Re: infoURI standard officially blessed

From: David Karger <>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 07:59:02 -0500

Actually, I think you are agreeing (I'll leave it to you to decide if
agreeing when you think you are disagreeing is dense :) My point was
that this enforcement of a "moral right" is the likely rationale for
introducing URI registrations, and that such an enforcement effort is
doomed to failure in the case of URI registration. Registration of DNS
names enforces one's "moral right" to control the resolution of DNS
names. However, registration of info URIs enforces _nothing_ because
there is no resolution process.

Seth Johnson wrote:

>I have to disagree with this, unless I'm very dense (likely,
>given that I am just for the first time popping up and saying
>anything here).
>It doesn't matter how Alice's info is used by anybody else; it's
>only that that's the original identity of the info.
"Doesn't matter" is a value judgement that I won't address; my point was
that it is _uncontrollable_ how Alice's info URI is used by anybody
else. Not even what identity anyone else ascribes to Alice's URIs, or
to other URIs that other people coin inside of Alice's namespace. And
this seems to defeat the major reason for having registration in the
first place.

Actually, I can think of one practical/political rationale for it. It
seems (as stefano has pointed out in prior emails) that many entities
want to "own" their names (sort of the opposite of NIMBY---perhaps call
it IMBY). While (as I have argued above) such ownership is effectively
meaningless in URI space, perhaps those entities will not realize this.
Thus, the info URI could "trick" them into modifying or augmenting their
_syntax_ to be compliant with the URI standard. ie, if some of them are
now including characters that are forbidden in URIs, the info standard
can lead them to adjust their protocols. Once they've staked their
claim they'll discover that they can't exercise their ownership
"rights"---much like someone trying to claim a piece of the ocean---but
in the meantime we will have dragged their protocol into URI space.

>This actually sounds a lot like one of the issues in copyright --
>a lot of people want there to be a sort of "moral right" to
>control how a work is used. In fact, in France they have that
>sort of thing. But in the US, our entire tradition is against
>that -- it's that published information is freely usable; you
>just don't copy the original expression.
>But I'm probably really, really misunderstanding the point of
>this . . .
>Seth Johnson
>David Karger wrote:
>>Matthew Cockerill wrote:
>>>"Sure it's useful as identification but completely useless for
>>>discovery as I wouldn't know how to ask for more info about that URI."
>>>Yep - it's a floor polish, but most definitely is not a dessert topping.
>>>>From the Info URI FAQ:
>>>Q. Why are info URIs non-dereferenceable?
>>>A. info is focused exclusively on supporting identity [...]
>>> "
>>This above Q&A suggests that the whole info uri concept may be self
>>defeating, because identity isn't "supported"---it just is. Consider
>>the following scenario. Alice registers the info:alice/* namespace and
>>makes some URIs. Bob then makes statements about those uris that alice
>>disagrees with. Even worse, Bob, without consulting alice, makes up an
>>info:alice/bob uri to talk about himself, and starts making statements
>>about it. How exactly has the "registration" of the info:alice
>>namespace helped? It certainly doesn't prevent bob from using the uris
>>in that namespace.
>>I would like to raise the conjecture that namespace registration ONLY
>>makes sense in situations where the names can be dereferenced, and in
>>particular dereferenced under the control of the namespace owner. In
>>such systems, the owner can effectively prevent bob from acting on the
>>names. For example, the owner of a dns name can prevent anyone else
>>from binding that name to a value. But absent dereference, the owner of
>>the name has no control.
>>With RDF, I think the traditional notion of deciding which _names_ to
>>trust based on registrations will need to be replaced by decisions about
>>which _statements_ to trust based on who is serving those statements.
Received on Thu Nov 17 2005 - 12:52:59 EST

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