[arin-ppml] IPv4 Transfer Policy Change to Keep Whois Accurate

Mike Burns mike at nationwideinc.com
Wed May 11 21:03:31 EDT 2011

Hi Owen,

>When you assert other such transactions, are you referring to the 10 for 
>which John Curran provided anonymized
>data, or, are you asserting that there are others which have occurred 
>outside of ARIN? If so, can you cite examples
>or provide any documentary proof of such a claim?

I have personally seen many asset sale agreements which included legacy IP 
addresses which were completed without notifying ARIN, as there is still no 
requirement for legacy holders to do that. I have seen asset sale agreements 
which include ARIN accounts and passwords among the listed assets. The 
addresses change control, but whois still shows the original registrant. 
When it comes time to route the addresses, if the network operator questions 
the situation, I have seen them accept the asset sales agreements as 
acceptable proof of routing authority. And the addresses allocated to entity 
A are now in control of entity B, with bogus whois data. This is the kind of 
eventuality which I believe motivated the APNIC community to place the 
stewardship role of uniqueness above the stewardship role of needs-based 
transfers. Obviously I am asserting these things without documentary proof.

>While I don't think that's the entire argument or even a particularly 
>accurate framing of that portion of the
>argument, I would say that the history of free markets does give one plenty 
>to fear. Especially when you
>consider that history in situations of truly finite (even for a short time) 
>resources. (Tulips anyone?)

Of course we will disagree, but I see the Internet as a crucible of 
lassez-faire, and its manifest success resulted from those policies based in 
freedom and private choice.
You seem to consider that needs-based allocations were some kind of social 
agreement preventing malfeasance of the wealthy and protecting the little 
In reality, it was the least  rulemaking possible in an era of free-pool 
There really was no other way to distribute scarce resources with no price 
unless the allocations were limited by need.
And nobody really debates that, even an outlier like me.
That cause goes away with the free pool, and the imperative against more 
rules than necessary dictates we lift those needs-based transfer rules.

We have to understand the cause of needs requirements. It wasn't some 
egalitarian ethos, it was an obvious and fair mechanism for placing some 
limit on address allocations from a free pool of limited size. We didn't 
impose max limits per allocant, we didn't impose progressive fees that made 
larger blocks proportionally more expensive, we didn't create rules to favor 
corporate diversity, we didn't limit distributions per country, we didn't 
require an income statement of recipients so that we could judge whom to 
allocate to. We chose the most limited mechanism to ensure that the 
addresses were not wasted. If we understand that, and we understand that 
stewards make only the minimum rules necessary for order, it is easier to 
drop the emotional attachment to needs requirements in the face of free pool 
exhaust. You will note that despite my free-market inclinations, I have 
never argued to drop needs requirements for new allocations of IPv4 or for 

I have searched long and hard for a historical analog to this situation. The 
best I could find was a policy of the US after the Revolutionary War, which 
allocated property to veterans of that war for free. You had to qualify by 
being a veteran, the total property available for allocation was limited in 
size, and the property had value. All the same as our IPv4 situation.  In 
the historical case, there were no limits on resale of the allocated land, 
there were aggregators, there were speculators, and things progressed 
normally during the allocation time period, and the time period after the 
land was fully allocated. Some people intended to live and farm the land, 
others intended to sell their allocations. And American law allowed a free 
market in which these men could decide.

Rather than judge the benefits of free markets by exceptions like manias and 
successful market cornering, both rare and shortlived events, why don't we 
judge free markets like our American ancestors did, even if we're Canadian, 


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