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Network Working Group S. Bradner Request for Comments: 2026 Harvard University BCP: 9 October 1996 Obsoletes: 1602 Category: Best Current Practice

            The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3

Status of this Memo

 This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
 Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
 improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


 This memo documents the process used by the Internet community for
 the standardization of protocols and procedures.  It defines the
 stages in the standardization process, the requirements for moving a
 document between stages and the types of documents used during this
 process.  It also addresses the intellectual property rights and
 copyright issues associated with the standards process.

Table of Contents

 1.  INTRODUCTION....................................................2
   1.1  Internet Standards...........................................3
   1.2  The Internet Standards Process...............................3
   1.3  Organization of This Document................................5
   2.1  Requests for Comments (RFCs).................................5
   2.2  Internet-Drafts..............................................7
 3.  INTERNET STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS................................8
   3.1  Technical Specification (TS).................................8
   3.2  Applicability Statement (AS).................................8
   3.3  Requirement Levels...........................................9
 4.  THE INTERNET STANDARDS TRACK...................................10
   4.1  Standards Track Maturity Levels.............................11
     4.1.1  Proposed Standard.......................................11
     4.1.2  Draft Standard..........................................12
     4.1.3  Internet Standard.......................................13
   4.2  Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels.........................13
     4.2.1  Experimental............................................13
     4.2.2  Informational...........................................14
     4.2.3  Procedures for Experimental and Informational RFCs......14
     4.2.4  Historic................................................15

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 1] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 5.  Best Current Practice (BCP) RFCs...............................15
   5.1  BCP Review Process..........................................16
 6.  THE INTERNET STANDARDS PROCESS.................................17
   6.1  Standards Actions...........................................17
     6.1.1  Initiation of Action....................................17
     6.1.2  IESG Review and Approval................................17
     6.1.3  Publication.............................................18
   6.2  Advancing in the Standards Track............................19
   6.3  Revising a Standard.........................................20
   6.4  Retiring a Standard.........................................20
   6.5  Conflict Resolution and Appeals.............................21
     6.5.1 Working Group Disputes...................................21
     6.5.2 Process Failures.........................................22
     6.5.3 Questions of Applicable Procedure........................22
     6.5.4 Appeals Procedure........................................23
 7.  EXTERNAL STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS..........................23
   7.1  Use of External Specifications..............................24
     7.1.1  Incorporation of an Open Standard.......................24
     7.1.2  Incorporation of a Other Specifications.................24
     7.1.3  Assumption..............................................25
 8. NOTICES AND RECORD KEEPING......................................25
 9. VARYING THE PROCESS.............................................26
   9.1 The Variance Procedure.......................................26
   9.2 Exclusions...................................................27
 10.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS..................................27
   10.1.  General Policy............................................27
   10.2   Confidentiality Obligations...............................28
   10.3.  Rights and Permissions....................................28
     10.3.1. All Contributions......................................28
     10.3.2. Standards Track Documents..............................29
     10.3.3  Determination of Reasonable and
            Non-discriminatory Terms................................30
   10.4.  Notices...................................................30
 11. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS................................................32
 12. SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS........................................32
 13. REFERENCES.....................................................33
 14. DEFINITIONS OF TERMS...........................................33
 15. AUTHOR'S ADDRESS...............................................34
 APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS...................................35

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 2] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996


 This memo documents the process currently used by the Internet
 community for the standardization of protocols and procedures.  The
 Internet Standards process is an activity of the Internet Society
 that is organized and managed on behalf of the Internet community by
 the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering
 Steering Group (IESG).

1.1 Internet Standards

 The Internet, a loosely-organized international collaboration of
 autonomous, interconnected networks, supports host-to-host
 communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and
 procedures defined by Internet Standards.  There are also many
 isolated interconnected networks, which are not connected to the
 global Internet but use the Internet Standards.
 The Internet Standards Process described in this document is
 concerned with all protocols, procedures, and conventions that are
 used in or by the Internet, whether or not they are part of the
 TCP/IP protocol suite.  In the case of protocols developed and/or
 standardized by non-Internet organizations, however, the Internet
 Standards Process normally applies to the application of the protocol
 or procedure in the Internet context, not to the specification of the
 protocol itself.
 In general, an Internet Standard is a specification that is stable
 and well-understood, is technically competent, has multiple,
 independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial
 operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is
 recognizably useful in some or all parts of the Internet.

