Contributions (Re: Proposed New Note Well)

Harald Alvestrand <> Tue, 05 January 2016 10:00 UTC

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Subject: Contributions (Re: Proposed New Note Well)
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From: Harald Alvestrand <>
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A subject that was heavily promoted in the old Note Well and not at all
covered in the new one is the nature of "contribution".

RFC 3979 section 1 has this text, which I believe actually came from
earlier "note well" versions:

   c. "IETF Contribution": any submission to the IETF intended by the
      Contributor for publication as all or part of an Internet-Draft or
      RFC (except for RFC Editor Contributions described below) and any
      statement made within the context of an IETF activity.  Such
      statements include oral statements in IETF sessions, as well as
      written and electronic communications made at any time or place,
      which are addressed to:

      o  the IETF plenary session,
      o  any IETF working group or portion thereof,
      o  the IESG, or any member thereof on behalf of the IESG,
      o  any IETF mailing list, including the IETF list itself, any
         working group or design team list, or any other list
         functioning under IETF auspices,
      o  the RFC Editor or the Internet-Drafts function (except for RFC
         Editor Contributions described below).

      Statements made outside of an IETF session, mailing list or other
      function, that are clearly not intended to be input to an IETF
      activity, group or function, are not IETF Contributions in the
      context of this document.

People keep being surprised by this - they imagine that they don't have
disclosure obligations in stuff they mentioned on the mike or in a
presentation but wasn't in their draft (they have), or think that
something someone else said at the bar is public information just
because the bar was at an IETF venue (it isn't), or that they can keep
something from triggering licensing obligations by buttonholing the AD
after the meeting (they can't).

Given that this is such a source of misunderstandings, going from laying
out the details to not mentioning the dividing line at all seems like a
larger leap than we should do.

On 01/04/2016 04:41 PM, IESG Secretary wrote:
> The IESG and the IAOC legal team have worked together to propose a new version for the note well that is used in various IETF activities. The intent is to make the note well shorter and more readable, and point more clearly to the full documentation of the various rules.
> The current note well is available at and the proposed new one is below.
> The IESG will make a decision about this matter shortly. Please provide comments, if any, to or to the IESG at before January 30, 2016.
> ———
> Note Well
> This summary does not contain all the details and is only meant to point you in the right direction. Exceptions may apply. The IETF's patent policy and the definition of an IETF "contribution" are set forth in BCP 79; please read it carefully.
> The brief summary:
> • By participating with the IETF, you agree to follow IETF processes and policies.
> • If you are aware that any contribution to the IETF is covered by patents or patent applications that are owned by, controlled by, or would benefit you or your sponsor, you must disclose that fact, or not participate in the discussion.
> • As a participant in any IETF activity you acknowledge that written, audio and video records of meetings may be made and may be available to the public, and that recordings of you or your likeness, voice and conduct at the recorded event may be displayed, transmitted, copied, used and promoted in electronic and physical media accessible throughout the world.
> • Personal information that you provide to IETF will be handled in accordance with the IETF Privacy Statement set.
> For further information, talk to a chair, ask an Area Director, or review the following:
> ​
> BCP 9 (on the Internet Standards Process)
> ​BCP 25 (on the Working Group processes)
> ​BCP 78 (on copyright in IETF documents)
> ​BCP 79 (on patents covering IETF documents)
> TBD (on IETF Privacy Statement)

Surveillance is pervasive. Go Dark.