[External] Normal ARIN registration service fees for LRSA entrants after 31 Dec 2023 (was: Fwd: [arin-announce] Availability of the Legacy Fee Cap for New LRSA Entrants Ending as of 31 December 2023)

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Sat Sep 17 02:11:57 UTC 2022

John Curran <jcurran at arin.net> wrote:
> ... the long-term direction is to provide the same services to all
> customers under the same agreement and fees – anything else wouldn’t
> be equitable.

There are many "anything else"s that would indeed be equitable.  It is
equitable for businesses to sell yesterday's bread at a lower price than
today's bread.  Or to rent unused hotel rooms to late-night transients
for lower prices than those charged to people who want pre-booked
certainty about their overnight shelter.  ARIN could equitably charge
different prices to people in different situations; it already does.
And ARIN could equitably offer services to non-members, by charging them
transaction fees for services rendered, rather than trying to force them
into a disadvantageous long term contract.  Please don't confuse
"seeking equity" with "forcing everyone into the same procrustean bed".

As a simple example, ARIN's contract need not require its customers to
give up their resources when ceasing to pay ARIN for services.  (There's
an existence proof: RIPE's doesn't.)  Such a contract would likely
result in more-equitable sharing of costs, since it would encourage
legacy holders to pay ARIN (and legacy holders are still more than a
quarter of the total IP addresses, possibly much more).  The fact that
ARIN hasn't made this happen says nothing about equity; it's about
something else.

This whole tussle is about power.  ARIN wants the power to take away
legacy resources, while their current owners don't want that to happen.
ARIN wants to be the puppeteer who pulls all the strings for the North
American Internet.  It pursues this desire by stealth and misdirection
(e.g. "We strongly encourage all legacy resource holders who have not
yet signed an LRSA to cover their legacy resources to consider doing so
before 31 December 2023 in order to secure the most favorable fees for
their ARIN Services...")  ARIN is also trying to encourage ISPs to
demand RPKI before providing transit to IP address holders, which would
turn its optional RPKI service (that it has tied by contract into ARIN
gaining control over legacy resources) into an effectively mandatory
RPKI service.

ARIN hides its power grab behind "our policies are set by our community"
and "our board is elected by our community" misdirections.  Its voting
community consists almost entirely of those who aren't legacy holders
(by definition: if you accept their contract, your legacy resource
ownership goes away; if you don't, you can't vote).  That community
would love to confiscate some "underused" legacy IP addresses to be
handed out for free to their own "waiting list".  So this is equivalent
to putting foxes in charge of policy for a henhouse.

Now that markets exist for IP addresses, all that IP addresses need is a
deed-registry to discourage fraud, like a county real-estate registrar's
office.  IP addresses no longer need a bureacracy for socialistic
determinations about which supplicants "deserve" addresses.  Addresses
now have prices, and if you want some, you buy them.  Deed registries
get to charge fees for transactions, but they don't get to take away
your property, nor tell you that you can't buy any more property because
they disapprove of how you managed your previous properties.  Actual
ownership of real estate is defined by contracts and courts, not by the
registry, which is just a set of pointers to help people figure out the
history and current status of each parcel.  The registry is important,
but it's not definitive.

Deed-registry is apparently not a model that ARIN wants to be operating
in.  They initially tried to refuse to record purchases of address
blocks, because it violated their model of "if you don't use your IP
addresses, you must give them back to us and receive no money for them".
They saw their job as being the power broker who hands out free favors.
But when their supply of free IP addresses dried up, they had no
remaining function other than to record ownership (be a deed registry),
and to run an occasional conference.  It dawned on them that if they
refused to record these transactions, they would not even be a reliable
deed-registry; they would have entirely outlived their usefulness.  So
they reluctantly agreed to do that job, but their policies are still
left over from their power-broker past.  They'd love to go back to it,
if only they could figure out how.  IPv6?  Sure!  RPKI maybe?  Worth a

ARIN prefers to be a power broker rather than a scribe.  Who can blame
them for that?  But don't mistake their strategy for stewardship.
"Doing what the community wants" or "seeking the equitable thing" quacks
like stewardship, so of course they brand themselves that way.  But
in my opinion their power-seeking is self-serving, not community-serving.

	John Gilmore

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