses, and and the overall system that they support,
> would be more valuable if, instead of being unique but only
> unidimensionally so (i.e., globally homogeneous in all other
> nontrivial respects), IPv4 addresses were characterized by similar
> hierarchies of use value (memorableness, etc.) and exchange value ($$
> $) that is characteristic of individual domain names?

No, I think that whole chapter was predicated on the contrast between
meaningless unique identifiers that serve a technical function (IP
addresses) and semantically meaningful unique identifiers, where the
semantics bring conflicts over property rights related to trademark,
personal names, company names, geographic indicators, etc. (we are
_still_ working those out, by the way - witness the IDN ccTLD
discussions in Paris at the ICANN meeting).

> Since domain names are used for human, intentional/purpose-directed
> navigation, I can understand the argument, even the necessity, for
> heterogeneity across those identifiers. However, since IP addresses
> are used for automated, dynamic, algorithmic navigation by machines
> (which are operated by humans who also/already have access to DNS and
> other, even more reliable semantic guideposts), I'm assuming that
> there must be some *other* rationale for thinking that they should be
> evaluated on the same terms...?

Yes, their scarcity value, the need for rationing. 

More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list