[arin-ppml] ARIN-prop-170 Transfer of Number Resources in case of Bankruptcy

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Thu May 10 18:29:36 EDT 2012


On May 10, 2012, at 2:54 PM, Martin Hannigan wrote:

> 
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> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 5:29 PM, Scott Leibrand <scottleibrand at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 3:40 PM, Blecker, Christoph <christoph.blecker at ubc.ca> wrote:
> 
> 
> [ clip ]
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> If we think it only appropriate to allow ASN transfers when underlying  network equipment is being transferred, then I don't think any new policy is necessary.  However, if we think it would be appropriate to allow ASNs to be transferred independently of the underlying network resources in certain situations, that would require new policy, and the framework you've proposed (or a similar modification of 8.2) would be an excellent place to start.
> 
> 
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> There are two scenarios in order to maximize the value of an ASN in this context. Transfer with a functional network which "may" be later integrated into another ASN -- this makes the ASN more valuable if it can then be transferred for an additional value after its no longer needed. Transfer with the dead assets of a network. Bundled, the ASN has no value, it's part of a storage locker that gets picked apart for its value and has the rest discarded sometimes improperly. Compartmentalized, the ASN may have value depending on it's marketability (aesthetics, PI concepts, availability, etc.) and possibly how many bytes although in this context its assumed it's two-bytes only.
> 
> It requires a framework that supports maximizing value in the interest of continued use of the resource. Letting debtors recover their capital in order to return a resource to use would be reasonable stewardship.
> 

Speaking very much strictly for myself and absolutely in no way wearing my AC hat:

Maximizing the value of number resources is not a goal of ARIN policy. It is a goal of the bankruptcy courts.

It is unfortunate, IMHO, that anyone perceives registrations of integers to actually have any intrinsic value, which is what we are actually talking about transferring here... Just the registrations of numbers, not the numbers themselves. Technically, not even any real legal right to use is being transferred. Sure, most cooperating ISPs on the internet recognize the RIR system as the registry of choice and conduct their routing accordingly, but, it is not actually illegal for an ISP to ignore the RIR system altogether and choose any other mechanism of address allocation they want. So long as they are able to peer with enough other organizations to get the data they want and deliver the data they care about delivering, there isn't really any issue with this.

We use interesting terms like "prefix hijacking", "right to use", etc. to talk about this stuff, but, the reality is that these are all mostly fictitious except to the extent that they are implemented by cooperating bodies that voluntarily conform to the RIR structure.

Admittedly, the community is reasonably good at shunning those who choose not to cooperate and that makes participation quasi-mandatory.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has yet been tested in court as to what happens if you successfully use numbers that ARIN registered to someone else on the internet in a manner that creates a significant conflict.

As an example, were a large Redmond based convicted felon that develops software to suddenly decide they were going to use 192.124.41.0/24 as a prefix for delivering their next service, I suspect that the current registrant of that prefix would have little or no effective recourse other than depending on the voluntary cooperation of ISPs to disregard that particular route in favor of his use in accordance with ARIN policies. I'm quite certain that in spite of the registration situation at ARIN, the current resource holder would not have the necessary legal resources to successfully challenge the organization in question.

The internet works because of the voluntary cooperation of the people who run routers working with the RIR system. If that breaks down, the internet will fracture and it will take considerable time for legislation to put it back together, if that is even possible. The good news is that almost everyone involved has a pretty strong vested interest in seeing the internet work and remain whole, so, non-cooperating entities can be treated as damage and routed around.

This is why I regard the monetized transfer of IPv4 resources as a necessary but unfortunate reality of the exigent circumstances surrounding IPv4 runout. I wish we could count on IPv6 deployment to remove the need for these IPv4 transfers in the short term, but, reality is that we cannot. Indeed, we will, unfortunately, have to depend on the combination of problems these transfers will eventually create for IPv4 as the motivator to get the later hold-outs to move from IPv4 to IPv6.

No such exigent circumstance exists with respect to ASNs. Unfortunately, this subtle nuance is probably very difficult to communicate to a court that is looking at a registration on one side and a willing purchaser on the other. To the court, the existence of a purchaser basically means that said registration must be an asset with a value.

At this point, I think there are two ways we can go with that. We can acknowledge that value and make ARIN a little more of a free-for-all for the moneyed interests, or, we can decline to recognize such transfers, significantly reducing if not eliminating that value and depend on our able counsel to defend that position to the best of their ability even though they warned us it would be an uphill battle at best.

I, personally, am inclined towards the latter in spite of my strong desire to give counsel every cooperation and tool that we can to help them defend ARIN and our policy process overall.

Owen

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