[arin-ppml] Policy Question(s)

tedm at ipinc.net tedm at ipinc.net
Wed Oct 6 04:53:52 EDT 2010

On Tue, 5 Oct 2010, Ronald F. Guilmette wrote:

> In message <0F29D1BA57992E4CAB5AD2C9AE7B42393777FCBE at EMV01-UKBR.domain1.systemh
> ost.net>, michael.dillon at bt.com wrote:
>>> So my question remains...
>> You ask too many questions.
> I want to learn what the policy is.  If you have a better way for me to
> do that, please indicate that to me.
> I have read the applicable documents available on the ARIN web site. They
> are ambiguous at best.

That is because much of ARIN policy comes from committee.  It is the nature
of politics that you can often not get consensus on specific policy that
prohibits something where you CAN get consensus on GENERAL policy that
when interpreted, will prohibit that very same thing.  To put it succinctly,
people often don't know what they are voting for.

The US Constitution for example states "we the people.....secure the blessings of
liberty to ourselves.."   This was signed, you recall, by slavers, among others.
It never would have been signed if it stated "we the white and colored male
and female people..."  Yet, if you read the writings of the authors of the US Constitution it is clear that the abolitionists among those authors intended that phrase to apply to both
white and black people.  They knew the current interpretation of that would
not allow it to apply to both - but they hoped that future interpretation would.
Which of course, it eventually did.  And, further future interpretations redefined
"people" to include both men and women - something that I think NO Constitution
author expected.

Possibly some of the slavers who signed the US Constitution were also aware of
this possible future interpretation - but they of course hoped it would never
come about.

You really cannot fully understand all ARIN policy unless you understand that
ARIN policy consists both of the written policy - and the interpretation of
that written policy.

>  They do not answer these questions.
>> ARIN has a fraud reporting page at <https://www.arin.net/resources/fraud/>.
> Who said anything about fraud??
> Why would I use that ``fraud'' form when, as far as I can make out, nothing
> in the least bit fradulent has occured, i.e. in the case I have described
> here?
>> Use it and stop asking so many silly repetitive questions.
> I wasn't aware my questions were repetitive.
>> Oh, by the way, this list is for discussing ARIN policy,
> Sir, I have been looking all night at a rather lengthy discussion that
> took place ON THIS LIST just two short years ago in which several
> participants debated what the policies should be, specifically for
> legacy blocks.  That debate was vigorous and, as I say, lengthy.
> And from my reading of it, it is not at all clear that the policy was
> at all well defined, either at the end of that discussion, or since.
> Regardless, it does seem as though you are ORDERING me, unilaterally,
> not to discuss something on this list that quite clearly was an appropriate
> topic of discussion, right here, on this very list, just two short years
> ago.
> If you can enlighten me as to why you think I'm off-topic for this list,
> I'm all ears.
> But first allow me to poinyt out that the several gentlemen behind this
> endeavor:
>     http://www.depository.net/
> would like, it seems, to foster a marketplace for IP addresses.  I would
> like to do likewise, considering how easy it _appears_ to be to buy and
> sell sizable IP address blocks at the current moment.  Here is another
> entity that seems to already be peddling /24s openly, as we speak:
>    http://www.jump.ro/ip.html
> I have money to invest, and I am ready to proceed.  I would like to start
> buying and selling IP addresses, in bulk.
> Now, can you just tell me please:  Will I be thwarted in this business venture
> by _secret_ unpublished rules regarding  inter-company IP address block
> transfers... secret unwritten rules that appear, magically, out of thin air,
> just _after_ I have invested my time, effort, and money in this venture?

My interpretation of ARIN policy is that you WILL.  Not because of any 
'secret unpublished rules" but because as of yet ARIN has not openly
declared war on these "IP address peddlers"

There's no question that any reasonable reading of the policy allows
ARIN to hang these people up to dry.  All it would take is for ARIN to
deny a WHOIS entry for a block that depository.net "sold" and the
"buyer" of the block from depository.net would start screaming, demanding
their money back, and depository.net would go down the drain.

