Infamous coercion by the RIPE NCC

I think I have to write this in English as well, since this issue should attract more people …

While »indecent assault«, as I originally intentend to title this post, might not cut it, I think it would be a valid headline on the topic I want to talk about, considering the way RIPE [NCC] approached people.

In July 2013, the RIPE NCC approached me with this text:

Dear colleagues,

This is an email from the RIPE NCC (www.ripe.net).

We are trying to contact the holder of […]. Your contact details are listed in the RIPE Database for objects related to these resources.

According to policy detailed in ripe-452 (Contractual Requirements for Provider Independent Resource Holders in the RIPE NCC Service Region), a company holding Internet number resources must sign an End User Assignment Agreement with a Local Internet Registry (LIR) of their choice, or with the RIPE NCC directly by becoming a RIPE NCC member (LIR).

You can find the policy here:
http://www.ripe.net/ripe/docs/ripe-452

You can find a list of Local Internet Registries here:
http://www.ripe.net/membership/indices/

You can find more information about becoming a RIPE NCC member at:
http://www.ripe.net/lir-services/member-support/become-a-member

We kindly ask you to reply to this email and to let us know whether:

  • The end user of the resources will sign an End User Assignment Agreement with an LIR of their choice
  • The end user will become a RIPE NCC member and sponsor the resources
  • The end user no longer needs the resources and will return them to the RIPE NCC

Should we not hear from the end user within the next 90 days, we will start the de-registration of […] and return these resources to the free pool.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,
RIPE NCC

Well, until that time, I haven’t heard of “ripe-452”. Reading it made me feel both sorry for and really angry about the RIPE NCC.

The thing is, in theory, ripe-452 “wants no harm”:

1.0 Introduction

The RIPE NCC has historically assigned provider independent resources without requiring a contractual relationship link between the End User and the RIPE NCC. This policy has made it impossible to maintain an accurate database of resource utilisation, as there has been no effective ability for the RIPE NCC to ensure that End Users keep their contact information up-to-date, and to ensure that resources which are assigned to End Users which no longer fulfil the original assignment conditions are returned to the RIPE NCC for re-assignment.

The intention of this policy document is to ensure that the RIPE NCC, as the intermediate manager of provider independent resource assignments to End Users, can confirm that the End User exists, continues to exist and that they continue to fulfil their obligations to comply with the original assignment conditions. This position can be ensured by the presence of either an indirect or a direct contractual link between the End User and the RIPE NCC.

One major thing to note here: “The RIPE NCC has historically assigned provider independent resources without requiring a contractual relationship link between the End User and the RIPE NCC.” In other words: there is no contract in place that puts the RIPE NCC in a legal position to request what they are requesting, peroid.

I tried to debate this with the RIPE NCC, but their statement stays the same:

Prefix […] is not part of early registration / legacy space.
It is a PI assignment issued by the Last Resource Registry of Germany (on behalf of the RIPE NCC) to the End User […], therefore the RIPE policies apply for it.

[…]

At this stage, we are applying the phase 3 of the policy described in ripe-452.
That policy was established in 2009 and since than we are implementing it in phases.
Right now, in phase 3, we are contacting (gradually) the End Users of resources that no LIR sponsored them that far.

So, no reasoning with the RIPE NCC. As if it is some natural law, they state that, as it is about address space delegated by the RIPE NCC, “[therefore] the RIPE policies apply for it”.
That any such policies only where formed later than the delegation happened is no issue in the way the RIPE NCC sees the world.
So, although they know they have no legal point to press users of old delegations into signing contracts, they just continue and threaten end users until they finally give in. That really sounds more russian than netherlands to me …

In principle, the idea behind ripe-452 isn’t that bad: “The intention of this policy document is to ensure that the RIPE NCC […] can confirm that the End User exists, continues to exist and that they continue to fulfil their obligations to comply with the original assignment conditions.

But this good intention is misused by the RIPE NCC to force end users into an adhesion contract towards the benefit of the RIPE NCC, imposing way more restrictions onto the end user than just “the original assignment conditions”. Above all, the RIPE NCC now requests an annual fee to be paid, and does restrict the usage, in contradiction to the original assignment conditions:

The details of any such contracts are outside the scope of this document. However, at the minimum, all contracts should include:

  • Notice that the LIR is responsible for liaising with the resource holder to keep registration records up-to-date
  • Notice that the resource holder is obliged to provide up-to-date registration data to the LIR and that some or all of this registration data will be published in the RIPE WHOIS Database
  • Notice that none of the provider independent resources may be sub-assigned to a third party
  • Notice that the resource holder is obliged to pay an annual fee to the LIR for the resources
  • A clear statement that the resources will return by default to the RIPE NCC if
    1. The resource holder cannot be contacted
    2. The annual fee to the LIR is not paid
  • A clear statement that the use of resources is subject to RIPE policies as published on the RIPE web site and which may be amended from time to time

So, to put it into a nutshell: you, as a holder of Legacy IP Space, are:

  • forced to enter a binding contract to the sole benefit of the RIPE NCC with a random third party
  • forced by the RIPE NCC to agree on paying money to that third party and
  • forced to waive certain of your rights on the IP space assigned to you 20 years ago.

WTF?!

Well, it’s a “should”, so I’m really inclined to follow fellow net native’s advice to just sign a bogus contract (like, “yearly fee: 0.00 EUR” and “address space holder’s rights are in no way limited”) with some cooperative LIR … But, frankly, as I did not do anything wrong (yet), I’m more into fighting the Evil the RIPE became than to just circumvent their bullshit. Afterall, it is the RIPE NCC that is ignoring law and order to push their odd policies onto people.

4 thoughts on “Infamous coercion by the RIPE NCC

  1. Super nervig ist es.

    Aber deine Position verstehe ich dennoch nicht ganz. Du hast keinen Vertrag für das Netz, und deshalb gehst du davon aus dass es dir gehört.

    RIPE hat keinen Vertrag für das Netz und geht deshalb davon aus dass es niemand gehört.

    Mit ein klein wenig Mühe und geringen Kosten bleibt dir das Netz erhalten, auch wenn du keinen vertraglichen Anspruch darauf hast.

    Alle “Netzleichen” werden so aber ganz effektiv bereinigt.

    Wie könnte RIPE hier besser vorgehen?

    -hugi

    • Das hatte ich noch vergessen …

      Nicht alles, was hinkt, ich ein Vergleich, aber: das, was das RIPE [NCC] derzeit treibt, fühlt sich für mich so an als ob die ITU auf jeden Telefonanschlußinhaber zuginge und sagt: »Hey Alter, wir kennen uns zwar nicht und haben auch nie miteinander zu tun gehabt, aber da Du ja eine Rufnummer unter der deutschen Vorwahl +49 hast, mußt Du jetzt diesen Knebelvertrag zu unseren Gunsten unterschreiben und im Jahr 50,– EUR an uns zahlen, damit Du Deine Nummer behälst.«

      Zu abwegig? Ich denke nicht …

  2. Pingback: Welche Rechte hat das RIPE NCC an IP-Netzen? | blogdoch reloaded

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