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Legal Attack on ARIN Dismissed in Court

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) has announced [PDF] that it has prevailed in a lawsuit that challenged ARIN's ability to allocate Internet Protocol (IP) number resources fairly. The lawsuit was brought by an individual - Gary Kremen - who sought to have a netblock of IP addresses transferred to him without agreeing to ARIN's standard terms and conditions.

"Today's victory is significant for consumers who rely on the Internet to operate efficiently and effectively," said ARIN President and CEO Raymond Plzak.

Read full story: ARIN

Related topics: Cyberattack, Cybercrime, Registry Services, Internet Protocol, IP Addressing, Regional Registries

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Re: Legal Attack on ARIN Dismissed in Court Karl Auerbach  –  Dec 28, 2006 8:07 PM PDT

I think one needs to be careful in describing who "won" and who "lost".

Yes, Gary Kremen did not prevail on anti-trust claims against ARIN.

But at the end of the day, Kremen will walk way with a substantial chunk of IPv4 address space.

The address dispute appeared to be over whether Kremen had to sign a contract with ARIN that was identical to what Kremen's predecessor (Cohen) had signed, or whether the agreement that Cohen had signed with ARIN would automagically shift from Cohen to Kremen.

To my mind that is a formality and I don't see why it had to be fought over in court - both sides seemed to agree that Cohen's terms applied to Kremen.

What I found interesting was the IP address treatment of "Block 2".  This is a chunk of space that was allocated in 1996 before ARIN came into existance and thus was outside of ARIN's control.

The court, sensibly, said that since it wasn't under ARIN's control, Block 2, couldn't be transferred in the context of a clarification between ARIN and Kremin.

But that leaves unanswered the question whether Kremen can no go to UUNET (or its successors) and have block 2 transferred there.

Which leaves me with a couple of observations and questions:

ARIN described its role in its filings as:

All U.S., Canadian and other IP resources (a portion of ARIN's geographical service area) are administered in a public trust by ARIN pursuant to a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. government. Because IP address space is finite and a public trust, IP resources are allocated to registrants subject to contractual terms and ARIN's policies. IP resources are allocated by ARIN pursuant to the terms of a services agreement, which obligates registrants to comply with ARIN's Internet Protocol address space allocation and assignment guidelines...IP resources may only be transferred from one entity to another pursuant to the terms of ARIN's Guidelines for Transferring Internet Protocol (IP) Space...and subject to ARIN's Transfer Policy...Among other things, the Guidelines provide that IP resources are non-transferable, may not be sold or assigned and may only be transferred upon ARIN's approval of a formal transfer request.

1. ARIN describes its role as if it were entire and complete across the US and Canadian allocations.  But from the decision, and ARIN's own statements, it is clear that there is IP address space in the US and Canada that is not under ARIN control.

2. From where did the authority come to establish the "public trust"?  The US government is neither monolithic nor empowered with unlimited authority.  In matters of delegation of authority it is necessary to ask with precision and specificity about the source of authority and how it was delegated.

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