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[ih] Some Questions over IPv4 Ownership

    > From: Ernie Rubi <ernesto at cs.fiu.edu>

    > have a few questions for those of you with enough institutional memory
    > to remember how IPv4 address allocations were first handed out:
    > 1. Who 'owned' IP addresses ab initio? Were IP addresses 'property' of
    > any one entity or person or agency? What is the authority ICANN / IANA
    > had to allocate these addresses if they are not 'theirs.'

Well, do remember that until 1992 or so, when the Internet was opened to the
general public, for commercial use, the only people who were supposed to be
connected to it (as with the ARPANET) were either US government entities, or
outside entities with a government contract which required use of the Internet
to perform. (The controls on who connected up to the ARPANET were more formal,
in large part because the technology made it much harder to delegate
connectivity control there.) So in some sense all Internet addresses
definitely 'belonged' to the US government before that.

In the very earliest days, of course, there were only class A network
numbers. I don't recall who applied for the MIT number (net 18 - which would
have been circa 1978) - it might have been me, it might have been Dave Clark
{... checks ...} RFC-790 says it was Dave. I suspect we just sent email to
Jon Postel, and he looked in the draft version of "Assigned Numbers" which he
kept in his disk directory on ISI{mumble}, gave you the next number, and
wrote it down there! :-) Jon was an employee of ISI, which was on a DARPA
contact, at the time.

The whole process was distinctly informal, compared to connecting to the
ARPANET, both then, and for years afterward. I remember getting Proteon
connected up (via a point-point serial link to MIT) - which would have been
circa 1986 or so - it was very informal: I got a number (from Jon, I think,
but I'm not positive - and maybe it was John Shriver, not me), stuck some
numbers in the appropriate MIT routers (which I was helping run then), and
that was it.