Outgoing SMTP Servers

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Fri Oct 28 03:44:16 UTC 2011

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 9:29 PM, Pete Carah <pete at altadena.net> wrote:
> On 10/27/2011 05:38 PM, Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu wrote:
>> On Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:17:22 -0000, Brian Johnson said:
>>> So... I'm in complete agreement with your statement, but The Wikipedia
> reference is not pertinent.
> For our purpose, the ownership of the commons in question truly isn't
> relevant;


For our purpose, describing the Internet as a commons fundamentally
misunderstands its nature.

A commons is jointly owned, either by a non-trivial number of private
owners or by all citizens of a government. For example, I own a
3/11,000ths share of a private road network. Those roads are a

The Internet is not jointly owned. You do not own a one seven
billionth share of the network in my basement and I do not a own one
seven billionth of yours. Rather, the Internet is a cooperative effort
of the sole owners of its distinct individual pieces.

As the owner of the network in my basement, it is my privilege alone
to decide how you may and may not use it. The same goes for the
respective owners of every other piece of the Internet.

Nor is the data transiting these networks a commons. The air over my
land is a commons. I don't control it. If I pollute it or if I don't,
it promptly travels over someone else's land. According to
intellectual property law, the data transiting the Internet is owned
by its originator. That ownership does not change as the packets move
between my network and yours.

The point is, at every step with the Internet there is always a
specific owner whose property is either being used with his permission
or abused against his wishes. At no point is it a commons.

You must understand the Internet's nature before you can properly
consider my responsibility for the instructions passed from or through
my network which direct the action of computers in yours.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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