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

Chris Engel cengel at conxeo.com
Mon May 23 17:15:19 EDT 2011

> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] IPv4 Transfer Policy Change to Keep Whois Accurate
> On May 23, 2011, at 3:09 PM, Mike Burns wrote:
> > It looks to me like precisely what he was saying when you parse his
> statement to get rid of extraneous information:
> >
> > "ARIN has never had an agreement that would give it authority over legacy
> addresses."
> >
> > Do you quibble with my parsing?
> Indeed.  To be accurate:
> In 2006, ARIN did not have an agreement with UUNET (or other legacy
> address holders) which would give it authority over their specific
> legacy addresses.
> > If I was allocated legacy space and never signed an LRSA, would it be illegal
> for me to sell those addresses to Company A?
> What *exactly* would you allegedly be selling to Company A?  You
> have already indicated that it is not related to Whois, so do you
> believe it is related to Company A's ability to use those numbers
> in the Internet?
> > If Company A tried to route those addresses, would that be illegal?
> Not to the best of my knowledge (regardless of the status at ARIN
> and/or whatever Company A thinks they bought from you...)
> /John
> John Curran
> President and CEO

I'm not really sure whether ARIN would be in the position to determine the "legality" or "illegality"  of any such transactions or the legitimacy of any particular claims of "ownership". Generally you need a Judicial, Legislative or at least Government Executive body to weigh in on those with any degree of authority...and since ARIN is none of those, I'm not sure it would be in a position to make such a determination. I think the most anyone could expect to ask of it (unless I misunderstand it's role) is who it considered the official registrant of a given address space was in it's database, and whether a particular action was in accordance with it's policies or not.  Unless I'm mistaken, ARIN's policies don't carry with them any force of law....although individual contractual agreements ARIN has with specific entities might be enforceable (for those entities only) with the force of contract law. 

Also, given that we're dealing with numbers and not necessarly assets tied to any specific physical location, it's entirely possible that any number of jurisdictions might weigh in with different and conflicting rulings over who "owned" what and was allowed to do what with a given resource....and that ruling would probably only be enforceable as far as entities that operated within that jurisdiction or recognized that jurisdictions authority to rule. For example, the government of North Korea could rule that the entirety of the internet address space was "owned" by Daffy Duck (I hear they are quite fond of Daffy over there) and it could likely enforce that ruling as far as the portion of the internets physical topology located within the bounds of North Korea was concerned.  However, that wouldn't necessarily mean squat to anyone in Topeka.

Generally speaking, absent a law or judicial ruling entities are allowed to do whatever they want in recognizing the status of something according to their own records.  I assume, aside from any contractual agreements it might have,  ARIN could change it's policies to recognize Mickey Mouse as the official registrant of the entire IPv4 address block.  It seems that the only thing that could prevent that is if a Court that had jurisdiction over a location where ARIN operated (the state it was incorporated in?) recognized "ownership" of an address block in contradiction of ARIN's records and ordered ARIN to change it's registration entries accordingly. Has such a ruling ever happened (and been allowed to stand)?

Christopher Engel
(representing only my own views)

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