[arin-ppml] Borders sells their /16 block

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Tue Dec 6 16:42:42 EST 2011

> There are multiple (completed and pending) trades that do not have broad visibility. The lack of transparency means we may not know until after the fact, if ever, how these conclude. But nothing has yet proven that ARIN has any legal authority over these kind of transactions. This community should consider ways to avoid finding out, by being more accommodating to economic and legal reality.

One of us fundamentally misunderstands the nature of IP address registrations and/or you are deliberately attempting to mislead the community.

The use of the term legal authority is misleading at best, IMHO. ARIN manages a database. The database is useful because it allows cooperating entities to use numbers uniquely so as to avoid bigger conflicts on the internet. Addresses traded outside of ARIN policy cannot depend on this uniqueness as ARIN is perfectly free to register those addresses to another party.

If and when two parties end up in court arguing over the right to advertise the same set of integers to the internet at large, one which allegedly bought them from some source whose rights to sell them are dubious at best and one which received their registration through the recognized registry of record, the outcome will certainly be of great interest to this community in a number of ways. However, getting to that point would be very damaging to both parties (possibly even utterly debilitating) for quite some time until they finally reach their day in court. So much so that I suspect such a case is actually unlikely to occur. I think most buyers would be averse to taking the risk of becoming the former organization and will, therefore, insist on working through ARIN if they are aware of the risk ahead of time. Buyers that are unaware of ARIN and become aware through such a conflict will likely choose the far more pragmatic approach of trying to find alternative address space or negotiating with the other organization to find a resolution faster than a court case could do so.

The internet works because we all cooperate about uniqueness. When cooperation breaks down, so does the functional internet. Registries facilitate cooperation. They are not a center for enforcement. The policies by which registries administer the address space are those set by the community based on the community's perspective of the greatest common good for the community as a whole.

IMHO, facilitating, encouraging, or otherwise enabling non-cooperating entities to take advantage of resource utilization and/or acquisition outside of the processes and policies of the community is absolutely contrary to the greatest common good of the community as a whole and encourages dysfunction and conflict rather than cooperation.

The best thing about the internet is that it functions as a cooperative anarchy. The weakest thing about the internet is that it depends on functioning as a cooperative anarchy. A relatively small number of truly bad actors may be able to cause significant damage. To date, such collections have been perceived as damage and routed around. Once they collect an army of lawyers, it may become harder to route around them.


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