[arin-ppml] Policy Question(s)

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at tristatelogic.com
Wed Oct 6 06:46:13 EDT 2010

In message <alpine.BSF.2.00.1010060153520.57601 at atlas.ipinc.net>, 
tedm at ipinc.net wrote:

>> 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.

Well, thank you.  You know, for plain simple honesty.

I well and truly understand... and abide... that every law or rule must be
interpreted.  And for that, we have things like ARIN and the U.S. Judiciary.

But of course, in the case of the judiciary, when _they_ get done interpreting
one of their rules, that interpretation quite often gets published, in public,
and becomes ``binding''.  This is great because then, in future, everybody
knows where they stand and what they can do and not do.

But apparently, every time ARIN interprets one of its rules... you know...
like the judiciary would... to fit some new and novel set of facts... then
*their* decision gets burried under layers of NDAs, and is never heard from

Am I the only one who sees a potential problem with this?

>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.

Right.  Believe me, I understood that part before I even posted here the
first time, and in fact that is precisely _why_ I posted here the first
time... because I have first-hand knowledge that there is, on the one hand,
the law, as written, and then there is, on the other hand, the interpretation
of the law, with respect to various sets of facts, and the two are different
and separate.

>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"

Free???  Did you say FREE??  Hay!  That just happens to be my favorite number!

But seriously folks, was I asleep?  Did I fail to get the memo?  Is ARIN
actually not charging for IP space anymore?  Funny, I could have sworn
I saw a fee chart on their web site just the other day.  And I was
thinking, hay, if I could talk somebody out of their (fee-free?) legacy
/16, and if I could keep it and ``monitize'' it for, say, ten years, then,
you know, without going thru all of the fancy schmancy ``present value''
calculations that people who play with money for a living know about,
my very rough estimate is that that would be worth approximately
10 * $4,500 == $45k.   That's minimum, of course, because that only
represents how much you'd save on fees, you know, relative to your
competitors who have non-legacy blocks.

>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"

May I say to them instead ``I'll give you $10k right now for all rights
and title to that legacy /16 you have lying over there in the corner,
collecting dust.'' ?

See, like you said, there's middlemen, and then there's players.  Middlemen
just facilitate transfers from A to B.  Players actually buy and hold
_themselves_ hoping for the price to go up.

I wanna be a player.  So now I just need to know if ARIN will let me put
_my_ name on any legacy /16 I manage to aquire all existing rights and
title to, you know, from the original owner, and of course, I'd also
like to know if they will also delegate reverse DNS to me.

>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.

A violation of what, exactly?

I guess you mean of NRPM section 8, but I don't think I saw anything really
concrete in there that was an actual prohibition.  (Can you quote me the
actual prohibition language out of the NRPM?)

And again, are we talking about the letter of the law, or are we talking
about its interpretation, and existing precedents?

>IMHO you would be a fool to attempt to invest or setup an "IP investment

Well, that's what seemed to me might be a profitable thing to do, and I
am not at all persuaded that ARIN could really stop me (or anyone) if
somebody did that, and if they were dealing only in legacy blocks.

>You cannot "sell" an IP block because IP
>addresses are not property and thus cannot be owned.

Ok, ok.  So I'll use the terms ``leased'' and ``sub-leased'' instead.
Or ``sub-leased right-to-use'' or whatever the lawyers decide to call
it.  Will that work?

(This is starting to remind me of the old bar joke... you know... Nobody
ever actually ``buys'' beer.  You just rent it.  I guess that we could
say that about everything, because we'll all die eventually, and all that
beer we drank and all that food we consumed, and all of those PlayStations
we threw into the dumpster after they stopped working will all be returned
to the earth someday, one way or the other.)

>When they start censoring you THEN you can complain.

Ummm... I guess you don't see the rather obvious logical falacy in what
you just said...

... but as I look at it some more, what you just said is actually awfully
darned humorous.  Did you copyright that, or may I use it as a .sig?

>The RIR (unfortunately, IMHO) at the current time does not owe you or I or any
>one 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 man
>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 much for ``open'' Internet governance.

>we compromised and sacrificed transparency so that we could get compliance.

