Last week, we covered the RIPE community’s passing of ripe-604, focused on removing ex ante needs analysis from market transfers of IPv4 addresses.  In yet another sign of a liberalization, RIPE nearly simultaneously passed policy ripe-605, which opens to door to legacy holders in order to maintain accurate registration records.

Importantly, ripe-605 provides several options for holders of legacy resources, who may or may not want to have contracts with RIPE, to register those resources in the Whois system. This has major implications for the transfer market and for the accuracy of IP address Whois data.  ARIN, in contrast, has suggested it will refuse to register legacy resources if their holders transfer them without using ARIN’s needs-based transfer process.  ARIN’s 8.3 transfer process involves a requirement to bring the legacy resources under a Registration Services Agreement (RSA). In effect, ARIN is trying to force all buyers of legacy resources to sign a contract with ARIN using the registry database as their leverage. Thus, ARIN is willing to risk having an inaccurate registration database in order to impose its policies on legacy holders. RIPE’s policy, in contrast, seems to clear the way for legacy holders to engage in the transfer market without fear of the acquiring party being purged from the IP address registry.

RIPE’s organizational shift from allocation and assignment of resources to providing a comprehensive registry service seems well underway. There are still unresolved issues, e.g., concerning the issuance and use of certificates for resources. But, as the policy acknowledges, “the importance of maintaining accurate records in the RIPE database is recognised as the NCC’s principal task.” It will be interesting to see if and when the other regions follow suit.