HTTP/1.1 RFC copyright statement

Alex Rousskov rousskov at
Fri Sep 17 16:38:48 UTC 2004

On Fri, 17 Sep 2004, David Van Horn wrote:

> Alex Rousskov wrote:
>>     RFC 2616 is a protocol specification, a piece of documentation, not 
>> software. AFAICT, OSD does not apply to documentation. OSD scope is limited 
>> to software:
>>     *
>>     The distribution terms of open-source software must comply
>>     with the following criteria: ...
> And if it were applied to a specification that included a reference 
> implementation, would it conform to the OSD?

If RFC 2616 Copyright Statement is modified to refer to software, then 
it will most likely not pass OSD as it prohibits modification (or, at 
least, prohibits modification depending on the field of endeavor).

Technically, if you extract a piece of software from RFC 2616, then 
your ability to create derivative works seems to be limited to "works 
that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its 
implementation". The latter is pretty broad, but can be viewed as a 
"field of endeavor" restriction by OSI.

In practice, RFC 2616 does not contain significant pieces of code. I 
have seen a few RFCs with [re]usable code pieces (e.g., encryption 
algorithms), but those were covered by a special permissive license.

May I ask why you are interested in these seemingly theoretical 



Protocol performance, functionality, and reliability testing.
Tools, services, and know-how.

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