But, I don't think ARIN is doing this yet for a very simple reason - there
are addresses still available.  Instead I think what is happening is
that if Mr. Smith shows up on ARIN's door with a block that he "bought"
from depository.net, AND with justification for it, that ARIN's hostmaster
is granting the transfer but also saying "by the way, you did NOT need to
spend $$$ with depository.net, you could have got the IP numbers from
us, FREE"

Now, with all of that said, also in my interpretation of the policy, NOTHING
is wrong with setting youself up as an "IP address broker" that is, someone
who gets a fee for facilitating an IP address transfer from one entity to

For example you could approach a legacy address holder who has obviously
abandonded their legacy holdings or is sparsely using them, and say
"If you sign a contract with me saying that I'm your exclusive IP address
rep. I'll guarentee you will get XXX dollars for every block of yours
I help you to transfer"

> Maybe you understand what I'm getting at, or maybe you don't, or maybe you
> just don't care, because these are not ARIN-related policy questions that
> happen to affect you or be of interest to you.  But maybe I'm actually not
> the only person on this planet who might be curious, as I am, as to whether
> or not a ``marketplace'' in IP address blocks _already_ does exist within
> the ARIN region, as this example (and others) would tend to indicate:
>   NET-216-59-128-0-1
> and also, whether this current ``marketplace'' is something that ARIN is
> merely tolerating for the moment, or whether this marketplace is in fact
> now ready for people to make investments (e.g. in brokerage businesses)
> without fear that ARIN is going to come in, in the ninth inning as it were,
> and, like some modern day Elloit Ness, raid the game and take away all of
> the chips...  unilaterally and suddenly.  (Obviously, if this is a real
> possibility, then one would have to be a fool to invest in an IP brokerage
> business at this time.)

Well I think here you have a lot of problems with either very sloppy use of
terminology or a fundamental lack of understanding of how things work.

A "brokerage house" does not own anything.  What a broker does is they
use other people's money to buy and sell things and they make a
commission on the deal.  An "IP brokerage" business would be nothing more
than a boiler room operation with a bunch of guys dialing for dollars,
trying to make transfers between people who are willing to shed IP
addresses and people wanting to acquire IP addresses.  This is permissible
under ARIN policy, in my opinion.

of course, recognise that an org with extra IP does not need to use
a broker to dispose of IP.  In this way it's a bit different than
the stock market, since the stock market requires stock transactions to
be done by a broker, thus (in my opinion) guarenteeing an income stream
to people who basically sit on their ass all day long, wrecking the
US economy.  But an "IP Brokerage" house could argue that they have the
contacts to be able to rapidly dispose of extra IP for a much higher amount
of money, plus the expertise to help the org to do it.  So maybe such
an operation could catch some flies that way.

But, an "IP Investment bank" which operated as a straight broker plus
also gained ownership over IP address blocks (like how many stock brokerage
houses which also played the market did with stocks not too long ago)
in order to "sell" them would be a violation, in my interpretation.

IMHO you would be a fool to attempt to invest or setup an "IP investment
bank"  But an "IP Brokerage" that's a horse of a different color.

> Note:  The above indicated IP address block is quite certainly _not_ the
> only example I have in hand where there was apparently a sale (or a
> ``gifting'') of a sizable IP block... apparently sanctioned in some way
> by ARIN... although it is more than a little bit unclear exactly _how_
> that might have occurred, under the existing policies.  (Do some entities
> get special, preferential treatment?  Do you?  Will I?)
> So, to quote Shakespere  ``Methinks the lady doth protest too much!''
> Your extraordinary hostility towards even allowing a discussion of this
> subject to take place, in this very appropriate venue, actually just
> piques my interest even more!
> Why is this policy question too ``touchy'' a subject... you know... the
> question about the policy by which ARIN sanctions some IP block sales,
> even while, apparently denying others...  why is that too touchy a POLICY
> subject to be discussed on this list?

It is not, if you would actually use correct terminology.  Starting with
the sentence "IP block sales"  You cannot "sell" an IP block because IP
addresses are not property and thus cannot be owned.  It may be convenient
to bandy about such sloppy terminology when marketing to the ignorant but
if you went to your local DMV and
start loudly demanding that you "own" the alphanumeric characters on your
vanity license plate and thus shouldn't have to pay extra to register them
I think you would find yourself booted out on your ass.

> Despite your claims to the contrary, I _have_ been asking policy questions.
> And I have been asking them here on this thing that's titled the ``public''
> policy mailing list.  (Did I misread that ``public'' part?)  It's clear
> that for some parties, these questions might be uncomfortable.  I understand
> that.   And it's equally clear to me that those same interests can stiffle
> and prevent these questions from even being asked, here or elsewhere.  But
> let's not kid ourselves.  I have been asking serious on-topic policy questions.
> I'm sure if you work at it, you'll be able to successfully gag the messsenger,
> but if your only basis for gagging me is the clearly false claim that I've
> been in the least bit off-topic... well then I hope this will be seen for
> what it is, i.e. just gagging of somebdoy who asked questions that made
> certain folks uncomfortable... NOT because I was at all off-topic.  (And
> there are reams and reams of discussions in the archives of this list where
> these same questions about buying and selling IPs, and the complex problems
> of legacy block ownerhsip and transfers been discussed...  and not just a
> little, a lot.)

whaa whaa whaa I didn't get my lollypop at the bank.  Just drop the victim
ranting, please.  It doesen't add anything.  When they start censoring
you THEN you can complain.

