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[ih] Who owns old RFCs ?

alex (and/or anyone else), some curiosities vis-a-vis the publicly
available IMP code:

any idea's how many eventual takers there were of the publicly available
IMP code?

did the publicly available IMP code also include the PDP-1 and/or Tenex
network management tools?

are you aware of any products (or networks) that resulted from the publicly
available IMP code?

would specifically be curious to know if the Larry Roberts commercial
Telenet (X.25) efforts benefited/used the publicly available IMP code?


On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 4:14 AM Alex McKenzie via Internet-history <
internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:

>  I am not a lawyer and I never read the early BBN contracts from ARPA.
> However, I was told by BBN management that documents produced by BBN
> employees under the ARPA contracts were in the public domain.  This
> included network maps, RFCs, conference papers, and so on.  As I recall we
> had to explicitly assert to the publishers of conference proceedings that
> papers we submitted could not be copyrighted.  Surely this also applies to
> any RFCs written by BBN employees.
> As a side note, BBN did not want to make the IMP code publicly available.
> The fear in the early days was that graduate students with access to IMPs
> might decide to tinker with the code.  A bit later, when some BBN employees
> started a company called Packet Communications Inc (PCI) to go into the
> public packet switching business they wanted to take the IMP code with
> them, and BBN (which was thinking about entering the public packet
> switching business itself) did not want to make it easy for PCI and
> refused.  PCI appealed to ARPA to declare that the code was in the public
> domain, and after a short struggle BBN consented to make the code available
> to PCI and anyone else who wanted it. [BBN provided the code on mag tape,
> and charged a $100 shipping and handling fee which was accepted as
> reasonable.]
> So I think ISOC can state that any RFCs produced by BBN before 1 April
> 1994 are in the public domain.
> Cheers,Alex McKenzie
>     On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 10:04:52 PM EDT, 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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Geoff.Goodfellow at iconia.com
living as The Truth is True