Trust response to appeal

A mail archive version of this response is available here.

Subject: IETF Trust response to the appeal by John C Klensin

Date: Thursday, September 3 11:00 AM EDT 2009

The Trustees of the IETF Trust have reviewed the appeal from John C. Klensin dated July 18, 2009 (see the mail archive for full text of the appeal) and subsequent email discussions, with the following results.

First, the Trustees have prepared and circulated the “Trust Policy & Procedures” for community review. The draft document was sent to the IETF and other mail lists on 17 August 2009 with a subject of “Proposed Policy for Modifications to Trust Legal Provisions (TLP)” and is available at The Trustees prepared this set of procedure to ensure transparency. The procedures have been circulated to ensure that they are actually in line with community expectations. From the ongoing discussion it is clear to the Trust that the document as published does not capture the fine distinctions between policy (as set by the community) and procedures (as proposed by the Trust and reviewed by the community). When the community discussion is complete, the resulting document will be announced and posted on the IETF Trust web page.

Second, the Trustees have obtained professional assistance for scribing and, while the Trustees are still looking for volunteer scribes, the Trustees will continue to use professional assistance for as long as is necessary. With this help, the Trustees have posted all Minutes for 2008 and 7 out of 10 Minutes for 2009. The remaining Minutes are in the process of preparation and review and should be posted in September. We have heard your later message on the sparseness of some of the descriptions and will try to improve the content to be more descriptive on what transpired.

Third, the Trustees were proactive. In the draft TLP the Trustees put forward a way that the IETF Trust could accommodate documents from the non-IETF streams. The community review of this proposal was overwhelmingly negative. This request for review was submitted prior to any conclusion or consensus of that discussion being announced. It is clear that the community does not want the Trustees to be proactive in this manner. Therefore the Trustees will not take any action regarding these streams until the Trustees are formally are asked to do so, most likely by the publication of an RFC in the relevant stream.

The Trustees expect such requests will be posted an Internet-Drafts prior to publication as an RFC. The Trustees are legally committed to follow the Trust Agreement (see, and, to avoid a request to take any action that conflicts with the Trust Agreement, the Trustees will provide comments on these Internet-Drafts regarding their compatibility or conflict with the Trust Agreement. While the Trustees do not anticipate a problem, the Trustees must be the final authority in determining whether a requested action is in conflict with the Trust Agreement, and the Trustees must reject any request that does so. In the unlikely event that such a request is published in an RFC, the Trustees will explain the rationale for rejection, and the Trustees will work with the affected community to reach an agreeable solution.

Fourth, the Trustees believe that the Trust Agreement has sufficient scope to allow support of the non-IETF streams, and this is supported by advice of the Trust’s counsel. Section 2.1 of the Trust Agreement describe the purpose of the IETF Trust:

2.1 Purpose. The purposes for which the Trust is organized and operated are to engage exclusively in such charitable, educational, and scientific activities as may qualify it for exemption from federal income tax under Section 501(c-3) of the Code (as defined below). Such purposes include, but are not limited to, the advancement of education and public interest by acquiring, holding, maintaining and licensing certain existing and future intellectual property and other property used in connection with the Internet standards process and its administration, for the advancement of the science and technology associated with the Internet and related technology.

Fifth, the Trustees are abiding by the provisions of BCP 101. The Trustees are fully in agreement with this requirement for openness, transparency, and accountability, and are making a conscious effort to increase their reporting and community interaction.

The Trustees thank John C. Klensin for bringing these issues to our attention, and the Trustees hope that this response resolves all of his concerns.