[arin-ppml] Legacy Space authority

Robert Bonomi bonomi at mail.r-bonomi.com
Mon May 5 15:55:07 EDT 2008

> Date: Mon, 5 May 2008 14:04:25 -0500
> From: "Kevin Kargel" <kkargel at polartel.com>
> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] Legacy Space authority
> >> Imagine if WIPO found IP addresses were property and subject to
> >> copyright.
> >> Based on that precident you would have a perfect argument for saying
> >> that telephone numbers are also property.  So now when a business 
> >> moves cross country their phone number including the area code is
> >> required to go with them.
> Ah, but the telephone issue has already been decided, and telco's are
> required to let you keep your number and area code.. 

FALSE TO FACT.  _Read_ the document you cite.  I quote:
   "If you are moving from one geographic area to another, however, you may 
    not be able to take your number with you.

>                                                       This is not to say
> you will avoid toll charges by carrying a specific area code with you,
> but it does say you can do it if you want to..
> http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/numbport.html
> In this document the FCC goes so far as to say "your old company may not
> refuse to port your number, even if you owe money "
> So it looks like telephone numbers are defacto property..  Which
> probably sets a precedent for IP addresses..  This is rather the reverse
> of your discussion, but still applicable..


It has been held, by the FCC and the courts enforcing the rules, that 
telephone numbers are _not_ "property" of the telephone company.  Neither
are they property of the consumer who uses that number.

_LIKE_ IP addresses, they are a unique resource from a "limited-size, 
shared-resource pool" -- where that pool is distributed over a limited 
geographic area.

If you don't pay your bill, your current 'TSP' (telephone service provider)
_can_ terminate your services.  *WHEN* service is terminated, you lose any 
right and interest you had in the phone number -- unless a 'change of provider'
was _already_ in process.

If your new TSP of choice doesn't have an actual presense in the same local 
geographic area as your prior provider, you _cannot_ have that number handled 
by _that_ TSP.

For telephony, there _is_ a *strict* 'geographic-based' allocation scheme 
'under the covers', based not on just area-codes, but also "LATA boundaries",
and 'rate centers'.

Whatever rights you -- a customer -- may have with regard to a specific phone
number, those rights apply *ONLY* _within_ the geographic locale to which that
number is irretrievably bound.

The parallel between IP addresses and telephone numbers _is_ an interesting
one.  There *is* a central authority for each telephone 'region' in the world
(which is functionally similar to the IPv4 RIRs) -- which allocates 'regionally
unique' resources (area codes _and_ telephone number address-blocks) based
on demonstrated need.  ONCE numbers are allcoated, this 'telephone number 
registry' (TNR) has no further control over how they are used.  The TSPs
that recieve these 'address-block' allocations from the TNR are free to 
assign them to customers for that customer's, temporary, and exclusive, use.
TSPs _do_ have the legal right to assign different numbers to you, and 
revoke the ones you -were- using. (Exactly the same as a 'forced re-assignment'
of an IP address-block received from your ISP's allocation.)  [ aside, I
have personally experienced this with residential phone service -- *NOT* a
result of an area-code split, but simply an involuntary assignment to a new
'exchange' (in the same rate center) and getting an entirely new 7 digits
for the number.

If, at any time, you, the customer, _stop_ paying the 'rent' on your 
telephone number, control of that number reverts to the TSP that was providing
you service.  _They_ are free to re-assign it to a new/different customer of
theirs, and you -- the former customer -- have *NOTHING* to say about it.

_IF_ the telephone number is viewed as 'property', then it is 'owned' by
the serviceing telephone company, subject to the 'deed restriction' on the
local in which it can be used, *AND* the 'lessee' has the 'right' to force
the current owner to 'sell' that "property" to the landlord/lessor of the
_lessee's_ choice. 

*INTERESTINGLY* this 'property transfer' takes place =without= any 
compensation to the selling party.  This fact is one of the strongest
arguments that a phone number is _not_ property.  A 'porting' of a phone
number to a different carrier *IS* a 'taking' of a thing of value to the
old carrier, and since it is being done 'by force of law', would quite
likely run afoul of the Constitutional prohibition on 'takings' -- unless
the thing is _not_ property.  <grin>

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