Proposed license for IETF Contributions

Simon Josefsson jas at
Mon Nov 21 17:28:13 GMT 2005

"Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm at> writes:

> Hi Simon,
>   You might check this but I believe that the Copyright convention
> specifically
> excepts "specifications" from copyright coverage.  I think there's some
> other
> classes of original work that fall under this.  How about simply
> rewriting the
> ITEF license to designate any RFC as the complete RFC is a specification,
> and therefore uncopyrightable.

Hi Ted.  I have not seen anyone suggest this before, and I strongly
doubt that anything as complex as a specification would be excepted
from copyright coverage.  All specifications I have read have been

Perhaps you are thinking of US Governmental works?  They are not
copyrighted in the same way other works are.

Please provide me with a reference for this.


> Ted
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Simon Josefsson
>>Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 7:28 AM
>>To: freebsd-questions at
>>Subject: Proposed license for IETF Contributions
>>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.
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