[arin-ppml] Policy Proposal 108: Eliminate the term license in the NRPM

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Feb 12 20:12:53 EST 2010

> -----Original Message-----
> From: arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net 
> 	I believe that the US has a public policy tradition 
> that you cannot
> own simple words, integers, or other primary language or mathematical
> elements. IP addresses and Autonomous system numbers are simple
> numbers, so, should be subject to that same tradition.

I've already explained the fallacy behind this. Creating an exclusivity in a block of ip addresses cannot in any way be equated with ownership of the mathematical abstractions (integers) that we use to identify the block. Any more than using latitude and longitude to identify a land parcel means that you own those numbers. 

Note however that all national laws recognize a property right in a word when it is used an an identifier of the source or origin of goods. And this illustrates my point perfectly: you can own, transfer, license or otherwise benefit economically from the trademark "Apple" (or the IP address but you do not own the "word" apple in all its generic and non-infringing uses (nor do you own the integers 123 when you get assigned that IP address). 

> 	In reality, there is absolutely nothing that stops any 
> cooperating group of people who own routers from reassigning all 
> of the IPv4 address space on their own terms completely independent 
> of the
> RIR system.  The Internet depends on the general cooperation of
> the community in enlightened self interest, expressed as the RIR
> system. There is no force of law in ARIN policy, nor should there
> be.

I suspect that if any cooperating group of people attempted to reassign IPv4 address space in a way that conflicted with RIR assignments you would run screaming to the world's governments and demand that they be stopped. This has already happened with respect to the DNS root, which was also, supposedly, based entirely on "cooperation." 


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