WHOIS Response to include Terms of Use

Posted: Tue, 20 Oct 2009

Beginning early January 2010, ARIN will be adding text to all WHOIS responses to reference a new WHOIS Terms of Use. Historically, users of ARIN's WHOIS Service understood that its purpose was to identify the responsible contact for network administration or abuse issues for registered Number Resources. WHOIS data is increasingly being using to initiate non-technical contact of ARIN Points of Contact and is the source for cold-call sales pitches and other undesired contacts, sometimes by innocent parties who do not understand the origin of the contact information they've been provided. Recipients of ARIN's WHOIS data in bulk format are already subject to an Acceptable Use Policy.

ARIN is adding a Terms of Use for individual WHOIS responses in order to inform users of its intended purpose and to authorize action in the event of its abuse.

The additional text will be comprised of three lines at the end of the response. The new text will state the applicability of the terms and specify the URL where the full Terms of Use can be found. The new text will be prefixed with a hash symbol ("#"), which is the character already in use by the ARIN WHOIS to distinguish footnote information. A sample of the new output follows.

OrgName:    Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
OrgID:      IANA
# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2009-10-15 20:00

# Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.
# ARIN WHOIS data and services are subject to the Terms of Use

# available at: https://www.arin.net/whois_tou.html

This format is consistent with the approach taken by APNIC, LACNIC and RIPE NCC, all of which include a reference to the terms applicable to the data in their WHOIS response.

The new WHOIS Terms of Use specify:

The ARIN WHOIS data is for Internet operational or technical research purposes pertaining to Internet operations only. You may not use, allow to use, or otherwise facilitate the use of ARIN WHOIS data for advertising, direct marketing, marketing research, or similar purposes. These Terms of Use are applicable to any compilation, repackaging, dissemination or other use of ARIN WHOIS data. If you fail to abide by these Terms, ARIN reserves the right to take reasonable and appropriate action, which may include, without limitation, restricting or terminating your access to WHOIS or other ARIN Services.

You understand and agree that ARIN will treat your use of WHOIS as acceptance of these Terms. ARIN reserves the right to modify these Terms at any time. You should check back periodically for updates.

Another announcement will be made in early January 2010 just preceding the implementation of this change.

Warm Regards,

John Curran