North American Network Operators Group|
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Can a Customer take their IP's with them? (Court says yes!)
Please read -- this is lengthy, and important to the industry as a whole. We ask for, and solicit, comments, letters of support, etc., for our position. We are looking for people to take a position on this, and come forward, perhaps even to provide an affidavit or certification. Something along the lines of a 'friend of the court' brief, or even comments as to why we are wrong. Read on. There has been a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by state court that customers may take non-portable IP space with them when they leave their provider. Important to realize: THIS TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER HAS BEEN GRANTED, AND IS CURRENTLY IN EFFECT. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT COULD HAPPEN, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAS HAPPENED. THERE IS AN ABILITY TO DISSOLVE IT, AND THAT IS WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO. This is a matter is of great importance to the entire Internet community. This type of precedent is very dangerous. If this ruling is upheld it has the potential to disrupt routing throughout the Internet, and change practices of business for any Internet Service Provider. In the TRO, the specific language that is enforced is as follows: "NAC shall permit CUSTOMER to continue utilization through any carrier or carriers of CUSTOMER's choice of any IP addresses that were utilized by, through or on behalf of CUSTOMER under the April 2003 Agreement during the term thereof (the "Prior CUSTOMER Addresses") and shall not interfere in any way with the use of the Prior CUSTOMER Addresses, including, but not limited to: (i) by reassignment of IP address space to any customer; aggregation and/or BGP announcement modifications, (ii) by directly or indirectly causing the occurrence of superseding or conflicting BGP Global Routing Table entries; filters and/or access lists, and/or (iii) by directly or indirectly causing reduced prioritization or access to and/or from the Prior CUSTOMER Addresses, (c) provide CUSTOMER with a Letter of Authorization (LOA) within seven (7) days of CUSTOMER's written request for same to the email address/ticket system (firstname.lastname@example.org), and (d) permit announcement of the Prior CUSTOMER Addresses to any carrier, IP transit or IP peering network." We believe this order to be in direct violation of ARIN policy and the standard contract that is signed by every entity that is given an allocation of IP space. The ARIN contract strictly states that the IP space is NOT property of the ISP and can not be sold or transferred. The IP blocks in question in this case are very clearly defined as non-portable space by ARIN. Section 9 of ARIN's standard Service Agreement clearly states: "9. NO PROPERTY RIGHTS. Applicant acknowledges and agrees that the numbering resources are not property (real, personal or intellectual) and that Applicant shall not acquire any property rights in or to any numbering resources by virtue of this Agreement or otherwise. Applicant further agrees that it will not attempt, directly or indirectly, to obtain or assert any trademark, service mark, copyright or any other form of property rights in any numbering resources in the United States or any other country." [ Full ARIN agreement http://www.arin.net/library/agreements/rsa.pdf ] Further, it is important to realize that this CUSTOMER has already gotten allocations from ARIN over 15 months ago, and has chosen not to renumber out of NAC IP space. They have asserted that ARIN did not supply them with IP space fast enough to allow them to renumber. Since they have gotten allocations from ARIN, we are confident they have signed ARIN's RSA as well, and are aware of the above point (9). If this ruling stands and a new precedent is set, any customer of any carrier would be allowed to take their IP space with them when they leave just because it is not convenient for them to renumber. That could be a single static IP address for a dial-up customer or many thousands of addresses for a web hosting company. This could mean that if you want to revoke the address space of a spammer customer, that the court could allow the customer to simply take the space with them and deny you as the carrier (and ARIN) their rights to control the space as you (and ARIN) see fit. REMEMBER, THE INTERNET USED TO BE BASED UPON PORTABLE IP SPACE, AND IS NO LONGER FOR SEVERAL TECHNICAL REASONS. It is important to understand that this is not a situation where a customer is being forced to leave on short notice. NAC has not revoked the IP space of the customer. This is a situation where a customer is exercising their option not to renew their services and is leaving voluntarily. In addition the customer in question was granted their own IP space OVER A YEAR AGO and simply chose not to renumber their entire network. The key issue is that they want to take the space with them AFTER they leave NAC and are NO LONGER A CUSTOMER. Why this TRO is bad for the Internet: 1. It undermines ARIN's entire contract and authority to assign IP space. 2. It means that once IP addresses have been assigned / SWIP'ed to a Customer that the Customer may now have the right to continued use of those addresses even if the customer leaves the service of the Provider. In other words the right of the Provider to maintain control and use of the address space assigned to his network, is to now be subject to the Customer going to a State Court and getting an Order to take such space with them. Instead of the Addresses being allocated by delegated authority of the Department of Commerce and ARIN they become useable by anyone who convinces a Judge that they have a need for the addresses. It appears the Customer can keep the addresses for as long as it pleases the State Court and as long as the Customer can judicially hijack the space. The tragic part of this is that the Court which issues the Order does not even have to hear expert testimony. So the Court can issue such Order without fully understanding the Internet Technology that is affected or the havoc it could cause in National and International Communications. 3. Significant potential for routing havoc as pieces of non-portable blocks of space are no longer controlled by the entity that has the assignment from ARIN, but by the end user customer for as long as that customer wants to use them. If the customer was causing a routing problem by improper routing confirmation the carrier would lose their authority to revoke or limit the use of the IP space to protect the stability of the carrier's network. In other words, court-compelled LOAs are a 'bad thing.' 4. Because the IP space is still assigned to the carrier, the carrier would potentially be responsible to continue to respond to all SPAM and hacking complaints, DMCA violations, and all other forms of abuse. All of this abuse responsibility and liability would continue with no recourse to revoke or limit IP space of that customer and no ability to receive financial compensation for that task. This is not a theoretical problem, in the case of this customer we have received numerous abuse complaints throughout their history as a customer. While they have generally resolved these issues, it still is a real cost for us to handle. This is something that has the potential to create a massive burden for the carrier. 5. It would fundamentally change the long standing policy that the carrier that has the IP space assigned to them has the right to assign and revoke the IP space as it sees fit, and that the customer has no rights to the IP space other then the rights that the carrier gives them (through a delegation from ARIN). 6. If the customer is being DDOSed, or attacked (perhaps they may even instigate it purposely), and then stops announcing the more specific routes, the attack when then flow to us, the innocent bystander. Essentially, the customer could cause a DDOS for which I will then be billed for. This type of thing has been known to happen in the past (but not with this CUSTOMER). As you can see, this TRO has widespread effects, and is something that everyone in the industry could be affected by. If this precedent is set, you will soon have everyone acting as if IP's are property, and something that they are entitled to. I ask for input from everyone in the community on this. We don't think we're crazy, but want to make sure.