Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project


Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
- IP Numbers
- - RIRs
- - IPv6
- - - USGovt & IPv6
- - - IPv6 Transition
- - - IPv6 Reference
- History
- IP Address =/= Liability
- Definitions

Internet Addresses
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- Root Servers
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- - .us
- -
- gTLDs
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- IP Numbers
- - IPv6
- NATs
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- Gripe Sites
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Telephone Addresses

Jon Postel

"Photo by Irene Fertik, USC News Service.
Copyright 1994, USC. Permission granted for
free use and distribution, conditioned upon
inclusion of the above attribution and
copyright notice. "

The IANA Function: "The IANA functions are a set of interdependent technical functions that enable the continued efficient operation of the Internet. The IANA functions include: (1) the coordination of the assignment of technical Internet protocol parameters; (2) the processing of change requests to the authoritative root zone file of the DNS and root key signing key (KSK) management; (3) the allocation of Internet numbering resources; and (4) other services related to the management of the .ARPA and .INT top-level domains (TLDs).

"ICANN as the IANA functions operator processes changes to three different databases. First, ICANN distributes the protocol parameters or Internet standards developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Second, it allocates IP numbers to the Regional Internet Registries (RIR) who then distribute IP numbers to Internet Service Providers. Third, ICANN processes change requests or updates to the authoritative root zone file or “address book” of the DNS from top level domain name operators - those companies or institutions that manage .com, .org, .us, .uk, etc. In all three cases ICANN’s role is to implement the policies or requests at the direct instruction of the various IANA functions customers.

"NTIA’s role in the IANA functions includes the clerical role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file and, more generally, serving as the historic steward of the DNS via the administration of the IANA functions contract. NTIA has never substituted its judgment for that of the IANA customers." Myths and Facts on NTIA Announcement on Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions, April 2, 2011


The management and assignment of IP numbers was originally handled by Jon Postel, who volunteered for the position. This became known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Jon Postel worked for USC/ISI. The IANA function was originally funded by DOD (DARPA and DCA). IANA did not have a legal existence. It was a function - something that Jon Postel did as part of his employment at ISI.

The IANA website at one point read: "The IANA is chartered by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Federal Network Council (FNC) to act as the clearinghouse to assign and coordinate the use of the numerous Internet protocol parameters." [Rony p 122]

IANA Transition

IANA Transition Legislation

"H.R. 4342 (the DOTCOM Act) was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 8, 2014, to prohibit the NTIA from relinquishing responsibility over the Internet domain name system until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) submits a report to Congress examining the ramifications of the proposed transfer. The language of H.R. 4342 was successfully added as an amendment to H.R. 4435, the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the House on May 22, 2014. The Senate’s FY2015 National Defense Authorization bill (S. 2410) and the House and Senate FY2015 Commerce,Justice, Science appropriation bills (H.R. 4660/S. 2437) also address the proposed transition. Additionally, other bills introduced into the 113th Congress (H.R. 4367 and H.R. 4398) would place limits on NTIA’s ability to transfer its authority over certain domain name functions. " [CRS DNS i 2014]

IANA Transition Hearings

IANA Transition News


NTIA / ICANN Contracts for IANA Function