[arin-ppml] 2015-2

Matthew Kaufman matthew at matthew.at
Thu Jun 4 18:41:11 EDT 2015

On 6/4/2015 9:31 AM, John Curran wrote:
> Matthew -
> Bingo!  What exactly was transferred by that contract,

The exclusive right to use those addresses on the global Internet.

> and how did the original party have the
> “rights” that they claimed to sell to Mike?

Depends on how the original party obtained the address allocation. Might 
be legacy, might be from ARIN, might be from another source.

> If it’s rights in the registry, we know those only transfer
> per the policies of the community.

We know that the right to be listed in the registry only transfers per 
the policy, but maybe that's not the most important right (see below)

>  If it’s something else, where do those rights originate and
> what exactly are the rights being sold?
> We’ve got many transfers of address blocks being done where the 
> contract says “transfer of
> the rights to use and be associated with the IP address entry in the 
> Internet number registry”
> For such transfers, the original party can show the RSA or LRSA as 
> proof that they have the
> rights to which they speak, or can point to the Whois and ask ARIN (as 
> the registry admin) to
> confirm such if they do not happen to have an L/RSA.  In such cases, 
> the recipient receives
> the same rights.   All of this is fairly clear, and makes a lot of 
> sense to judges (at least from
> my decade or so dealing with it.)

Makes sense.

And yet those transfer contracts are almost certainly *still legally 
binding contracts on the seller and buyer* even if after you do your 
thing, you decide not to change the registration (say, because you 
decide the need test isn't met). If the contract calls for reversion in 
that case, then great. If it doesn't, then the legal contract still holds.

This is no different than what happens if I sell my house to you, and 
sign the bill of sale after you give me the money, and then you decide 
that you'd rather not take that down to the county recorder's office. 
Who owns the house? You. Who has the right you occupy the house? You. 
Who is taking some additional risk by having an unrecorded transfer of 
title? You again (and me, a little, to the extent the tax collector uses 
those records to bill me). But it is most certainly not the case that a 
failure to record a sale means "that it didn't happen". When you say 
that "a transfer didn't happen because it wasn't recorded in the ARIN 
database", that is what it sounds like you're saying, and where I think 
you're wrong.

> In the alternative formulation, someone sold Mike (as you put it) the 
> "the right to use those
> integers as addresses on the global Internet”…

Might be what the contract said, might be what you said. Not sure.

But certainly someone could, if they had a unique address assignment, 
sell him the right to use those uniquely-assigned integers (and the 
seller would be losing whatever rights they had sold)

> It is not at all clear how someone ever
> obtained that right so that it could be sold, or even how that right 
> is enforceable since “the
> global Internet” would imply the entities that operate the global 
> routing table.

Maybe that would be poor wording. But Mike could still keep the seller 
from asserting whatever rights they had sold to Mike.

> Do you believe that ARIN issues " "the right to use those integers as 
> addresses on the global
> Internet” with our IPv4 and IPv6 blocks that we assign out today?

No. I believe that ARIN provides some assurance of uniqueness and a 
convenient centralized place for registration records.

> I know that legally we have no way of stating we are giving someone 
> “the right to use those
> integers as addresses on the global Internet” - at best, we can say 
> that we provide them
> exclusive association and use in the Internet numbers registry system, 
> including the right
> to transfer in accordance with policy.

The right to "transfer the registration in your database" in accordance 
with policy. They have lots of other rights, and many are exercising 
them. Like the right to let someone else temporarily use them. And, I 
would argue (perhaps especially for addresses not encumbered by the RSA 
or LRSA) the right to actually "transfer" the rights to use them to 
another party *whether or not* ARIN policy is followed.

> (Mind you, we could actually say “the exclusive right to use in the 
> global Internet routing table
> as maintained by ARIN’s registry users” but doing that would require 
> that ARIN’s registry users
> be obligated to only route blocks on behalf of the parties listed in 
> the registry… does anyone
> really want this obligation with the Internet numbers registry system?

One could argue that the backers of the RPKI want exactly this. The 
legal challenges should be interesting.

>  As someone whose run
> several Internet service providers, I personally wouldn’t wish that if 
> I were still doing so, but
> “rights” have to come from somewhere and if they are anything more 
> that rights to entries in
> the registry, we need to figure out fairly quickly what they are, and 
> how they are made real.)

Coming soon, no doubt.

> As I said earlier, all of this becomes quite important if parties are 
> to have legal rights that they
> can rely upon and enforce in court.

In this country, people can assert rights and sue pretty much whenever 
they want, and have those enforced (or not) in court. Whether or not 
laws are passed or more policies are created.

Matthew Kaufman

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