[arin-ppml] Policy Proposal 108: Eliminate the termlicenseinthe NRPM

George Bonser gbonser at seven.com
Sun Feb 21 13:35:36 EST 2010

I think how they are handled depends upon jurisdiction and water is not
a finite resource, the amount of it varies from year to year.  IP
address space is a fixed asset.  There are always the same total number
of IP addresses from year to year.  "Water rights" was an
orifice-extracted analog.

As the addresses are a certain fixed quantity and more can never be
"discovered".  Water is different in that regard.

The community has a fixed supply of addresses.  I don't have a problem
with someone having an excess of that resource transferring that excess
to someone who would qualify for more space but can't get a direct
allocation due to address depletion.  I do have a problem with money
changing hands for those addresses.  The reason is that the resource is
a community resource.  If someone has an excess, then the excess should
have been returned to the community.  Selling them means that they have
an incentive not to return excess resources to the community for
allocation on a first-come first-served basis.  It means the allocation
goes to highest bidder.  The problem then becomes one of equal access to
a community resource.  A network that qualifies for address space but
cannot obtain them from the RIR because of resource depletion but can't
compete against a Google for bidding on them is kept out of the

You end up with a situation where a few large players end up with all of
a fixed resource and there is the potential for corruption.  Company A
notices that Company B has more address space than they are using.  They
demand that Company B sell them half the excess or they are going to
"report" company B as having too much.  Big players end up extorting
more address space from others and then maybe someone makes an attempt
to "corner the market" in IP addresses in order to prevent competition
just as large agricultural operations can buy up much more water
allocation than they actually use for no other reason than to keep
anyone else in the area from having them.  IP addresses then become
"money in the bank"

IP addresses should never be regarded as property any more than letters
of the alphabet should be property.  They are only an address.  When you
move, can you take your house number with you? Can you sell your house
number to someone else?  What if someone cornered the market in address
numbers and nobody else could build a house?  It is hard to find a good
analog because the Internet is different.  But a major developer buying
up all the house numbers in an area might prevent a person from building
their own home and getting mail service unless they buy it from the

I see the notion of IP addresses being property as potentially allowing
large operators to control address space outside of their actual
provision of service.  I see it as potentially stifling of competition.
I see it as potentially preventing small operators from access to the
Internet except by going through the larger operators.

In a perfect world, everyone would be audited every few years and any
address space they do not qualify for should be returned.  In a slightly
less perfect world, any time addresses are transferred, both parties
should be audited and the transfer only taking place if the receiving
party qualifies for them under existing rules and the party giving the
IPs would return all excess IPs they hold to the RIR.  


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Milton L Mueller [mailto:mueller at syr.edu]
> Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2010 10:02 AM
> To: George Bonser; James Hess; michael.dillon at bt.com
> Cc: arin-ppml at arin.net
> Subject: RE: [arin-ppml] Policy Proposal 108: Eliminate the
> termlicenseinthe NRPM
> ________________________________________
> From: arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net [arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net] On
> Of George Bonser [gbonser at seven.com]
> >Maybe an analog would be water allotments in the Western US.  You
> would
> >have certain "water rights" but they could be modified by whatever
> >agency issues those allotments.
> Dear George:
> Here's a brief selection from an article by a legal expert on water
> rights law:
> "The scarcity of water in the Rocky Mountain and southwestern states
> has led to the development of a system of water allocation very
> different from that which exists in regions graced with more abundant
> rainfall. Rights to water are established by actual use of the water,
> and maintained by continued use and need. Water rights are treated
> similarly to rights to real property, can be conveyed, mortgaged, and
> encumbered in the same manner, all independently of the land on which
> the water originates, or on which it is used. The following is a
> summary of the legal framework governing water rights in the arid
> of the country."
> http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Jan/1/241492.html if you want to read
> more

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