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

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Thu Feb 18 03:26:12 EST 2010

> "Making a loan"  means the same thing as  "lending".  You 
> want to say IP addresses should be clearly indicated as not 
> property, and then you are using words in discussion that 
> imply they are.

That's not what the judge says. According to the judge, the
words used to describe something are important. That's why
legal documents sound so formal, because they use certain 
words in certain ways according to established traditions of
law, either common law or case law. If you don't use a formal
term, but instead choose to use an informal one, the judge 
will not just ASSUME that you mean the same thing.

> It's a bit confusing to say IP addresses aren't property, and 
> then use words like "lend" that imply they are  property that 
>  someone temporarily confers, instead of selling or 
> transferring, okay.

Saying that IP addresses aren't property is clarifying, not

> Let's back up a bit...  and say  if the IP address itself is indeed
> not property:  then  neither  assignee nor ARIN   _OWN_   IPs.

Precisely! Now you are beginning to understand.

> Because they are not property,  nobody  can "lend" IP addresses.
> Nobody can  "license"  the legal use of IP addresses,   because
> ownership  or some other exclusive right would be required to 
> do these things.

We're in the desert where water is scarce. It is two km to the
nearest well. You are thirsty and have no money to buy water
so you ask me for a drink, and promise to give me a drink in
return, the next time that you have water. I'm a nice guy and
give you a LOAN of some water. Next day, you go to the well,
and fill your waterskins. Later that day you give me a drink,
thus fulfilling the loan agreement. Except that nobody owns
the water. It flows freely from the wells, for anyone to take.
You pay nothing for it, and nothing distinguishes it from 
the water in anyone else's jugs and pots and waterskins.

Perhaps the water isn't property at all, and I didn't actually
LEND you any water, but performed a service for you of bringing
you water from the well. You could have given me money for the
service, because the service has value, but that doesn't mean 
that the water is property. What if I want to bring lots of 
water from the well and sell it to local folks to save them 
a trip. And what if I allow you to sell some of my water, i.e.
licence you to sell the water. 

You cannot really discuss this whole property issue in isolation
from the services involved in registering IP addresses, running
an in-addr.arpa server, managing the whois directory. Let's face
it, if I want to number my nameserver, there is nothing
stopping me, and if I run into problems with it, it is not because
I don't own the IP address, but because I don't receive various
ARIN services associated with that IP address.

>  Nobody can transfer  or assign property 
> rights to IP addresses.

Says so in the RFCs, in ARIN policy and in the RSA.

> Any of the above words like "lend" or "license" when used 
> seem to strongly suggest that  the  "IP  address"  itself is 
> an  owned object that ARIN had acquired legal ownership of 
> and confers  some  exclusive legally protected monopoly  to 
> the use of that  IP number,  when configuring hosts on a network.

I agree. ARIN should make sure to explicitly state that IP
addresses are not property to make things perfectly clear.
Oh wait...

--Michael Dillon

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