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Re: Proposed new IETF license

"Simon Josefsson" <jas@extundo.com> wrote in message [🔎] 8764hg7ke1.fsf@latte.josefsson.org">news:[🔎] 8764hg7ke1.fsf@latte.josefsson.org...
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.

This is only slightly better than the current version.
Why did not not choose the text you suggested?
That was far better.

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