[ppml] Securities Act 15 U.S.C. 77b(a)(1)

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Tue Mar 11 12:34:52 EDT 2008

> To argue that an IP address meets that definition requires a 
> stretch of imagination that even lawyers can't handle. Only 
> network engineers are capable of that stretch.

I didn't say that. We all know that IP addresses are not property and
cannot be bought and sold. But now people are proposing that contracts,
bearing the right to use certain IP addresses, can be bought and sold.
That looks a lot like commodities contracts (which are promises of
delivery) and some derivatives contracts and even things like
re-insurance contracts.

You and I are not experts in the law and really can't say one way or
other, whether IP address contract trading would fall under the area
regulated by the SEC. In fact, since the law in this area is quite
complex, there probably are some situations that would clearly be
covered, and some that would clearly not be covered. Before people write
the policy that defines the situation, it would be nice to know what
these boundaries are, before we cross them. And if the question is
sufficiently fuzzy, then ARIN could ask the SEC for a ruling, before we
take the action which has unintended consequences.

Many of the people promoting IP address transfers have also spoken in
favor of a scenario which sounds and awful lot like a securities
exchange scenario. They hold this forth as a carrot to entice
supporters. But can they actually deliver all the features of that
carrot without attracting SEC regulatory oversight? I don't know and I
don't think that anyone in ARIN, (BoT, staff, AC, members, hangers-on)
really has the specialist knowledge to make that determination.

--Michael Dillon

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