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

Mike Burns mike at nationwideinc.com
Thu May 12 09:41:34 EDT 2011

Hi Tom, ditto on the detailed response!

Yes I am a stickler for procedural fairness, probably that is why I want so 
few procedures.
No, I would not call myself a champion of transparency and public 
disclosure, though I value information in the market, so there is a tension 

I don't see that my single policy proposal to lift needs analyses for 
transfers of already allocated addresses exhibits little concern for 
procedural fairness or transparency.
On the contrary, it seeks to reconcile legacy and non-legacy status as a 
step towards procedural fairness, and it's underlying rationale is related 
deal transparency.
My lifting the needs requirement, deals which would have been transacted "in 
the dark" due to that requirement would have more incentive to be registered 

So I don't get the inconsistency with previous observations which walked us 
through the forest.

Oh, I'm sorry, in rereading the paragraph I can see that you were probably 
responding to prior posts about private registries.
So you feel that my support of the idea of private registries conflicts with 
my desire to eliminate needs tests for transfers?
I find they are both consistent examples of attempts to remove restrictions 
on the operation of free markets.

As far as the DNS private market goes, I don't see the problem with it.
I haven't personally had or seen issues with non-uniqueness of domain names.
There are more tools to find domain names, there are cottage industries 
related to the resale of domain names, there are more tlds, there are 
lifetime registrations, there are cheaper domains.
To me, DNS seems to work, and I have been running production DNS servers 
since 1996.
Are there specific problems with the DNS private market that you feel would 
be absent from a market with a single "public" registrar?
I think that would be an instructive conversation to have on the matter of 
private registries, which has always been a sideline issue to me.

I do think that registry services will see some extra pressure, 
post-exhaust, and maintaining a registry of uniqueness and accessibility 
will be vital. Hence you haven't seen me arguing to hide information from 
whois, rather to have whois reflect the real users of the address space, if 
only to provide accurate points of contact for abuse notifications. I 
believe that my proposed changes to the ARIN policy would have the effect of 
cleaning up some old inaccurate whois data (the provision to hold addresses 
without fear of revokation) and making new registrations more likely through 
reducing transaction costs in the form of needs analyses.

I also hold that it would increase the supply in the transfer markets, 
creating a safe harbor for those who wish to sell addresses but who fear a 
utilization review. I believe this will bring down price, benefitting the 
community both through cheaper access and through the movement of address 
from under- or dis-use into productive use.

But I don't hold that creating private registries will increase registration 
I hold that eliminating needs requirements will increase registration rates.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Vest" <tvest at eyeconomics.com>
To: "Mike Burns" <mike at nationwideinc.com>
Cc: "McTim" <dogwallah at gmail.com>; "Owen DeLong" <owen at delong.com>; 
<arin-ppml at arin.net>
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 4:58 AM
Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] IPv4 Transfer Policy Change to Keep Whois Accurate

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the very detailed response.
Given the level of scrutiny that you've obviously devoted to this particular 
transfer transaction, and your repeated emphasis on what could be 
interpreted as gaps and inconsistencies in the accumulated public 
disclosures about this matter,  I am tempted to assume that you are either a 
real stickler for legalistic/rule-based/procedural fairness, or a determined 
champion of transparency and public disclosure -- or perhaps both (?).

And yet your policy proposals seem to exhibit very little of those concerns 
about procedural fairness and transparency -- but quite a bit of the same 
sort of fairy tale qualities that you disparage in the official account of 
the Nortel/Microsoft transfer justification. To paraphrase George Berkeley, 
if a tree falls in the woods but no one's around to hear it (and/or to 
witness whether it harms any other trees on the way down), do we still 
believe that it makes a sound? Or would be better to infer from the silence 
that trees in the forest have become immune to the laws of gravity, or 
perhaps that falling trees now spontaneously sublimate into gas as soon as 
they start tilting, thus making both sound and harm impossible? If we put 
enough distance between ourselves and the forest so that no sound can ever 
be heard, does that grant us the license to be indifferent as to which of 
these is (more) true -- or to take any position that appeals to us, 
regardless of its (in)consistency with previous observations?
The same questions come up in the real world. For example, what does the 
generally low quality of domain-related whois data that is commonly observed 
in the competitive market for DNS registrar services say about the notion 
that the price mechanism alone is sufficient to sustain whois meaningful 
registry/whois participation? [1]. What can be inferred from a situation in 
which a 100% voluntary (and until very recently, 100% free) registry 
dedicated to much pricier assets still only attracts participation at levels 
that would be fatal to an IP number resource registry? HM Land Registry in 
the UK, for example, just passed the 70% national participation milestone 
(though participation in some rural counties remains below 50% ) after only 
150+ years of membership promotion efforts) [2]. What, if anything, do you 
think that we can take away from the experiences of other private registries 
like these? Why should we assume that the private decision making calculus 
of future transfer market participants will favor registration/disclosure 
over nondisclosure at rates that are 2-3x higher than observed participation 
levels in other private registries?