1.2 The Internet Standards Process

 In outline, the process of creating an Internet Standard is
 straightforward:  a specification undergoes a period of development
 and several iterations of review by the Internet community and
 revision based upon experience, is adopted as a Standard by the
 appropriate body (see below), and is published.  In practice, the
 process is more complicated, due to (1) the difficulty of creating
 specifications of high technical quality;  (2) the need to consider
 the interests of all of the affected parties;  (3) the importance of
 establishing widespread community consensus;  and (4) the difficulty
 of evaluating the utility of a particular specification for the
 Internet community.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 3] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 The goals of the Internet Standards Process are:
 o  technical excellence;
 o  prior implementation and testing;
 o  clear, concise, and easily understood documentation;
 o  openness and fairness;  and
 o  timeliness.
 The procedures described in this document are designed to be fair,
 open, and objective;  to reflect existing (proven) practice;  and to
 be flexible.
 o  These procedures are intended to provide a fair, open, and
    objective basis for developing, evaluating, and adopting Internet
    Standards.  They provide ample opportunity for participation and
    comment by all interested parties.  At each stage of the
    standardization process, a specification is repeatedly discussed
    and its merits debated in open meetings and/or public electronic
    mailing lists, and it is made available for review via world-wide
    on-line directories.
 o  These procedures are explicitly aimed at recognizing and adopting
    generally-accepted practices.  Thus, a candidate specification
    must be implemented and tested for correct operation and
    interoperability by multiple independent parties and utilized in
    increasingly demanding environments, before it can be adopted as
    an Internet Standard.
 o  These procedures provide a great deal of flexibility to adapt to
    the wide variety of circumstances that occur in the
    standardization process.  Experience has shown this flexibility to
    be vital in achieving the goals listed above.
 The goal of technical competence, the requirement for prior
 implementation and testing, and the need to allow all interested
 parties to comment all require significant time and effort.  On the
 other hand, today's rapid development of networking technology
 demands timely development of standards.  The Internet Standards
 Process is intended to balance these conflicting goals.  The process
 is believed to be as short and simple as possible without sacrificing
 technical excellence, thorough testing before adoption of a standard,
 or openness and fairness.
 From its inception, the Internet has been, and is expected to remain,
 an evolving system whose participants regularly factor new
 requirements and technology into its design and implementation. Users
 of the Internet and providers of the equipment, software, and
 services that support it should anticipate and embrace this evolution
 as a major tenet of Internet philosophy.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 4] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 The procedures described in this document are the result of a number
 of years of evolution, driven both by the needs of the growing and
 increasingly diverse Internet community, and by experience.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 5] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

1.3 Organization of This Document

 Section 2 describes the publications and archives of the Internet
 Standards Process.  Section 3 describes the types of Internet
 standard specifications.  Section 4 describes the Internet standards
 specifications track.  Section 5 describes Best Current Practice
 RFCs.  Section 6 describes the process and rules for Internet
 standardization.  Section 7 specifies the way in which externally-
 sponsored specifications and practices, developed and controlled by
 other standards bodies or by others, are handled within the Internet
 Standards Process.  Section 8 describes the requirements for notices
 and record keeping  Section 9 defines a variance process to allow
 one-time exceptions to some of the requirements in this document
 Section 10 presents the rules that are required to protect
 intellectual property rights in the context of the development and
 use of Internet Standards.  Section 11 includes acknowledgments of
 some of the people involved in creation of this document.  Section 12
 notes that security issues are not dealt with by this document.
 Section 13 contains a list of numbered references.  Section 14
 contains definitions of some of the terms used in this document.
 Section 15 lists the author's email and postal addresses.  Appendix A
 contains a list of frequently-used acronyms.


