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

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Wed May 11 21:37:21 EDT 2011

On May 11, 2011, at 6:03 PM, Mike Burns wrote:

> 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.

There is no reason that ARIN, upon conducting a section 12 review and finding that the original holder was
no longer using the resources and/or was defunct could not reclaim those resources, so, the recipient in that
case is taking a rather large risk. I do not believe ARIN will view the asset sale agreement as legitimizing
the transfer and the community developed policies support reclamation of resources from defunct legacy
holders. ARIN has reclaimed such resources in the past, though I do not know if they have reclaimed them
from organizations who believe they were able to "purchase" them as part of some form of asset transfer.

> 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.

Again, can you cite an independently verifiable example? If not, then, I still believe this is a straw man argument.

How many such agreements have you seen? (I tend to think that it represents a relatively small fraction of
the address space and will likely get resolved through the current contact validation process for the most

>> 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.

I see the internet as a crucible of community cooperation and the success of individual freedoms that
results from the ability to operate a network on the basis that most people will act for the common good.

As soon as you put money on the table, the common good goes out the window and you have to have
regulations to mitigate the damage that will cause.

> You seem to consider that needs-based allocations were some kind of social agreement preventing malfeasance of the wealthy and protecting the little guy.

Indeed, i do.

> In reality, it was the least  rulemaking possible in an era of free-pool allocations.

No, we could easily have handed addresses out for the asking without any regulation whatsoever.
We, as a community chose not to. We made that choice for good reasons. I believe those reasons
remain and may even be enhanced by runout.

> There really was no other way to distribute scarce resources with no price unless the allocations were limited by need.

Not at all true. They could have been simply handed out to whoever asked first. I agree such an
approach would have been ridiculous. The difference between us is that I believe even when you
include dollars in the process, such an approach remains ridiculous because it transfers the
address regulation from community based stewardship to a system where the only factor
determining resource allocation is the accumulation of capital.

> And nobody really debates that, even an outlier like me.

Interesting... I will actually debate that. I agree the alternatives were absurd. However, to claim that
they did not exist would be as logical as my claiming that an unregulated market is not an option.
It's an equally detrimental option, but, it's an option.

> That cause goes away with the free pool, and the imperative against more rules than necessary dictates we lift those needs-based transfer rules.

Indeed, we do disagree. I believe that the cause for needs-basis was the idea that the community
preferred not to grant resources to entities that did not need them to the exclusion of entities that
do. I see no way in which bringing money into the picture changes that reality or that community

> 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.

And it still is. The source pool for IPv4 address transfers is not unlimited in size, either.

> 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.

No, we chose not to allow greedy entities to absorb more space than they needed
to the exclusion of others. Your claim is that adding money to the situation somehow
removes the need to do so. My argument and belief is that it does not.

> 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 IPv6.

My attachment to needs basis is not based in emotion. It is based in logic. You have
done nothing to show that money acts as a regulator to prevent those with greater
capital from absorbing addresses they do not need to the detriment of the rest
of the community. In fact, you have even gone so far as to provide examples of
situations where you believe such an occurrence would actually be a good thing.

> 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.

Not an accurate analogue. There was also other land available through a variety
of other land grants, purchases, and even in some cases, just being the first to
arrive somewhere and stake a claim.

Indeed, since there was no "justified need" basis for land allocation at any point
prior, the fact that things continued without it on a relatively even keel is kind
of irrelevant.

> All the same as our IPv4 situation.  

Except not. (see above).

> 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.

But there was nothing like needs-basis in the initial allocation and there were
many other sources of land as well. This simply isn't the case with IPv4.

> 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, eh!

So you are claiming that there were no regulations on the sale and possession
of land back then? What if you were a black veteran? What if you were a
woman? What if you were a native American attempting to claim your
ancestral homelands?

If you can point to a long-term functional completely deregulated market
anywhere on the planet as an example, I'm willing to bet that would be
the exception rather than the rule.

Completely unregulated free markets have never functioned. All markets
degrade to the point of requiring the government (or some industry
organization) to step in and mitigate the issues they create. This is
not the exception, it is the reality we have seen time and again.

Preserving needs basis is merely a rational and good form of regulating
the IPv4 transfer market to the benefit of the community.


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