For the record, I agree with you that the next few years are certain to test 
the current registry/whois system more severely than it has ever been tested 
in the past. I also believe that that system will continue to represent the 
best and only means at "our" (individual and/or collective) disposal, both 
for exercising "macro-prudential" judgment in private/commercial matters, 
and for serving as informed co-participants in "macro-prudential" 
coordination and oversight activities -- a.k.a. "industry self-governance." 
These functions are doubly critical in industries like the ours (which in 
this sense would include banking/finance) that are highly dependent on the 
consistency (or at least predictability) of transitive commercial 
interactions. As long as the "typical" inter-domain packet exchange must 
traverse 3~4 or more separate business entities in order to be completed, 
there is no reason to believe that "counterparty scrutiny" (or peer-mediated 
/ "market discipline") alone will be sufficient to keep this industry 
afloat -- no matter how we reinforce those bilateral levers with (ironclad 
contracts | secure protocols | interpersonal relationships | faith in the 
rationality of markets).

The banking industry learned that lesson the hard way not so long ago -- or 
at least I'd like to think that parts of it did, even if there hasn't been 
any obvious change in the pace or direction of financial activity migration 
away from the "light" of reciprocal disclosure and limited transparency, and 
into the "shadows" where nobody knows nothing. Regardless, I think that *we* 
should take advantage of the opportunity to learn from this episode, even if 
bankers themselves don't. Considering that Internet industry members still 
enjoy the kind of operational autonomy and freedom of private action that US 
banks once had -- until their own self-governance mechanisms stopped working 
(and the Fed took over, c. 1907), the stakes on the line during the next few 
years really couldn't be higher...

TV, speaking form myself alone

On May 11, 2011, at 5:12 PM, Mike Burns wrote:

