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

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Wed May 11 22:16:55 EDT 2011

On May 11, 2011, at 6:59 PM, Mike Burns wrote:

> Hi John,
>>> To me, this means he was convinced that ARIN had no rights over transferring the addresses, although ARIN has rights over reflecting that transfer in Whois.
>> That's a rather interesting conclusion, as the judge actually made
>> no Order to that effect (or even close).
> Excuse me, but the judge did find that:
> G. The seller has the exclusive right to use the Internet numbers and the exclusive right to transfer its exclusive right to use the Internet numbers. Such exclusive rights to use and transfer, together with Seller's other legal and equitable rights in and to the Internet numbers, if any, are referred herein collectively as the "Seller's Rights".
I find the idea that the seller has the exclusive right to use the numbers amusing at best.

No law precludes me from using any IPv4 address I wish on any network I want. Only
the social convention of the ISPs choosing to route it controls the right to use them
on the more global internet.

I'm simply unsure of what exclusive right to use the judge was referring to. To me, it
appears to be largely a legal fiction from the word go.

> What part of exclusive right is hard to understand? If the rights were somehow circumscribed by ARIN, why continue in the altered document to use the term "exclusive rights"?
Nobody other than the seller had the right to transfer their rights (such as they may
have been). That's what I understand "exclusive right" to mean. ARIN has no
right, per se, to transfer the resources. This does not mean that ARIN does
not have the right to de-register the seller from their database, nor does it
mean that ARIN does not have the right to refuse to register the buyer
in their database. Neither does it mean that ARIN cannot record a different
entity in their database with registration of those same numbers.

The concept of rights to exclusive use of an IP address is simply and utterly
absurd when you do any form of deep analysis.

I find it very amusing that on one hand you want to "minimize regulation" by
having ARIN remove needs-basis from the criteria by which they will
recognize a transfer, yet, on the other hand you seem to like the idea of
a legal precedent stating that IP address registrations in the ARIN database
somehow convey a set of rights and title to some ephemeral "use" which
is nowhere accurately defined.

To me, such sudden creation of a variety of new "exclusive" rights (theoretically to
the exclusion of the ability of others to exercise those same capabilities)
would constitute a new and burdensome regulation, indeed.

>>> I also argue that in the post-exhaust age, conflicts over claims to address rights will likely increase, putting more pressure on Whois to accurately represent >>reality.
>> ARIN will maintain the reality of the Whois in accordance to the wishes of
>> this community.  Parties asserting that they'll deliver you some invisible
>> numbers for a good price are always likely to find gullible parties, but
>> actual transfers of entries in the registry will only occur in accordance
>> with community-developed policies in the region.
> The problem is when actual transfers of rights to use occur and ARIN doesn't reflect those in the registry.

Since the "rights to use" are largely fictitious, I'm not sure how they can
actually be transferred.

> By transfers, I mean that company A sells their right to use addresses, and Company B buys them and uses them.

How much will you give me for the number 5? Remember, if you don't pay me,
you're not allowed to use 5 any more ever.


We're talking about integers in the range 0-4,026,531,839 (I left out the E/F/G space).

I can no more deny you the use of 3,231,648,263 for whatever purpose you wish
(and yes, that is an integer registered to me in the ARIN database and advertised
into global BGP as part of my network). than you can deny me my right to use it.

What I can likely do is convince other ISPs not to route it to you based on the
fact that I am listed in the ARIN whois record.

If I found you advertising it to the internet and couldn't convince your
upstream(s) to remove it, then, I might be able to convince a judge to issue
an injunction that stops you from advertising it to the internet causing
the moral equivalent of "harmful interference" as that term is defined
by the FCC for use in parts 15 and 97 of the FCC regulations.

However, I could not prevent you from using the same numbers in any other
manner you saw fit, or, even on any network not advertised in a conflicting

> I know that would not be a definition of transfer that you would use, as you seem to apply only the definition of a whois update to a transfer.
> That's what I mean by a disconnect with reality, and a penalty to whois accuracy.

I think John may not be the one disconnected from reality here.


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