1 November 2006

This page summarizes the current rules governing RFC copyrights and dislaimers on patent ("Intellectual Property") rights.

It is coordinated with the IETF documents "IETF Rights in Contributions", BCP 78/RFC 3978, "RFC 3978 Update to Recognize the IETF Trust", BCP 78/RFC 4748, and "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology", BCP 79/RFC 3979. These documents are the result of a recent effort by the IPR Working Group of the IETF working group of the IETF, replacing earlier versions BCP 78/RFC 3667 and BCP 79/RFC 3668.

A text version of this page is available from:

Earlier Copyright pages:

BCP 78 (RFC 3978) specifies the copyright rules applicable to RFCs, aligning these rules with modern copyright law. The rules are generally intended to safeguard the integrity, future availability, and usefulness of published RFCs but continue the historical policy of free and open distribution and reuse of RFCs, to the extent possible.

BCP 78 (RFC 4748) transfers ownership to the IETF Trust.

As explained in BCP 78, there are two classes of RFCs: IETF submissions and RFC Editor ("independent") submissions. The rules for copyrights on IETF submissions are fully defined in BCP 78, but some aspects of these rules are left for the RFC Editor to define for independent submissions. There is really only one essential difference: the freedom to create derivative works; see below.


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Last modified 19Sep07.