2.1 Requests for Comments (RFCs)

 Each distinct version of an Internet standards-related specification
 is published as part of the "Request for Comments" (RFC) document
 series.  This archival series is the official publication channel for
 Internet standards documents and other publications of the IESG, IAB,
 and Internet community.  RFCs can be obtained from a number of
 Internet hosts using anonymous FTP, gopher, World Wide Web, and other
 Internet document-retrieval systems.
 The RFC series of documents on networking began in 1969 as part of
 the original ARPA wide-area networking (ARPANET) project (see
 Appendix A for glossary of acronyms).  RFCs cover a wide range of
 topics in addition to Internet Standards, from early discussion of
 new research concepts to status memos about the Internet.  RFC
 publication is the direct responsibility of the RFC Editor, under the
 general direction of the IAB.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 6] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 The rules for formatting and submitting an RFC are defined in [5].
 Every RFC is available in ASCII text.  Some RFCs are also available
 in other formats.  The other versions of an RFC may contain material
 (such as diagrams and figures) that is not present in the ASCII
 version, and it may be formatted differently.
  • *
  • A stricter requirement applies to standards-track *
  • specifications: the ASCII text version is the *
  • definitive reference, and therefore it must be a *
  • complete and accurate specification of the standard, *
  • including all necessary diagrams and illustrations. *
  • *
 The status of Internet protocol and service specifications is
 summarized periodically in an RFC entitled "Internet Official
 Protocol Standards" [1].  This RFC shows the level of maturity and
 other helpful information for each Internet protocol or service
 specification (see section 3).
 Some RFCs document Internet Standards.  These RFCs form the 'STD'
 subseries of the RFC series [4].  When a specification has been
 adopted as an Internet Standard, it is given the additional label
 "STDxxx", but it keeps its RFC number and its place in the RFC
 series. (see section 4.1.3)
 Some RFCs standardize the results of community deliberations about
 statements of principle or conclusions about what is the best way to
 perform some operations or IETF process function.  These RFCs form
 the specification has been adopted as a BCP, it is given the
 additional label "BCPxxx", but it keeps its RFC number and its place
 in the RFC series. (see section 5)
 Not all specifications of protocols or services for the Internet
 should or will become Internet Standards or BCPs.  Such non-standards
 track specifications are not subject to the rules for Internet
 standardization.  Non-standards track specifications may be published
 directly as "Experimental" or "Informational" RFCs at the discretion
 of the RFC Editor in consultation with the IESG (see section 4.2).

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 7] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

  • * * * * It is important to remember that not all RFCs * * are standards track documents, and that not all * * standards track documents reach the level of * * Internet Standard. In the same way, not all RFCs * * which describe current practices have been given * * the review and approval to become BCPs. See * * RFC-1796 [6] for further information. * * * 2.2 Internet-Drafts During the development of a specification, draft versions of the document are made available for informal review and comment by placing them in the IETF's "Internet-Drafts" directory, which is replicated on a number of Internet hosts. This makes an evolving working document readily available to a wide audience, facilitating the process of review and revision. An Internet-Draft that is published as an RFC, or that has remained unchanged in the Internet-Drafts directory for more than six months without being recommended by the IESG for publication as an RFC, is simply removed from the Internet-Drafts directory. At any time, an Internet-Draft may be replaced by a more recent version of the same specification, restarting the six-month timeout period. An Internet-Draft is NOT a means of "publishing" a specification; specifications are published through the RFC mechanism described in the previous section. Internet-Drafts have no formal status, and are subject to change or removal at any time. * * * Under no circumstances should an Internet-Draft * * be referenced by any paper, report, or Request- * * for-Proposal, nor should a vendor claim compliance * * with an Internet-Draft. * * * **

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 8] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 Note: It is acceptable to reference a standards-track specification
 that may reasonably be expected to be published as an RFC using the
 phrase "Work in Progress"  without referencing an Internet-Draft.
 This may also be done in a standards track document itself  as long
 as the specification in which the reference is made would stand as a
 complete and understandable document with or without the reference to
 the "Work in Progress".


