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[ih] Who owns old RFCs ?


I'm an author of some of these early RFCs, and as I recall, at some point I
was asked to assign copyrights for these to the Trust, which I did.


On Tue, Apr 21, 2020 at 10:04 PM John Levine via Internet-history <
internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:

> The IETF Trust, of which I am a current trustee, is finally getting
> around to updating its dusty old web site.
> I have to job of figuring out what we can say about rights in very old
> RFCs, which I realize is a longstanding can of worms.  Here's what I
> think I have figured out, corrections welcome.
> RFC 1602 said that all contributions after 1 April 1994 granted a
> copyright license to ISOC.  In October 1996, RFC 2026 made the grant
> of rights much clearer, and also specified a copyright notice to put
> on standards track RFCs, although first RFC with the notice wasn't
> until 2156 in 1998.
> In December 2005 the trust was set up, and the Article V of the trust
> agreement says that the grantors CNRI and ISOC contribute IPR to the
> trust.  Schedule A lists the IPR including:
>    All of its rights in, and copies of, each of the following
>    materials that is currently used (as of the Effective Date) in the
>    administrative, financial and/or other operation of the IETF: ...
>    current Internet Drafts and Request for Comments.
> I don't know what "current" means here but since I am an optimist I
> hope it means the rights they may have to all RFCs published up to
> that point rather than ones that were standards at the time.
> We have a Confirmatory Assignment of trademarks and service marks,
> nothing more for copyright licenses.
> The trust agreement sec 5.2 encourages other parties to contribute
> rights relevant to the IETF, which I assume means copyrights in older
> RFCs or I-D's or licenses to them.  I have found no documentation that
> anyone ever did, but it's possible there's something lurking in an old
> archive.
> There are a few early RFCs with specific copyright notices from MIT, U
> of Michigan and Dan Bernstein, and there's RFC 20 which is a photocopy
> of most of ANSI X3.4-1968 with nothing suggesting that ANSI's
> predecessor granted a license.
> I conclude that we have rights to RFCs published since 1 April 1994
> which would be 1605, 1606, 1607 (dated 1 April 1994) and everything
> since 1610, which was dated May 1994.  Earlier than that, find the
> authors if you can.
> Anything I've missed here?
> R's,
> John
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