Name.Space.Info on Tue, 20 Jul 1999 20:39:58 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Letter to US Rep. Tom Bliley from Jim Fleming

Mr. Tom Bliley
U.S. House of Representatives
The Committee on Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2927

Dear Mr. Bliley:

I see that you are beginning to hold hearings[1] to look into the
activities of the private California non-profit company known as ICANN. I
applaud your efforts. I would like to encourage you to look at the ENTIRE
landscape when it comes to Internet resource allocations. Domain names are
only one part of the DNS puzzle. They are like billboards on the
Information Highway. IP Addresses are another key part and IP address
allocations are generally controlled by the same people that control
domain names. Therefore, they should be part of your oversight effort [2]. 

IP Addresses are like land along the Information Highway.  Companies that
own the rights to build on that land prosper and those that do not incur
extra costs to operate and are often locked out of bids and other business
opportunities because they do not have the resources to compete on a level
playing field.  This is a very simple case of the "haves" and the "have

If your committee does a complete job and looks at IP Address Allocations,
it will likely end up in a discussion about the allocations that Jon
Postel made to another largely California based company called @Home[3]. I
suggest that you start there when you have your hearing(s) with ICANN and

The discussions about @Home IP Address allocations have been going on for
years. People can not seem to ever get clear answers. When the allocation
was made by Jon Postel, Paul Mockapetris had left USC/ISI and was working
for @Home. Paul Mockapetris was one of the people that helped to design
and create the DNS. Paul did not stay at @Home very long, he moved on to
start another company. 

Some people claimed at the time that @Home obtained the addresses because
they had $10 million dollars in venture capital and some slick power point
slides. Others claimed that this was an experiment to create a commercial
IP address registry for the cable TV industry. Milo Medin, CTO for @Home
was seen on a popular cable TV show about computers, long after the
company was founded, describing how the Internet was born out of X.25 and
DOD networking and how important it was that he had been one of those
people. Others have noted that it did not hurt to have William Randolph
Hearst III as the initial CEO. 

Still others have pointed out that Colonel Michael St. Johns was
apparently one of the U.S. Government DARPA managers that had provided
funding for Jon Postel. @Home people involved with ARIN have become very
defensive when Michael St. Johns is mentioned, noting that he did not come
to @Home until AFTER they were handed IP addresses by Postel. This seems
likely because he would have then known that @Home was well supplied with
IP addresses to build a successful company, while other companies were
being denied allocations by Postel and ARIN. Why would he go to work for a
company that did not have IP allocations? Also, it seems likely that @Home
would want to reward former U.S.  Government employees for the huge
allocation of resources obtained from the U.S. Government, at no charge to
them. Those resources were leveraged into substantial financial benefits. 
Some compare it to being given the deed to Yellowstone Park by the USG
Park Ranger, Jon Postel. 

One of the interesting aspects of the @Home allocation is that it shows
that a for-profit company can be given internet resources and operate as a
registry and become a commercial success that shareholders can invest in.
This established a trend of for-profit operations that could have been
continued and expanded. Instead, the U.S. Government's Department of
Commerce changed direction in 1997 when they actively assisted in the
creation of ARIN, a private non-profit Virginia company engaged in one of
the same activities that @Home handles, (i.e.  registering IP Addresses). 

What has been confusing to many business people following the @Home, ARIN
and ICANN evolution is that there seems to be a trend being set by the
U.S. Government Department of Commerce to create non-profit companies
where for-profit companies could easily be encouraged, if allowed acccess
to the resources as @Home and other companies have been. This trend toward
the creation of non-profit companies appears to be inconsistent with the
U.S. Government's Internal Revenue Service guidelines which prohibit
non-profit companies from engaging in activities normally carried on
for-profit. The following inserted reference could not be more clear on


Exemption Requirements -  501(c)(6)  ...  "A business league, in general,
is an association of persons having some common business interest, the
purpose of which is to promote such common interest and not to engage in a
regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit."  ...  "No
part of its net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private
shareholder or individual and it may not be organized for profit or
organized to engage in an activity ordinarily carried on for profit (even
if the business is operated on a cooperative basis or produces only
sufficient income to be self-sustaining)." 


I look forward to following your committee's work. In my opinion, the need
for both ARIN and ICANN need to be evaluated in a light that also brings
for-profit companies (like @Home) into the picture.  As a capitalist, I
prefer to see companies like @Home prosper and go from nothing in 1995 to
$11.5 billion dollars in market capitalization with the help of the proper
Internet resources which should not be made scarce by some non-profit
"societies" who seek to hold the economy back and to discriminate between
who gets those resources and who does not. 

In conclusion, I hope that your committee finds that non-profit companies
are totally inappropriate and not in keeping with IRS regulations. I hope
that you help to put America back on a track built upon capitalism and not
the socialism and communism that pours from these non-profits who claim to
doing everyone a favor as they collect taxes and attempt to control which
companies succeed and which do not. 

Jim Fleming
U.S. Citizen
Naperville, Illinois

[1] @@@@@@@@@@

Thursday, July 22, 1999
11:00 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on
Domain Name System Privatization: Is ICANN Out of Control?


[2] @@@@@@@@@@

Electronic Commerce: Domain Name System

"The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is
currently in the process of turning over management of the Domain Name
System (the system by which numeric Internet addresses are translated into
easy to remember names such as to a newly created non-profit corporation,
the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In 1998,
the Committee undertook oversight of the establishment of ICANN and the
transition from government management to private sector management. The
Committee will continue to monitor the transition of the Domain Name
System to ensure the stability of the Internet." 


[3] @@@@

At Home Corporation was incorporated in Delaware on March 25, 1995.

Initial Board of Directors:
John Doerr, Bruce Ravenel, Larry Romrell, Chris Coles,
James Barksdale (Netscape) and William Randolph Hearst III.

Initial Public Offering (IPO):
10,350,000 shares on July 11, 1997
Underwriters: Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Merrill Lynch & Co., Alex Brown
&Sons, Inc., and Hambrecht & Quist)
Offering Price: $5.25

Recent Stock Price: 45 5/8
Market Capitalization: $11.5 B


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