 Specifications subject to the Internet Standards Process fall into
 one of two categories:  Technical Specification (TS) and
 Applicability Statement (AS).

3.1 Technical Specification (TS)

 A Technical Specification is any description of a protocol, service,
 procedure, convention, or format.  It may completely describe all of
 the relevant aspects of its subject, or it may leave one or more
 parameters or options unspecified.  A TS may be completely self-
 contained, or it may incorporate material from other specifications
 by reference to other documents (which might or might not be Internet
 A TS shall include a statement of its scope and the general intent
 for its use (domain of applicability).  Thus, a TS that is inherently
 specific to a particular context shall contain a statement to that
 effect.  However, a TS does not specify requirements for its use
 within the Internet;  these requirements, which depend on the
 particular context in which the TS is incorporated by different
 system configurations, are defined by an Applicability Statement.

3.2 Applicability Statement (AS)

 An Applicability Statement specifies how, and under what
 circumstances, one or more TSs may be applied to support a particular
 Internet capability.  An AS may specify uses for TSs that are not
 Internet Standards, as discussed in Section 7.
 An AS identifies the relevant TSs and the specific way in which they
 are to be combined, and may also specify particular values or ranges
 of TS parameters or subfunctions of a TS protocol that must be
 implemented.  An AS also specifies the circumstances in which the use
 of a particular TS is required, recommended, or elective (see section

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 9] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 An AS may describe particular methods of using a TS in a restricted
 "domain of applicability", such as Internet routers, terminal
 servers, Internet systems that interface to Ethernets, or datagram-
 based database servers.
 The broadest type of AS is a comprehensive conformance specification,
 commonly called a "requirements document", for a particular class of
 Internet systems, such as Internet routers or Internet hosts.
 An AS may not have a higher maturity level in the standards track
 than any standards-track TS on which the AS relies (see section 4.1).
 For example, a TS at Draft Standard level may be referenced by an AS
 at the Proposed Standard or Draft Standard level, but not by an AS at
 the Standard level.

3.3 Requirement Levels

 An AS shall apply one of the following "requirement levels" to each
 of the TSs to which it refers:
 (a)  Required:  Implementation of the referenced TS, as specified by
    the AS, is required to achieve minimal conformance.  For example,
    IP and ICMP must be implemented by all Internet systems using the
    TCP/IP Protocol Suite.
 (b)  Recommended:  Implementation of the referenced TS is not
    required for minimal conformance, but experience and/or generally
    accepted technical wisdom suggest its desirability in the domain
    of applicability of the AS.  Vendors are strongly encouraged to
    include the functions, features, and protocols of Recommended TSs
    in their products, and should omit them only if the omission is
    justified by some special circumstance. For example, the TELNET
    protocol should be implemented by all systems that would benefit
    from remote access.
 (c)  Elective:  Implementation of the referenced TS is optional
    within the domain of applicability of the AS;  that is, the AS
    creates no explicit necessity to apply the TS.  However, a
    particular vendor may decide to implement it, or a particular user
    may decide that it is a necessity in a specific environment.  For
    example, the DECNET MIB could be seen as valuable in an
    environment where the DECNET protocol is used.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 10] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

    As noted in section 4.1, there are TSs that are not in the
    standards track or that have been retired from the standards
    track, and are therefore not required, recommended, or elective.
    Two additional "requirement level" designations are available for
    these TSs:
 (d)  Limited Use:  The TS is considered to be appropriate for use
    only in limited or unique circumstances.  For example, the usage
    of a protocol with the "Experimental" designation should generally
    be limited to those actively involved with the experiment.
 (e)  Not Recommended:  A TS that is considered to be inappropriate
    for general use is labeled "Not Recommended". This may be because
    of its limited functionality, specialized nature, or historic
 Although TSs and ASs are conceptually separate, in practice a
 standards-track document may combine an AS and one or more related
 TSs.  For example, Technical Specifications that are developed
 specifically and exclusively for some particular domain of
 applicability, e.g., for mail server hosts, often contain within a
 single specification all of the relevant AS and TS information. In
 such cases, no useful purpose would be served by deliberately
 distributing the information among several documents just to preserve
 the formal AS/TS distinction.  However, a TS that is likely to apply
 to more than one domain of applicability should be developed in a
 modular fashion, to facilitate its incorporation by multiple ASs.
 The "Official Protocol Standards" RFC (STD1) lists a general
 requirement level for each TS, using the nomenclature defined in this
 section. This RFC is updated periodically.  In many cases, more
 detailed descriptions of the requirement levels of particular
 protocols and of individual features of the protocols will be found
 in appropriate ASs.