>> ... not for haranging people...
> I haven't been ``haranging'' anybody!  I clarified my question just a tiny bit,
> just so that I could maybe have some hope of actually finding out what the
> bloody rules are, that's all!  (And it's pretty clear that not all of them are
> even written down.)
> So why is your reaction so hot?
> I am honestly perplexed.
>> ... about stuff that is unrelated to policy and is, in fact, already
>> being handled by ARIN staff.
> What is?  What exactly do you think is ``already being handled by ARIN staff'' ?
> I have no idea what you are talking about.  Seriously.  Can you explain?
> Are either you or ARIN so prescient that you knew about NET-216-59-128-0-1,
> in particular, before I even mentioned it???
> Hey!  That's a neat trick!
> So I'm guessing then that you already know all about the other three blocks
> I was going to mention (and I guess ARIN does too, even though I've never
> once mentioned them before to anybody), and that's Good, because then you
> can educate me as regards to how _those_ sales got formally blessed.

The RIR (unfortunately, IMHO) at the current time does not owe you or I or anyone an explanation of why a particular block ownership has suddenly changed.  I personally
and professionally wish this was not the case.  But the problem is that so many
of the players out there regard this sort of data as competitive secrets data
that the RIR is in the position where it absolutely MUST guarentee the parties
involved in block transfers confidentiality under a legal NDA or practically
nobody would deal at all with ARIN.

So you will get nowhere by demanding to know why NET-216-59-128-0-1 seems to
have magically changed ownership from one entity to another.  If ARIN knows
why they are contractually prevented from telling you even if they wanted to.
The rest of us in the ARIN community undertand why this is.  We long ago
decided that it was much more important for the Internet to use a single
WHOIS database that was authoratative so that everyone would agree on who
was allowed to use what, than it was to have transparency in how any particular
entity manages to justify why they deserve what IP addresses they have.  So
we compromised and sacrificed transparency so that we could get compliance.

> Regards,
> rfg
> P.S.  I _do_ understand that quite a lot of people... probably a majority
> in fact, both here and elsewhere... actually loath and despise the whole
> idea of IP address block ``brokerages''.  Acutally, despite what I said
> above, I do too.  But you know, like it or not, the evidence is in, and it
> seems to be going on already, right now, anyway.  And as the character
> Yoasarian often said in Joseph Heller's `Catch-22' ``If everybody else
> was doing it, then I'd be a damn fool to do any different.''  And at this
> moment, it _does_ appear to me that everybody else is already doing it.
> So if that's the case, then why should _I_ be the only one who _isn't_
> climbing on board the gravy train?  I mean seriously, why?  Just because
> I'm not an ``insider'' and an old established member of the club?

I think that this is a rather amusing interpretation of what's going on.
I am quite sure that there's no "gravy train" out there, at least, not
yet.  I'm also quite sure that a lot of these people like this depository.net
are hoping that there might be a gravy train and are trying to put their
claim in it, should such train ever come down the tracks.

I will say this, though.  A good "IP Broker" or "IP realtor" or "IP sales agent"
or whatever you want to call yourself, COULD HELP greatly during the
upcoming IPv4 endgame.  Such a person would have to at the least, be
able to do the following:

1) Assist orgs with existing holdings in shrinking their existing usage,
whether that means renumbering, or increased use of NAT or other network
restructuring, in a way that would free up a block that would meet criteria
to be elegible for transfer.

2) Be familiar with the paperwork involved in the transfer process itself
to be able to help the "shedding" org and the "acquiring" org to deal
with ARIN or other RIR, plus deregister the old org's use of the block
from it's upstreams and help the new org register the block usage with it's

3) Be able to qualify "acquiring" orgs to meet justification criteria for
obtaining the transfer block in the first place.

4) Be able to develop a list of "shedding" orgs of different sizes of
IP blocks so that "acquiring" orgs would be able to select the appropriate
sized block.

5) Be able to assist in escrowing funds from the "acquiring" org intended
to be paid to the "shedding" org on completion of successful block transfer.

If you could do that, you would be a help.  You could make money doing it.
It would NOT be a huge pile of money.  But it would be no less profitable than
any other honest work of this type out there - such as being a Realtor or upscale used
car salesman, etc.

But the idea that all you need to do is throw up a Wordpress website with a
few IP transfer templates on it and sit back and have oodles of money
rolling in for doing nothing is a lot of baloney.  It's not going to happen.


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