[arin-ppml] ARIN releases new version of the Legacy Registration

Stephen Sprunk stephen at sprunk.org
Wed Sep 10 11:46:31 EDT 2008

Jeremy H. Griffith wrote:
> On Sat, 06 Sep 2008 23:55:58 -0500, Stephen Sprunk <stephen at sprunk.org> wrote:
>> Jeremy H. Griffith wrote:    
>>> That's not where I start from.  I start from the belief that a "successor" is necessarily bound to respect the acts of its "predecessors", which issued the legacy resources under terms that were very different from those now being offered:
>>> *  No possibility of return on an involuntary basis.
>>>    This was essential to encourage us to do the work
>>>    that led to the current Internet.
>> There was no statement either way about the basis on which addresses were assigned because, at the time, nobody could conceive that we'd actually run out of addresses and need any of them back.
> Exactly.  So there was no such return requirement made.

Nor was there any promise of registration services in perpetuity, nor 
that the numbers could be used on the Internet (which was between the 
user and either ARPA or DDN at the time, between the user and their 
ISP(s) today).

> I license software.  If my license does not specify a time limit, which it does not, it is "in perpetuity" by default.  If I were to sell the product to another company, they could *not* go back to the existing users and demand an annual subscription fee, saying that if it were not paid, their right to use the software would end.

That's because a license is property, created by a contract.  Numbers 
are not property, and you have no _contract_ guaranteeing they'd be 
registered to you nor preventing them from being registered to anyone else.

>>> *  No fees, even though essentially the same services
>>>    for which fees are now deemed appropriate were in
>>>    existence at that time.
>> That is because, prior to ARIN's creation, number registration services 
>> were subsidized by government grants and then domain registration fees 
>> -- fees that were imposed on domains that had been originally been 
>> granted on the same unspecified basis as numbers.  Like it or not, there 
>> _is_ precedent for imposing fees on previously "free" registrations.  
> Yes, and when it was done for domains, I was not happy.  But I went along with it... which may have been a mistake.

Someone has to pay for the services.  When DoD/DoC stopped paying the 
bills, that responsibility falls on you.  The ARIN community has, so 
far, chosen to give you charity by covering your bills for you.

>> The only reason it hasn't been done in the ARIN region for numbers so 
>> far (unlike other regions) is that so far the community hasn't chosen to 
>> impose them.
> There are limits to what the community can choose to do.  For example, it cannot choose to walk into my office and take away my hardware on the grounds that it's using the community network... 

Taking someone else's property is a crime.  Numbers are not property, 
though, nor can they be taken away from you.  However, the service of 
registration _can_, and since you're not paying for it, deciding not to 
give it to you for free would be perfectly legal -- not theft.

> I don't think any of us really wants to have these particular limits, around number assignment, determined by the Federal court system, but that would be the final arbiter if we cannot agree among ourselves.  All of us.

Unanimous agreement is not required for the policy process, and ARIN's 
counsel would not let a proposal be adopted (or let ARIN take any other 
controversial action) if he did not feel he could defend it successfully 
in court.

2007-14 is the only proposal I'm aware of to date that mentions revoking 
legacy resources (and even then, only unused ones), and counsel did not 
object to it, so I must assume there are no significant legal problems 
there.  Either way, we have been told many times to let counsel (and the 
BoT) worry about that after the community reaches consensus.

>>> Is ARIN going to respect the terms of our previous contract, or not?  (The contract does not have to be written to be a contract, as I hope you know.)  
>> Even a verbal contract requires that one party receive consideration of 
>> some sort in return for performing or not performing some act.  
> Not all considerations are cash.

Correct; that's why I wrote "consideration of some sort".

> One condition on the original legacy assignment, IIRC, was to keep contact info current.  I've done that.

Thank you.  However, that does not guarantee you free registration 
services in perpetuity.

> And I'd have no problem with ARIN proceeding to identify those who are no longer at their contact addresses, and recovering their numbers if they were unreachable.

That is one of the goals of 2007-14.  I have no desire to go any further 
than that, nor do I sense than ARIN staff want to.  However, that 
doesn't mean that they are legally prevented from doing so, at some 
point in the future, unless you sign an LRSA.

>> You have no contract with ARIN, and it would be completely legal for 
>> ARIN to stop providing registration services to organizations that 
>> are not paying for them.  
> Would it, now?  Or would it violate ARIN's contract with IANA?

I haven't seen those contracts, so I don't know.  However, given that 
other RIRs have imposed fees on legacy holders, and presumably cut off 
services to those that didn't pay, I don't see that IANA would have a 
problem with ARIN doing the same.

>> I do not think that any court (or jury) would find that deciding (or even 
>> threatening) not to provide you services that you did not pay for was 
>> unlawful.
> Very cute.   But rather disingenuous, don't you think?
> I presume the "services" I am provided are IP whois and in-addr, right?  But these services benefit everyone *except* the registrant, who already knows who he is.  In fact, they impose a cost on the registrant, that of processing thousands of spams a day that might not be arriving if it were not for these services.  The real beneficiary is the community itself.

_You_ benefit from those services too, because it's unlikely any ISP 
would accept those addresses from you for use on the public Internet 
without being listed in WHOIS as registered to you.  You also benefit 
from those addresses not being registered to anyone else.

You are correct that rDNS and WHOIS are mainly for the benefit of others 
in the community, which is why (so far) the community has agreed to pick 
up the tab.  However, that does not an obligation make.

>> I've noticed very little anti-legacy vitriol on PPML; most of it comes from the legacy holders themselves and is directed at strawmen that have not actually made an appearance.
> Oh please.  I don't want to exhume all those dead bodies, but even in the last month we've been told that the "elephant in the room" is that those legacy people are just waiting to sell their numbers for the highest price
> they can get.  When the truth is, I doubt if *any* of us want to sell them at all... we just want to continue the "quiet enjoyment" we've had of them all these years.  ;-)

What about all the folks holding on to space, neither using it nor 
willing to return it (for no return)?  There has to be some financial 
motivation there.  Sure, IP resources have zero holding cost today, but 
I bet many of those orgs would be happy to pay $100/yr to hold on to 
their class A/B networks until they could sell them -- assuming a 
transfer proposal passes.  If none does, it's still a trivial cost.

Still, I don't see "vitriol" for such folks; most of us would do the 
same in their shoes.  IMHO, the true vitriol is directed at speculators 
who would trade in blocks (buying, not just selling), destabilizing the 


More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list