The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) asked Canada’s Government to require ISPs and other large companies to maintain a Whois database of IP-addresses and numbers. The database, which is already in place, covers recipients of large blocks of IP-numbers (companies, universities, competent authorities), not individuals.
These numbers are not directly allocated to individual end-users. They typically go to large companies including Google and Amazon, Internet registrars, as well as ISPs. Until recently, this Whois database was kept in place by ARIN through a “carrot” and “stick” approach. Companies would regularly come back to request new IP-addresses (carrot), and ARIN would only allocate this if the Whois database was properly maintained (stick).
In a letter sent to the Canadian Government as part of the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act, ARIN stresses that the Whois database is an important copyright enforcement tool.
“When copyright infringing material or other illicit content is found online, Whois is often the first point of investigation of the source,” ARIN writes.
“Law enforcement agencies and private parties with a legal interest can access the Whois database either in accordance with the registrar’s policies, or under judicial order.”
ARIN fears that without a proper Whois database, it would be harder to investigate and stop copyright infringement, as well as other illegal activity.
Kateryna Fedrova, Head, Clear Sky Initiative, Ukraine’s non-governmental antipiracy association says: “The world is facing a challenge now: which limitations are to be imposed to protect copyrights. Working algorithms aimed at defeating illegal activities emerge due to contribution made by the ecosystem’s different players, their joint efforts. And the use of Whois database is one of them. It is crucial for the participants in the relevant process to refrain from assisting in the commission of the offence thus proceeding – to the utmost – with their voluntary activities aimed at making the said algorithms operative.”
A few experts feel perplexed by the approach and namely fragmenting these kinds of policies on a country-to-country basis, i.e. Canada in the case. They are of the opinion that copyrights infringement and Whois are global issues.
Copyright holders in the United States and other countries will likely welcome the proposal though. For them, Whois data has been a hot topic over the past several months.
It is not for the first time that registrants contribute to fighting piracy. It was in 2015 that ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) proposed banning commercial sites from using privacy service and hiding their personal data in Whois database. The idea was widely supported by groups of right holders, MPAA including, which viewed this proposal as a tool for prosecuting illegal sites’ operators.
“Ensuring this data is accurate is important not only to the MPAA and our members, but also to everyone who uses the Internet every day.” Claimed Alex Deacon , representing MPAA.
As of 2018 ICANN, however, introduced a temporary provision restricting access to personal data in Whois which caused disapproval on the part of right holders and MPAA in particular. According to MPAA a wider access to personal data would be beneficial for the public at large; besides, the association claims that available should be the “common” information traditionally used in communications with counter agents.
Source – TorrentFreak