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[ih] Who owns old RFCs ?
IIRC, X.25 was primarily a specification of the interface between a
computer and the network switch.?? It didn't say anything about
algorithms and mechanisms used within the network switches, e.g., for
routing, flow control, error control, buffer management, software
maintenance, etc.? IMHO, that would likely have been the most valuable
technology for someone getting the code.??
When BBN started selling X.25 packet switches, it essentially took the
existing ARPANET IMP code and added the X.25 host interface hardware and
software - much like other companies might have done after receiving a
copy of the software.
In my time at BBN (1977-1990), in the part of the company responsible
for ARPANET, I recall only two or three times that the IMP code was sent
somewhere.? Can't remember where though.?
In at least one case, the scuttlebutt was that the code did get sent out
as required by the contract, but only after all white-space, comments,
and formatting was stripped out (TECO was/is good at such stuff), so
that the delivered code was still acceptable to the assembler, but
really unpalatable for human consumption.
I don't think that any of the "tools" were shipped out.? Most likely
they were not contract deliverables, but rather were considered an
ancillary part of the work involved in "operations and maintenance" of
the ARPANET (which was a DCA contract rather than ARPA; at some point,
in the 70s IIRC, ARPA turned over the ARPANET to DCA and it stopped
being a DARPA research project).
I managed a lot of ARPA and other government contracts through the 80s
at BBN.? IIRC, for many of them the Terms and Conditions stated that the
work product (code, papers, etc.) could be used by the government for
any government purpose, as well as by BBN for any BBN purpose.?? It was
of course much wordier than that.
The lawyer-types said that meant that such deliverable were therefore
not public domain unless the government took the appropriate steps to
put it there as a "government purpose".?? I think that's why you'll see
in a lot of material available from DTIC a stamp on the cover that says
something like "Approved For Public Release".?? It may also explain why
many old reports are not available in DTIC, if no one in the government
ever took the steps to get that stamp on the report.
I'm not sure how that applies to RFCs, which AFAIK are not in DTIC but
are readily available elsewhere.? My suggestion would be to try to find
the old SRI-NIC contract and see what it says about documents in regard
to public domain.? There may, for example, be some verbiage that made
all documents sent to the NIC automatically granted "Public Release" status.
/Jack Haverty (who actually had to read a lot of that fine print and
On 4/22/20 11:17 AM, Vint Cerf via Internet-history wrote:
> Telenet developed X.25 standards in CCITT with Canada, UK and France - no
> IMP code involved.
> On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 2:02 PM the keyboard of geoff goodfellow via
> Internet-history <internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:
>> 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
>>> had to explicitly assert to the publishers of conference proceedings that
>>> papers we submitted could not be copyrighted. Surely this also applies
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> 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?
>>> Internet-history mailing list
>>> Internet-history at elists.isoc.org
>>> Internet-history mailing list
>>> Internet-history at elists.isoc.org
>> Geoff.Goodfellow at iconia.com
>> living as The Truth is True
>> Internet-history mailing list
>> Internet-history at elists.isoc.org