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[rpd] [Community-Discuss] Call for AFRINIC’s registry service migration to other RIRs

Owen DeLong owen at
Wed Aug 4 23:34:04 UTC 2021

> On Aug 4, 2021, at 01:44 , JORDI PALET MARTINEZ via RPD <rpd at> wrote:


> Hi Owen,


> If I create a company to handle you own personal assets, without having been empowered by you to do so, that invalidates the articles in the bylaws of my company.

Well, it doesn’t invalidate them, but the company would never gain access to my personal assets in the first place. As such, this example does not apply to the current situation with the RIRs.

> Will you agree on that?

No. See above. The bylaws of the company remain valid, but the company lacks the ability or authority to obtain control of the assets in question.

> The Internet Resources are from the community, not AFRINIC, not any RIR (maybe it is slightly different in the case of ARIN, we know, at least for the IPv4 ones). It is true that it is a complex legal battle to dispute that. That’s why it is easier that the Board, even if they need to consult with the membership, recognize the mistake and resolve that. One way is ratifying the policy that they decided not to.

This is where our convenient use of imprecise (and even inaccurate) terms gets us into trouble. There are seriously nuanced issues here that require some clarification about the terminology we commonly use and the incorrect thought processes it creates.

So please bear with me as I’m sure some of the things I say below will evoke negative reactions, but please do read through to understand the full context of my explanations. Try to keep an open mind and truly understand the deeper more nuanced way in which things are actually structured. It’s truly a beautiful thing because it simultaneously holds everyone accountable while avoiding any sort of super-powerful central authority. Most impressively, it creates very very few perverse incentives (at least up to the point where you start attaching dollar values to registrations).

There is no such thing as “Internet Resources”. There are integers. Nobody owns integers. Nobody controls integers.

There is such a thing as registrations of numbers for uniqueness among cooperating entities for a particular purpose.

AFRINIC is one of the 6 cooperating entities that currently operate collectively as the central registration authority for a fiction we collectively refer to as “The Internet”.

In reality, there is no organization or actual structure of “The Internet”, there is only a collection of independently operated networks who happen to use a common protocol and happen to agree on ways to exchange traffic and happen to agree on a common registration system in the form of the RIRs and ICANN.

This is useful and convenient, but it carries no force of law and does not have any ability to grant rights or force behaviors. It can, of course, make its issuance or persistence of registrations in its database(s) contingent on compliance with a set of policies or rules set by a process determined by the organizations in question.

The internet resources are NOT from the community, they are integers pulled from thin air. The registrations of those resources, on the other hand, are managed in a hierarchical manner and come originally from IANA (a function currently performed by ICANN) to the RIRs and then to LIRs, NIRs, and End Users. Those registrations are entirely under the control of the companies that operate the registries and are entirely subject to the bylaws thereof.

If you do not like this, of course you are absolutely free to incorporate your own form of regional internet registry that gets its addresses from whatever source you desire and manages its registration database according to whatever policies your policy process you wish.

Crafting the bylaws for such an organization will be very tricky business, but have at it if this is how you wish to spend your time. Another difficulty will be convincing anyone who controls a meaningful router to consider the registrations in your new registry valid, but I leave such things as an exercise for the reader.

As a matter of fiduciary responsibility, the board simply cannot ratify the policy as written because it is, quite simply, not rectifying a mistake, but overriding the general structure of corporate governance and moving control of a membership corporation into the hands of an undefined group of people who may or may not actually have any stake in the company. To the best of my knowledge, this is not permitted under the laws of any country that I am aware.

Perhaps such a thing is possible in Amsterdam, I don’t know. It is not possible as near as I can tell from my reading of the Companies Act of Mauritius. I’m pretty sure it’s not possible in the US.


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