[arin-ppml] Borders sells their /16 block

Benson Schliesser bensons at queuefull.net
Wed Dec 7 13:12:50 EST 2011

Hi, Chris.

On Dec 7, 2011, at 10:33 AM, Chris Engel wrote:

> On the other hand, it's probably best for everyone involved if the above scenario is avoided. 
> [...]
> In other words, it would behoove ARIN to try to find a way to make said transfers fit within policy if at all possible.... and I think it generally behooves both the buyer and seller of the address block to do so as well. Fortunately that seems to be what has happened in the well publicized transfers so far.


> Introducing degrees of uncertainty, even if it was technically within the bounds of policy....probably doesn't serve anyone's interests well.

I think there is a fundamental uncertainty underlying this discussion. And you asked a similar question yesterday, that I failed to answer. The question is, where is the origin of one's "bundle of rights" in an IP address?

My perspective is that these rights have their source in mutual recognition, just like any other property. (For instance, our society has collectively recognized rights to Real Property and embodied it in law. Our legislation, legal system, etc, have documented and tested the definition and boundaries of Real Property rights. Likewise, this is true for various other forms of property.)  To an extent, this has been acknowledged by the US courts as they've recognized the exclusive rights of a seller to transfer IP addresses as an asset. But I admit, there is relatively little case law, and our legal framework is probably going to evolve.

There are others that apparently believe these rights have their source in ARIN's registry. Not to be disingenuous, I must admit that there are probably many subtle variations on this view, and it would be better if people explained themselves rather than allowing me to do it.  ;)

This fundamental difference matters, because it can be translated in terms of the Whois database. My perspective is that the Whois data should reflect actual ownership, which is an external thing based in broader society and law. In this view, the role of ARIN is primarily administrative and not governmental. The ownership rights, as determined by law, would take precedence - therefore, conflicting data in Whois would be incorrect, regardless of whether it was arrived at via policy etc. (Note that this situation is different for legacy versus RSA-based address blocks.)

I'm sure others will disagree, and won't hesitate to make their opinions known. But I think it's worth acknowledging the fundamental difference, because otherwise we'll never converge on an understanding of policy and implementation. And until we converge, there is an unfortunate degree of uncertainty.


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