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[rpd] "Community Property" and "Assets"

Owen DeLong owen at
Thu Aug 5 22:45:43 UTC 2021

> On Aug 5, 2021, at 14:20 , Paul Hjul <hjul.paul at> wrote:


> EVERY RIR says that the resources are not property, are not owned by anyone.


> Indeed, claiming title to integers is an absurd concept in that one of the basic concepts of property is a right to exclusive use. No RIR can deny me the use of 5 or any other integer, and no RIR can grant anyone any sort of exclusive right to any particular integer. It?s just not possible.


> Something minor (actually on my phone, apologies if the formating is even more borked)


> IP allocations aren't property, very few sensible people would ever pretend that they are.

Hold on… Let’s be clear…

IP Addresses are not property.
The registrations mapping addresses to particular entities in a particular database (or set of databases) may well be property and are often treated as such in a variety of circumstances.

It’s not clear which is meant when you say “IP allocations” above, so I want to be very clear because the distinction turns out to be critical.

> I fear though that many in the community (little c, rather than big c global Community) are trying to make IP address resources the property of Afrinic which in turn means the property of insiders. Such people are simply either not sensible or are brazenly dishonest.


> What IP address space represents is a set of agreements and practices which gives value and a set of rights in using particular integers when connecting. The agreement between a resource member and Afrinic creates rights for that member as against Afrinic. Ultimately there is a system but unlike a patent (for example) as property an LIR doesn't have a property based claim against the world.

Sort of… What IP address registrations represent are similar to your above description. There are no “rights in using particular integers” conveyed, by such registrations, but rather there is an “agreement that the registry will not issue same numbers to another party” and a number of ISPs and other router operators find value in this and choose to follow the advice of this system when considering who to accept such advertisements from.

I can’t take my “right to use” from AFRINIC and demand that an ISP route my addresses on that basis, so it isn’t a “right” to use.

Similarly, if I can find an ISP willing to announce a netblock on my behalf, even though AFRINIC says it does not belong to me, it’s unclear how much the supposed “rightful” user of that netblock can do to stop said ISP other than through cooperation of said ISP. (i.e. the police or the courts have an uncertain level of ability to tell the ISP what to put into his router configurations).

The fact that many other ISPs may well de-peer said ISP serves as a motivator for cooperation, to be sure, but peer pressure is different from rights enforcement.

> The RIRs don't give you exclusivity on the actual integers but when you give other parties an integer that you shouldn't you could be infringing on your service agreement and so on with them, we are in the realm of commercial agreements not property. And honestly I don't see this as a gap I see it as intentional and if it wasn't for mayhem involving Afrinic actually a good thing.

Yes. Exactly correct here.

> The effect is that an IP allocation is certainly an asset. If you look at how you record leases you'll see this working out very well. Of course the RIRs don't allocate on a leasing to LIR basis (for one thing it's permanent) but the idea of a resource in which the entitity has personal rights is the same.

Well… quasi-permanent anyway. (depends on annual renewal, conformance to RSA, policies, etc.)

> To talk of IP space as property is wrong but to ignore the fact that an allocation is an asset is equally wrong.

Sort-of. You must consider that it is the registration itself (the mapping of entity<->number) in a particular set of databases that is the property, not the numbers on the back side of the mapping.


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