Proposed license for IETF Contributions

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Tue Nov 22 01:23:07 GMT 2005

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at 
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of James Bailie
>Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 9:38 AM
>To: freebsd-questions at
>Subject: Re: Proposed license for IETF Contributions
>Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> >   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 
> > and therefore uncopyrightable.
>I'm not a lawyer, but I strongly believe under the Berne
>convention RFCs have copyright.  The technical details described
>in an RFC may be protected by other IP laws, such as patent law
>for example, if the originator chose to patent those details, but
>the text of the RFC document itself, describing those details, is
>an original composition which satisfies the terms of the
>convention.  The only means of rescinding copyright is for the
>copyright owner to explicitly place the work into the public

Which is what applying an IETF RFC license that designates the
ENTIRE rfc as a SPECIFICATION would do so!  Sheesh!

>Simon's proposed license seems reasonable to me. 

Except that it is untried in a court of law.  If the author of an RFC
simply designates the entire RFC as a specification, by using
the IETF license that states "this entire document is a specification"
then you have an easy way to play within the already established
international understandings of what a specification is.

Just because the GNU did it with their own license doesen't mean that
this is a good way to go.


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list