 Specifications that are intended to become Internet Standards evolve
 through a set of maturity levels known as the "standards track".
 These maturity levels -- "Proposed Standard", "Draft Standard", and
 "Standard" -- are defined and discussed in section 4.1.  The way in
 which specifications move along the standards track is described in
 section 6.
 Even after a specification has been adopted as an Internet Standard,
 further evolution often occurs based on experience and the
 recognition of new requirements.  The nomenclature and procedures of
 Internet standardization provide for the replacement of old Internet

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 11] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 Standards with new ones, and the assignment of descriptive labels to
 indicate the status of "retired" Internet Standards.  A set of
 maturity levels is defined in section 4.2 to cover these and other
 specifications that are not considered to be on the standards track.

4.1 Standards Track Maturity Levels

 Internet specifications go through stages of development, testing,
 and acceptance.  Within the Internet Standards Process, these stages
 are formally labeled "maturity levels".
 This section describes the maturity levels and the expected
 characteristics of specifications at each level.

4.1.1 Proposed Standard

 The entry-level maturity for the standards track is "Proposed
 Standard".  A specific action by the IESG is required to move a
 specification onto the standards track at the "Proposed Standard"
 A Proposed Standard specification is generally stable, has resolved
 known design choices, is believed to be well-understood, has received
 significant community review, and appears to enjoy enough community
 interest to be considered valuable.  However, further experience
 might result in a change or even retraction of the specification
 before it advances.
 Usually, neither implementation nor operational experience is
 required for the designation of a specification as a Proposed
 Standard.  However, such experience is highly desirable, and will
 usually represent a strong argument in favor of a Proposed Standard
 The IESG may require implementation and/or operational experience
 prior to granting Proposed Standard status to a specification that
 materially affects the core Internet protocols or that specifies
 behavior that may have significant operational impact on the
 A Proposed Standard should have no known technical omissions with
 respect to the requirements placed upon it.  However, the IESG may
 waive this requirement in order to allow a specification to advance
 to the Proposed Standard state when it is considered to be useful and
 necessary (and timely) even with known technical omissions.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 12] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 Implementors should treat Proposed Standards as immature
 specifications.  It is desirable to implement them in order to gain
 experience and to validate, test, and clarify the specification.
 However, since the content of Proposed Standards may be changed if
 problems are found or better solutions are identified, deploying
 implementations of such standards into a disruption-sensitive
 environment is not recommended.

4.1.2 Draft Standard

 A specification from which at least two independent and interoperable
 implementations from different code bases have been developed, and
 for which sufficient successful operational experience has been
 obtained, may be elevated to the "Draft Standard" level.  For the
 purposes of this section, "interoperable" means to be functionally
 equivalent or interchangeable components of the system or process in
 which they are used.  If patented or otherwise controlled technology
 is required for implementation, the separate implementations must
 also have resulted from separate exercise of the licensing process.
 Elevation to Draft Standard is a major advance in status, indicating
 a strong belief that the specification is mature and will be useful.
 The requirement for at least two independent and interoperable
 implementations applies to all of the options and features of the
 specification.  In cases in which one or more options or features
 have not been demonstrated in at least two interoperable
 implementations, the specification may advance to the Draft Standard
 level only if those options or features are removed.
 The Working Group chair is responsible for documenting the specific
 implementations which qualify the specification for Draft or Internet
 Standard status along with documentation about testing of the
 interoperation of these implementations.  The documentation must
 include information about the support of each of the individual
 options and features.  This documentation should be submitted to the
 Area Director with the protocol action request. (see Section 6)
 A Draft Standard must be well-understood and known to be quite
 stable, both in its semantics and as a basis for developing an
 implementation.  A Draft Standard may still require additional or
 more widespread field experience, since it is possible for
 implementations based on Draft Standard specifications to demonstrate
 unforeseen behavior when subjected to large-scale use in production

