[arin-ppml] Deceased Companies?

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Mon Jul 25 16:58:54 EDT 2022

On Mon, Jul 25, 2022 at 1:28 PM Ronald F. Guilmette
<rfg at tristatelogic.com> wrote:
> Anybody can claim anything in court.  [...]
> I personally believe that ARIN has no legally enforcable obligations to
> any party that it has no explicit contract with.

Hi Ronald,

If two parties have a contract with each other (let's say you and your
Internet provider) and a third party does something unreasonable which
obstructs the performance of that contract, the third party has broken
the law. It's called "tortious interference with a contract."

Now, suppose you receive a grant of IP addresses from the U.S.
Government via its contractors operating as the InterNIC. I.e. legacy
addresses. You ask your ISP to route those addresses on the Internet
but when the ISP checks the registry ARIN says, "No, we reclaimed
those numbers and assigned them to party X." ARIN, a third party not
involved in the contract, has clearly done something which obstructs
the performance of the contract between you and your ISP. The only
question is whether it's reasonable.

To answer the reasonableness question you have to inquire into the
source of ARIN's authority to reclaim those numbers and assign them to
someone else. If ARIN has a contract with you covering the numbers
then that's the source of ARIN's authority. If they don't then you
have to rewind 25 years and look at how ARIN came to manage the
registry. That gets murky but the bottom line is there's no clear
grant of authority for ARIN to make unilateral changes to legacy
database while there is a clear assignment of responsibility to
indefinitely operate that database as a condition of taking over the
InterNIC function from the U.S. government.

Bear in mind, once you've demonstrated that ARIN interfered, the onus
is on ARIN to demonstrate that the interference was reasonable. If
they can't, ARIN is both liable for damages and subject to
injunctions. And that's just one of the bits of law at play here.

So there are almost certainly legally enforceable obligations upon
ARIN regarding the legacy registrants, even without a contract.
Exactly what those obligations are is harder to say. You'd have to
toss the dice and go to court to find out.

Bill Herrin

For hire. https://bill.herrin.us/resume/

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