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[AfriNIC-rpd] IPv6 Allocations to Non-Profit Networks

David Conrad drc at
Wed Jan 14 18:14:37 UTC 2009

On Jan 14, 2009, at 8:26 AM, Bill Woodcock wrote:
> If the Gates Foundation was operating a service-provider network, and
> providing Internet connectivity services to the public, free of  
> charge or
> restriction, and made the determination that they couldn't afford
> AfriNIC's fees, then yes, that would be one edge case.

I see. It would seem you're pre-supposing significantly more  
requirements than whether or not the organization makes a profit  
("free of charge or restriction", so a non-profit in a country that  
requires ISPs to restrict access would be disallowed from benefiting  
from this policy?).  If that is the intent of the proposal, it should  
probably be made explicit.

> That's the difference, in law, in most places, between a for-profit  
> and a not-for-profit.

I'm not a lawyer nor am I aware of the legal definition of "non- 
profit" in the various venues in Africa, so I guess I'll take your  
word for it.  However, in my experience in the AP region, the concept  
of non-profit as defined by law (which was typically a distinction  
relevant only to the tax code) was quite rare and _exceptionally_  
difficult to obtain (e.g., in Japan back in the mid-90s when I looked  
at getting APNIC non-profit status, I believe there were two (2) non- 
profits defined by law, one being the Red Cross (I forget the other),  
and they required the sponsorship of the empress of Japan to gain that  

The situation is probably different in Africa, of course.

> As a not-for-profit, AfriNIC

Is AfriNIC a non-profit according to the laws of Mauritius?  According  
to its by-laws:

"3.1 The Company shall be a private company limited by guarantee."

As a private company, AfriNIC may choose to do with its profits as it  
sees fit.  In by-law 3.2, it chooses not to distribute its profits to  
its members, but by-laws can be amended by the company at any time.

> Now, if you're saying that the rule of law is not strong enough in  
> Africa
> to support the distinction between for-profit and not-for-profit
> organizations, that seems perhaps unnecessarily pessimistic to me, but
> everyone's entitled to their view.

Quite the contrary.  I'm saying that unlike in the US, the legal  
definition of 'non-profit' varies from one legal jurisdiction to  
another and that this policy would place a non-trivial burden of  
determining whether a requester (or member?) is a 'non-profit' on a  
small staff with limited resources (which this policy would  
exacerbate) who (I assume) have limited knowledge of the legal  
definition of 'non-profit' in the various legal venues in their  
service area.  Given there is no agreed upon legal definition of "non- 
profit", this policy would create vast grey area that AfriNIC staff  
would need to wade through and make subjective judgement calls.  Seems  
like a bad idea to me.

Ignoring the legal status, AfriNIC could require applicants for free  
IPv6 addresses to provide their by-laws demonstrating they act in a  
non-profit manner (add whatever other requirements are appropriate  
here) and require those folks who obtained IPv6 addresses under this  
policy to notify AfriNIC of any by-law changes (and to then pay  
AfriNIC the (inflation adjusted?) fees), but I suspect this would not  
have the desired affect (but could make lawyers who revise by-laws in  
various countries happier).


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