[arin-ppml] Q1 - ARIN address transfer policy: why the trigger date?

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Fri Jun 20 12:55:40 EDT 2008

On Jun 20, 2008, at 11:10 AM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

>  From: Chris Grundemann [mailto:cgrundemann at gmail.com]
> >Leaving morality out of it for the moment, there are contractual
> >obligations here (RSA).  Are you suggesting that the contracts signed
> >with ARIN do not matter or that they should not matter?
> Should not matter. First, a lot of legacy space is outside any RSA.
The contract was predated by, and generally (just) codifies the norms  
of the address resource-using community.
> Second, a contract that asks people to do things not in their  
> interest and then provides no enforceable mechanism for ensuring  
> compliance, and isn't enforced for 5-10 years, is not something to  
> get hung up on.

Since by any plausible measure the (vast, I'd venture) majority of  
address resource users have complied to date, even with other terms of  
the agreement that are not in their immediate interest -- despite the  
alleged unenforceability and historical non-enforcement of the RSA --  
I can only conclude that those norms must be pretty powerful.

Norms may not have the same power as "laws of physics," so there will  
always be deviations, as well as mis-specifications -- just as there  
are with black letter law. Could you please elaborate on your basis  
for summarily dismissing those norms? Which norms do you think would  
be superior -- or do you really advocate some kind of market power  

> Third, returning address space takes time and effort; inertia  
> doesn't take any, so you're asking them to incur expenses for an  
> action that yields them no benefit.

Yes, norms have no efficacy, so I suppose it would follow that good  
will and favorable PR have no utility.

> Four, "need" is not an objective quantity; they may think they need  
> the addresses until the prospect of economic gains from trade makes  
> them give the sitaution another look.

How about the economic gains from excluding others from trade -- e.g.,  
strategic rationing, price predation, etc.? Those can be equally if  
not more compelling, especially if a critical, non-substitutable,  
bottleneck input is at stake. Today, the norms of the community, as  
baked into address resource policies, practices, and institutions  
prevent that from occurring -- must be, since the contracts are  
unenforceable and unenforced, right? Too bad other industries don't  
seem to have similar norms -- but I guess we can find out what that's  
like for ourselves once the last vestiges of the old norms are eroded  

So long as "need" is not determined solely by individual address  
seekers, but rather by the aspiring address recipient and the address  
resource community that defines a common policy, it *is* objective --  
or at the very least, inter-subjective -- and in a domain-specific  
context. Why should that allocation scheme be considered inferior to  
one in which anyone with (the most) wealth, obtained by any means, can  
preempt and rewrite the rules to suit themselves?

I think you should be more careful -- or at least more explicit --  
about what you wish for. One person's "hypocrisy" (imperfect adherence  
to a belief that itself remains unchallenged) may be another person's  
pursuit of social change or affective education...

What norms you espouse in academia, or in "Internet governance"?



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