I'm wondering if it occured to anybody, during the making of that decision,
that what such a decision inevitably yields is an impenetrable Star Chamber,
making un-reviewable decisions, in secret, that nobody ever even finds out
about, let alone being able to question or understand.

I mean yes, I'm quite sure that all the people involved are of sound and
good character... I take that as a given.  I'm sure they're all good
people trying their best to do the right thing.  But the very _notion_
of secrecy rubs the wrong way for some people.  I just happen to be one
of them.

>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

Well, that's your view, based on what you know... But how do you know?
I mean how does anybody know?  As you've noted, all these decisions
about what may or may not get transfered, and to whom, are being made at
this point, and have been made, since ARIN took over, with the same level
of secrecy as the election of the next pope, i.e. total.  Right?  Because
everybody (or at any rate, a majority) wanted it that way.  OK fine. I
get that part.  But now, here we are, and you actually can't tell me
for certain, one way or the other, whether or not there's some Internet
version of Gordon Gecko out there already, buying up IP real estate,
quietly and secretly, and getting all those blocks quietly transfered
to himself... or rather to his various paper subsidiaries... , again,
very quietly.  (Perhaps this sounds far fetched, but do you happen to
know about a company called Tactara?  Do you know how much IP real
estate they've managed to amass, by hook or by crook?)

Am I saying this _is_ happening _generally_ and other than in the one
special case I just mentioned?  Of course not.  Not at all. Am I saying
that anyone at ARIN is giving unfair advantage to any one party, or even
to any set of favored parties?  Again, no, of course not.  Not at all.
What I _am_ saying is that secrecy breeds suspicion.

>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.

As far as we know, the train is already rolling.  Secrecy, remember?
Everything is under a thick warm fuzzy blanket of NDAs.

What I _can_ tell you is that I've made a special study of so-called
snowshoe spammers.  These people consume (and lay waste to) IP space
just like the proverbial stuff-through-a-goose.  And when I find...
within the IPv4 space... another one of these operations... of which
there are hundreds, as we speak, sometimes it is obvious where they
are getting their IP space, i.e. from crooked ISPs that are lying to
ARIN about their sub-allocations and their effective utilization rates.
But at other times, it is not at all obvious how one of these criminals
managed to glom onto a big fat hunk of IP space in a time of alleged shortage.

Such cases perplex me.  And I would argue that secrecy in these cases
not only doesn't provide an answer to me personally, more importantly,
in my opinion, it is counter to the best interests of the community.
It's like saying that child molesters have a right-of-privacy, and so
we ain't gonna tell you when one moves in two doors down from you.
That used to be acceptable, but in a lot of places, it isn't anymore.

Well, ok, I didn't actually intend to get off on this at all.  I know
full well that the secrecy isn't going away anytime soon.  And I don't
fault anybody at ARIN for its existance, because, as you noted, it was
a ``community'' decision, made long ago, and basically, the lawyers won.
(Note: *Not* ARIN's lawyers... everybody else's.)  But to say that it's
a done deal and a fully settled matter, decided long long ago...  well...
that's what a lot of people used to say about the privacy rights of
child molesters. In short, times change, and rules evolve.  I can hope

And a whole lot less secrecy wouldn't just help to get more spammers
off the streets.  It also seems to me to be a prerequsite for the
development of a fair and open marketplace for IP space... a marketplace
that even ARIN itself floated a proposal for a couple of years ago.  I
mean can you really imagine being a business man and investing your
own money in an environment where your major assets, your stock in
trade, may be subject to effective confiscation at any moment by a
secretive Star Chamber whose decisions are un-reviewable?  No investor
in his right mind would put his money into THAT!  Well... no _ordinary_
investor.  So what we will predictably end up with, as the exhaustion
end game starts to unfold, will be some real slick operators... definite
black market types that will charge people truly astronomical prices
for even a tiny bit of IP turf.  They'll have to, in order to make up
for their potentially very high ``breakage'' rate.

>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.

Me personally?  I never had anything like THAT even remotely in mind.
I'm old fashioned.  I believe in making money the old fashion way,
earning it.


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