The IETF Trust’s Copyrights and Licenses

In 2006 the IETF Trust was created to hold and license the IETF’s copyrights and trademarks. This is a summary of the copyrights and copyright licenses that the Trust owns, and the licenses available to those materials.

IETF Contributions

Most of the material that the Trust owns consists of IETF Documents, primarily RFCs, and IETF Contributions, which includes Internet Drafts, mail to IETF mailing lists, and other materials contributed under the IETF “Note Well.” The Trust grants a broad set of licenses to IETF Documents and Contributions under the Trust Legal Provisions (TLP), which are available  at


Some software has been contributed to the IETF by volunteers, and some written for the IETF by contractors. All of this IETF software is licensed under the three-clause BSD license, often known as the Revised BSD License. This is the same license that the TLP provides for code components in IETF Documents, as described in section 4 of the TLP.

Material Created by the IETF

Some material has been created by the IETF itself, or by contractors working for the IETF. This includes such items as the IETF.ORG web site and the session videos recorded at IETF meetings.

For these works of the IETF, the trust grants a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, known as CC BY 4.0. This license allows anyone to copy and adapt the material so long as the IETF receives appropriate attribution. The details of the license are at

In some cases these IETF materials may be intermixed with IETF Contributions, as in the blog entries on the IETF web site, or with software as in the Datatracker. Contributions remain licensed under the TLP, and software under the three-clause BSD license.

Material assigned to the IETF

Some material has had its rights explicitly assigned to the IETF Trust, including some RFCs published before the TLP was established. The Internet Society and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives contributed their rights to RFCs at the time the Trust was created, and some authors have assigned their rights in early RFCs to the Trust. The Trust licenses these RFCs as IETF Documents under the same terms as RFCs published under the TLP.

There are also a few other items contributed to the IETF that have their own license terms. The Trust keeps a list of contributed material and licenses on its website at