New Issue: Distinguishing IETF docs from others

John C Klensin john-ietf at
Sun Aug 3 10:30:49 CEST 2003

The transaction below appeared last week on the IPR list.  Since
no one else has said anything, and in the interest of avoiding
the notion dropping through the cracks...

It is often difficult to distinguish, by reading the document,
whether an informational or experimental RFC is an individual
contribution or a document that has received some level of IETF
approval.  That is confusing to readers, may be confusing in
consideration about standards vis a vis which documents are
authoritative and which are not, and may be an  enabler of abuse.

<solution-pointer> The RFC Editor should be encouraged to
develop a way to make this distinction with different headers
(e.g., individual contribution are not identified with "network
working group") or different introductory boilerplate, or by
some other mechanism. </solution-pointer>


---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2003 23:26 -0400
From: Scott  Bradner <sob at>
To: ipr-wg at
Subject: -technology (actually thi stime) - ipr disclosure for
rfc ed docs

thomas sez:
> Note: We currently have no way of looking at an RFC and knowing
> whether it is the result of an IETF activity or not. But the
> current set of documents makes it clear that IPR disclosures
> apply to "IETF documents". It is less clear they apply to "RFC
> Editor Contributions". I.e., RFC Editor Contributions must
> first be submitted as IDs (at which point IPR must be
> disclosed), but once the RFC is published, there appears to be
> no such requirement anymore.  Seems like this leaves things
> underspecified.  Two practical points:
> 1) Is someone who gets an RFC published via the RFC Editor
>    Contribution route obligated to update the IETF (or anyone)
>    about IPR once their document is a published RFC? (AFAIK,
>    this is not clearly specified).
> 2) If known IPR is not required to be disclosed for RFCs in
> category 1, but is for IETF-produced RFCs, it seems like we
>    may need a way to identify which RFCs are IETF documents
>    and which are not. How is this intended to be done? (E.g.,
>    maybe all future IETF RFCs should have a line along the
>    lines "this document was produced by the IETF Foo Bar WG".)

I agree that this is the case (the reader does not know) and
maybe something should be added to the headers of IETF RFCs to
indicate  that they are IETF-generated not just for IPR
disclosure reasons  (because I would expect that the RFC Editor
rules will say that  such disclosure is required) but to reduce
confusion as to what  is an IETF document and what is someone's
pipe dream but that is  not something we can do in this WG since
the charter limits us to  clarifing the current rules not making
new ones.


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---------- End Forwarded Message ----------


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