There are some issues with the new IPR policies outlined in
RFC 5378 that I would like to bring to your attention. Please
read through the writeups that other folks have provided and
make your own judgement. Discussion of this should take place
on the IETF list and not here.
[mailto:owner-radiusext(_at_)ops(_dot_)ietf(_dot_)org] On Behalf Of Dave Nelson
Sent: 14 January, 2009 21:53
Subject: Copyright issues affecting current Internet-Drafts
The IETF Chair has requested that all Working Groups be
notified of an intellectual property rights / copyright
"brou-ha-ha" that is being currently discussed on the IETF
General Discussion List.
As I understand it, there is a minor defect in RFC 5378, the
document that currently governs rights in IETF submissions and
Specifically, this has to do with rights for derivative works
outside of the IETF standards process.
There is also ongoing discussion of a workaround for this
problem. If you are interested, please consult the IETF
General Discussion mailing list archives. Any discussion of
the issue should occur on that list.
One potential impact to the Working Groups is that revised
boilerplate text is likely to be required for submission of
I-Ds. That revised text is expected to be in place well
before the I-D submission cut-off date prior to IETF-74.
There may be some confusion during the transition, however.
A second potential impact is that any material that has been
derived from a document published prior to the effective date
RFC 5378 (November 11, 2008) may require special restrictions
to be listed in the boilerplate, as to rights for derivative
works outside the IETF standards process.
The "fair use doctrine" would seem to apply to small sections
of properly quoted and cited text from older documents. The
issue arises with any modifications to such text. We have
seen such re-use of modified text proposed in recent WG list
discussions on open RADEXT Issues.
All I-D authors need to be generally aware of this issue, and
anyone wishing to include substantial sections of text or any
sections of modified text from a "pre-5378" document need to
be particular aware. It does not appear that this issue will
impact our work, if we pay attention to the details.
Following is the details of the issue, as summarized in an
announcement from the Trustees of the IETF Trust (the agency
that holds IETF IPR).
The purpose of this message is twofold:
1) To summarize the issues that some members of our community
have experienced since the publication of RFC 5378 in
2) To invite community review and discussion on a potential
being considered by the IETF Trustees.
Some I-D authors are having difficulty implementing RFC 5378.
An example of the difficulty is as follows:
- an author wants to include pre-5378 content in a new submission
or contribution to the IETF, but
- s/he is not certain that all of the author(s) of the earlier
material have agreed to license it to the IETF Trust according
to RFC 5378.
If an I-D author includes pre-5378 material in a new document,
then s/he must represent or warrant that all of the authors
who created the
pre-5378 material have granted rights for that material to the
If s/he cannot make this assertion, then s/he has a problem.
This situation has halted the progression of some
Internet-Drafts and interrupted the publication of some RFCs.
The Trustees of the IETF Trust are investigating ways to
implement a temporary work-around so that IETF work can
continue to progress. A permanent solution to this "pre-5378
problem" may require an update to RFC 5378, for example new
work by the community to create a 5378-bis document.
The remainder of this message provides an outline of the
temporary work- around being considered by the Trustees.
RFC 5378 sections 1.j and 5.3.c provide the IETF Trust with
the authority to develop legend text for authors to use in
situations where they wish to limit the granting of rights to
modify and prepare derivatives of the documents they submit.
The Trustees used this authority in 2008 to develop and adopt
the current "Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents"
which are posted at:
The Trustees are now considering the creation of optional new
legend text which could be used by authors experiencing the
The new legend text, if implemented, would do the following:
a. Provide Authors and Contributors with a way to identify (to the
IETF Trust) that their contributions contain material
documents for which RFC 5378 rights to modify the material outside
the IETF standards process may not have been granted, and
b. Provide the IETF Trust and the community with a clear indication
of every document containing pre-5378 content and having the
So, how could the creation and use of some new legend text
help people work-around the pre-5378 problem?
The proposed answer is as follows:
1. Anyone having a contribution with the "pre-5378" problem
new legend text to the contribution, to clearly flag that
pre-5378 material for which all of the rights needed
under RFC 5378
may not have been granted, and
2. The IETF Trust will consider authors and contributors (with the
pre-5378 problem) to have met their RFC 5378 obligations if the
new legend text appears on their documents, and
3. Authors and contributors should only resort to adding the new
legend text to their documents (per #1) if they cannot develop
certainty that all of the author(s) of pre-5378 material in
their documents have agreed to license the pre-5378 content to
the IETF Trust according to RFC 5378.
The proposed wording for the new legend text is now available
for your review and comments in section 6.c.iii of a draft
revision to the IETF Trust's "Legal Provisions Relating to
IETF Documents" located at
Please note that the above document also contains new text in
section 5.c dealing with "License Limitations".
If your review and feedback on this proposed work-around is
positive, then the new text may be adopted by the Trustees in
early February 2009, and then be published as an official
revision to the Legal Provisions document. If so adopted,
Internet-Drafts with pre-5378 material may advance within the
Internet standards process and get published as RFCs where
otherwise qualified to do so. Unless covered by sections
6.c.i or 6.c.ii, authors of documents in which there is no
pre-5378 material must provide a RFC 5378 license with no
limitation on modifications outside the IETF standards process.
The IETF Trust will not grant the right to modify or prepare
derivative works of any specific RFC or other IETF
Contribution outside the IETF standards process until RFC 5378
rights pertaining to that document have been obtained from all
authors and after compliance by the IETF Trust with RFC 5377.
The Trustees will establish one or more mechanisms by which
authors of pre-5378 documents may grant RFC 5378 rights.
The Trustees hereby invite your review, comments and
suggestions on this proposed work-around to the "pre-5378
problem". The period for this review is 30 days. Microsoft
WORD and PDF versions of the proposed revisions are attached
to this message. Copies are also available on the IETF Trust
website under the heading "DRAFT Policy and Procedures Being
All feedback submitted before the end of February 7th will be
considered by the Trustees. A decision on whether to move
forward with this proposal will be made and communicated to
you before the end of February 15th.
Please give this your attention.
Regards and Happy New Year !
Ed Juskevicius, on behalf of the IETF Trustees edj.etc at gmail.com
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