IETF: January 2009 Archives


January 14, 2009

As I mentioned earlier, the IETF managed to pass copyright terms that more or less precluded the preparation of revisions of any existing standard. Opinions differ about whether this was understood before it was passed, (see the comments on the linked post), but it seems clear that many IETFers didn't understand the implications of the new requirements when they were published. As far as I can tell, potential submissions fall into three categories:

  • Documents which contain all new text and which can be safely submitted.
  • Documents which contain at least some old text but the new contributors aren't paying attention and submit them anyway.
  • Documents which contain at least some old text and are being held because they can't be safely submitted.

In principle, there might be a fourth category: documents which contain old text but where the contributors have obtained licenses from all the copyright holders. Unfortunately, the form that the IETF meant to provide for this purpose is, uh, broken so you're kind of on your own, unless, that is, you can convince people to sign a blank signature page. I'm not aware of any documents that fall into this category, but maybe there are some. In any case, I know a number of authors who are holding back documents because they don't believe they can obtain the necessary rights.

The current state of play is that the IETF Trustees have proposed some new boilerplate that will go onto submissions that more or less disclaims the 5378 rights grants. Unfortunately, the current text is inadequate and it's not clear when new text will be posted, let alone approved. IETF San Francisco (March) may turn out to be pretty interesting.