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Proposed new IETF license

The IETF lawyer has written a proposal for a new outbound license to
third parties for IETF documents (i.e., most RFCs and I-D).  We're
given one week to review it in a working group last call.  Most likely
there will be an IETF-wide last call later on too, but the chances of
modifying anything then will be smaller.

When reviewing the license, note that IETF works in a peculiar way
with regards to copying conditions -- the copyright stays with the
original author, but the author grants the IETF Trust many rights,
which in turn grants third parties some rights.

The entire document is available from:


The document updates RFC 3978, and the license below make explicit
references to sections 5 and 5.2 of RFC 3978:


There are two parts to review.  The first is where authors grant
rights to the IETF Trust:

      3.3.  Rights Granted by Contributors to IETF Trust

      To the extent that a Contribution or any portion thereof is
      protected by copyright or other rights of authorship, the
      Contributor, and each named co-Contributor, and the organization
      he or she represents or is sponsored by (if any) grant a
      perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, world-wide
      right and license to the IETF Trust under all such copyrights and
      other rights in the Contribution, provided that the IETF Trust
      shall have the right to sublicense these rights solely to the
      extent described in Section 3.7 and 3.8 below:

      (A)  to copy, publish, display, and distribute the Contribution,
         in whole or in part,

      (B)  to prepare translations of the Contribution into languages
         other than English, and to copy, publish, display, and
         distribute such translations or portions thereof,

      (C)  unless explicitly disallowed in the notices contained in a
         Contribution [as per Section 5.2 below], to modify or prepare
         derivative works (in addition to translations) that are based
         on or incorporate all or part of the Contribution, and to copy,
         publish, display, and distribute such derivative works, and

      (D)  to reproduce any trademarks, service marks or trade names
         which are included in the Contribution solely in connection
         with the reproduction, distribution or publication of the
         Contribution and derivative works thereof as permitted by this
         Section 3.3, provided that when reproducing Contributions,
         trademark and service mark identifiers used in the
         Contribution, including TM and (r) will be preserved.

      The licenses granted in this Section 3.3 shall not be deemed to
      grant any right under any patent, patent application or other
      similar intellectual property right disclosed by the Contributor
      under BCP 79 or otherwise.

The next part to review is the license granted from the IETF Trust to
third parties:

      3.8 Rights Granted by the IETF Trust to Third Parties

      The IETF Trust hereby grants to any person wishing to obtain such
      rights, to the greatest extent it is permitted to do so, the
      following perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free,
      world-wide rights and licenses under all copyrights and other
      rights of authors, which rights may be exercised within or outside
      the IETF Standards Process:

   (A)  to copy, publish, display, and distribute each IETF Document
      (including all Contributions and other portions thereof) in
      unmodified form,

   (B)  to prepare translations of IETF Documents (including all
      Contributions and other portions thereof) into languages other
      than English, and to copy, publish, display, and distribute such

   (C)  to extract, modify, incorporate into other works, copy, publish,
      display, and distribute executable code or code fragments that are
      included in any IETF Document (such as MIB and PIB modules),
      subject to the notification requirements of Section 5.

Giving past experience, it is not likely that we will be able to
influence the text in any significant detail.  Review should probably
focus on high-level issues which are serious.

My opinion is that the above license is not sufficient for RFC
documents to be distributed with Debian, but it is sufficient for code
fragments extracted from RFCs to be distributed with Debian.  If you
disagree with the last part (which is definitely possible -- I have
only reviewed the license myself for an hour or so), which is the most
important aspect right now, please motivate this carefully.


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