> Hi Tom and welcome to this particular discussion,
> The current legal realities I referenced are the implications of the 
> public information associated with the MS/Nortel deal.
> In this forum I have argued that the public bankruptcy documents reveal 
> that the addresses transferred from Nortel to MS were not originally 
> allocated to Nortel, but represented some accumulation of addresses 
> allocated to Nortel's "predecessors in interest" who were Nortel 
> acquisitions from the 1990s.
> I argued that MS and Nortel negotiated  a deal to sell all the addresses 
> in that accretion, although the public documents reveal that Microsoft was 
> able to bid on an amount smaller than the entire lot.
> After the original asset sale agreement between MS and Nortel was 
> negotiated, ARIN became aware of the transaction, and after some 
> negotiations with the parties at interest, and some changes to the 
> MS/Nortel asset agreement, made a press release claiming that the transfer 
> could proceed under existing ARIN policy.
> ARIN later revealed the policy utilized to be NRPM 8.3, which requires 
> four things which may or may not have actually happened:
> 1. Addresses are supposed to be issued back to ARIN and then reissued to 
> the recipient, Microsoft, and the bankruptcy docs did not reveal this 
> happened in any way.
> 2. Address are supposed to be transferred as a single aggregate, but if 
> the addresses were an assortment of netblocks from prior Nortel 
> acquisitions, this could not have happened.
> 3. Recipients were required to sign an RSA, MS signed a modified LRSA.
> 4. Finally, the requirement at issue here, a needs analysis had to be 
> completed by ARIN, which magically showed that MS qualified for exactly 
> the amount already bid for and negotiated the sale of.
> If they had needed fewer addresses, they could have bid for less than the 
> full pool.
> If they needed more addresses, they should have received an additional 
> ARIN allocation.
> Paraphrasing Goldilocks, the random allocation of addresses to long-ago 
> Nortel acquisitions was "just right."
> My reading of the bankruptcy documents leads me to the conclusion that the 
> bankruptcy judge found that Nortel had the exclusive right to transfer the 
> addresses, even though the judge had not been informed of any 
> ex-post-facto NRPM 8.2 transfer from the original registrants to Nortel. 
> 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.  This is consistent with a declaration by the head of 
> ARIN at the time in the Kremen case where he stated that ARIN has no 
> authority over legacy addresses.
> My argument is that the apparent success of RIR stewardship (although I 
> claim many of the allocated and unrouted addresses represent failures 
> here) over the last two decades is laudable and represents an obvious 
> requirement in the stewardship of free pool resources, but is unnecessary 
> in a post-exhaust age where the price of addresses will ensure efficient 
> use.
> 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.
> Regards,
> Mike Burns
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Vest" <tvest at eyeconomics.com>
> To: "Mike Burns" <mike at nationwideinc.com>
> Cc: "McTim" <dogwallah at gmail.com>; "Owen DeLong" <owen at delong.com>; 
> <arin-ppml at arin.net>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 4:34 PM
> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] IPv4 Transfer Policy Change to Keep Whois 
> Accurate
> Hi Mike,
> While it may or may not be true that your perspective on this question is 
> consonant with that of "the APNIC community," elements within said 
> community have been championing the same broad policy changes that you're 
> advocating here now since the early 1990s. Thus it would seem that the 
> views that you associate yourself with here couldn't possible have 
> anything to do with "current legal realities" -- unless perhaps by 
> "current" you mean something like "twentieth century."
> Given that historical fact -- and the apparent success of the RIR 
> stewardship mission over the intervening two decades of possible 
> nonconformity with legal reality  -- on what basis could you legitimately 
> claim that abandoning time-tested registry practices that have been 
> integral to maintaining whois accuracy to date represents the best, or 
> perhaps the only way to maintain whois accuracy in the future?
> Alternately, if you actually had in mind some other, more recent legal 
> developments -- which by definition could not have any causal relation to 
> policy arguments that predated them by 10-15 years -- a clarification of 
> exactly what those changes in legal reality are would be much appreciated.
> Thanks,
> TV
> On May 11, 2011, at 3:13 PM, Mike Burns wrote:
>> Hi Owen and McTim,
>> I, along with the APNIC community, could make the claim that you are 
>> abandoning the stewardship role in maintaining Whois accuracy, and 
>> sacrificing that stewardship role on the altar of an ARIN needs policy 
>> developed for the purposes of  free pool allocations that does not comply 
>> with current legal realities.
>> But charges of abandoning stewardship are inflammatory, and I hope we can 
>> keep to actual discussions of the implications of my proposal without 
>> casting aspersions.
>> Let's agree that we all seek the highest standards of stewardship, but 
>> disagree on how those standards should be applied.
>> I think I could characterize your opposition better by saying that you 
>> believe the danger of hoarding and speculation outweigh the risk to whois 
>> accuracy.
>> Would that be an accurate statement, if not your exclusive objection to 
>> the proposal?
>> Regards,
>> Mike
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "McTim" <dogwallah at gmail.com>
>> To: "Owen DeLong" <owen at delong.com>
>> Cc: "Mike Burns" <mike at nationwideinc.com>; <arin-ppml at arin.net>
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 2:53 PM
>> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] IPv4 Transfer Policy Change to Keep Whois 
>> Accurate
>> On Wed, May 11, 2011 at 9:09 PM, Owen DeLong <owen at delong.com> wrote:
>>> I oppose the policy as written.
>> +1
>>> Abandoning our stewardship role for the sake of making it more likely
>>> people will register their misappropriation of community resources is
>>> like legalizing bank robbery in the hopes that the thieves will pay
>>> income tax on their ill gotten gains.
>> ;-)
>> -- 
>> Cheers,
>> McTim
>> "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A
>> route indicates how we get there." Jon Postel
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