Proposed license for IETF Contributions

Simon Josefsson jas at
Fri Nov 18 15:27:53 GMT 2005

Hi all.  I noticed the following in the release notes for 6.0:

   The following manual pages, which were derived from RFCs and
   possibly violate the IETF's copyrights, have been replaced:
   gai_strerror(3), getaddrinfo(3), getnameinfo(3), inet6_opt_init(3),
   inet6_option_space(3), inet6_rth_space(3), inet6_rthdr_space(3),
   icmp6(4), and ip6(4). [MERGED]

I'm working on a proposed update for the copying conditions (i.e., the
copyright license) used on IETF Contributions.  One goal is to make
the license more aligned with open source and free software
requirements.  More background at <>.

I'd like the FreeBSD community input on a whether a my proposed
license would have avoided the above situation, and similar situations
in the future.

The issue is whether the RFC 3978 license permit using RFC excerpts in
source code or documentation (man pages in your case) that is licensed
under a free software license.  I believe RFC 3978 do not permit this,
and judging from your release notes, it seems you share that view.

Anyway.  Here is my proposed license:

    c.  The Contributor grants third parties the irrevocable
        right to copy, use and distribute the Contribution, with
        or without modification, in any medium, without royalty,
        provided that redistributed modified works do not contain
        misleading author or version information.  This
        specifically imply, for instance, that redistributed
        modified works must remove any references to endorsement
        by the IETF, IESG, IANA, IAB, ISOC, RFC Editor, and
        similar organizations and remove any claims of status as
        Internet Standard, e.g., by removing the RFC boilerplate.
        The IETF requests that any citation or excerpt of
        unmodified text reference the RFC or other document from
        which the text is derived.

Comments?  Suggestions?

RFC excerpts are sometimes used in source code too, so the above
scenario with the man pages may not be a isolated accident.  I looked
at Apache, Samba, OpenSSL and some other packages, and they all cite
RFCs in various places.  That usage may also be problematic, but I'm
not sure.


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list