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[ih] Who owns old RFCs ?

I believe the answer to the question in the subject is rather easy: humanity.

> On 2020-04-22, at 06:15, John Gilmore via Internet-history <internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:
> It's unclear what the question means: "Who owns a document that
> explicitly allows unlimited distribution for any purpose".  Normally
> the "owner" is the copyright owner, the one who can sue people who
> violate the document's conditions on copying. 

Equating ?owner? with ?copyright holder? only works if you subscribe to the fiction of ?intellectual property?.

Now, if the question really was ?who is the holder of the copyright to old RFCs?, that of course is modulated by the question ?is there copyright in old RFCs?.  Answering this question is only possible in a specific jurisdiction.  I?m pretty sure that many of the early RFCs would not have made the ?threshold of originality? (Sch?pfungsh?he) that was common sense in the 1960s, 1970s, and at least the early 1980s; I remember having long discussions about this in the early 1980s with copyright lawyers who had just started to appropriate copyright law for generating interest in technical artifacts.
Of course, finding the documents to be in a grey area of copyright (Urheberrecht, droit d?auteur, ?) may be even worse for the owner (humanity) than a well-defined copyright holder that has no interest in creating legal proceedings.  The area may already be grey for works published before 1978-01-01 in the US.

Gr??e, Carsten

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_of_originality