Ownership

If one, (or a sub-set) of the interested parties have ownership of any of the physical assets that make up the IXP (switches, routers, racks etc), or any of the intellectual property developed for the benefit of the IXP (trademarked logos, copyrighted collateral etc), there could be neutrality and other, potentially more serious, issues. Neutrality could be compromised if a member ISP has provided, (and owns), switch equipment for the IXP and then becomes merged with, or taken over by, another organisation, say a carrier, who may impose their own limitations on the type of connections to the equipment (i.e. insisting that they provide the circuits to the equipment). This is, of course, only one example; it is not difficult to imagine many other such situations.

Perhaps more importantly is the potential for disruption or even complete breakdown of the IXP should a major change occur to an involved party who has title to part of the infrastructure. If a member ISP has given use of equipment to the IXP but retains ownership of the equipment, and subsequently decides to leave the IXP, or it's business fails, or it is taken over, there are clearly serious implications for continuity of the IXP. But many IXPs begin with donations of equipment, rack space, labour and other assistance - that is part of the co-operative nature of many start up IXPs. How can an IXP take advantage of the goodwill of equipment and time, freely donated in the spirit of co- operation yet protect itself from later changes? It is advisable that the original owners of any physical equipment donated to, lent to, or otherwise used by the IXP, make it clear, in writing, the nature of the agreement for the IXP to use the equipment. The IXP will also need to consider maintenance and insurance issues - if these are being passed on to the IXP by the donating body it is advisable that the relevant maintenance contracts and insurance policies are still valid. If they cannot be transferred for any reason the IXP must consider the implications. Whilst there does not appear to be any recorded cases of legal action being taken against an IXP for it's malfunction and an absence of maintenance cover, or for damages caused to a third party involving an insurance claim, these situations are possible and consideration should be given to them. The time and labour elements are simpler, but again it would be advisable for the organisation giving their employees' time to the running or support of the IXP to put in writing the terms under which they are providing that. However, whilst these are concerns, the pragmatic approach should be kept in mind. Many successful IXPs have worked well by existing with some risk in these areas, on the understanding that, as a co-operative organisation, it would be in no single entity's interest to litigate against the very body that is trying to benefit that entity.