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 13] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 A Draft Standard is normally considered to be a final specification,
 and changes are likely to be made only to solve specific problems
 encountered.  In most circumstances, it is reasonable for vendors to
 deploy implementations of Draft Standards into a disruption sensitive

4.1.3 Internet Standard

 A specification for which significant implementation and successful
 operational experience has been obtained may be elevated to the
 Internet Standard level.  An Internet Standard (which may simply be
 referred to as a Standard) is characterized by a high degree of
 technical maturity and by a generally held belief that the specified
 protocol or service provides significant benefit to the Internet
 A specification that reaches the status of Standard is assigned a
 number in the STD series while retaining its RFC number.

4.2 Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels

 Not every specification is on the standards track.  A specification
 may not be intended to be an Internet Standard, or it may be intended
 for eventual standardization but not yet ready to enter the standards
 track.  A specification may have been superseded by a more recent
 Internet Standard, or have otherwise fallen into disuse or disfavor.
 Specifications that are not on the standards track are labeled with
 one of three "off-track" maturity levels:  "Experimental",
 "Informational", or "Historic".  The documents bearing these labels
 are not Internet Standards in any sense.

4.2.1 Experimental

 The "Experimental" designation typically denotes a specification that
 is part of some research or development effort.  Such a specification
 is published for the general information of the Internet technical
 community and as an archival record of the work, subject only to
 editorial considerations and to verification that there has been
 adequate coordination with the standards process (see below).  An
 Experimental specification may be the output of an organized Internet
 research effort (e.g., a Research Group of the IRTF), an IETF Working
 Group, or it may be an individual contribution.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 14] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

4.2.2 Informational

 An "Informational" specification is published for the general
 information of the Internet community, and does not represent an
 Internet community consensus or recommendation.  The Informational
 designation is intended to provide for the timely publication of a
 very broad range of responsible informational documents from many
 sources, subject only to editorial considerations and to verification
 that there has been adequate coordination with the standards process
 (see section 4.2.3).
 Specifications that have been prepared outside of the Internet
 community and are not incorporated into the Internet Standards
 Process by any of the provisions of section 10 may be published as
 Informational RFCs, with the permission of the owner and the
 concurrence of the RFC Editor.

4.2.3 Procedures for Experimental and Informational RFCs

 Unless they are the result of IETF Working Group action, documents
 intended to be published with Experimental or Informational status
 should be submitted directly to the RFC Editor.  The RFC Editor will
 publish any such documents as Internet-Drafts which have not already
 been so published.  In order to differentiate these Internet-Drafts
 they will be labeled or grouped in the I-D directory so they are
 easily recognizable.  The RFC Editor will wait two weeks after this
 publication for comments before proceeding further.  The RFC Editor
 is expected to exercise his or her judgment concerning the editorial
 suitability of a document for publication with Experimental or
 Informational status, and may refuse to publish a document which, in
 the expert opinion of the RFC Editor, is unrelated to Internet
 activity or falls below the technical and/or editorial standard for
 To ensure that the non-standards track Experimental and Informational
 designations are not misused to circumvent the Internet Standards
 Process, the IESG and the RFC Editor have agreed that the RFC Editor
 will refer to the IESG any document submitted for Experimental or
 Informational publication which, in the opinion of the RFC Editor,
 may be related to work being done, or expected to be done, within the
 IETF community.  The IESG shall review such a referred document
 within a reasonable period of time, and recommend either that it be
 published as originally submitted or referred to the IETF as a
 contribution to the Internet Standards Process.
 If (a) the IESG recommends that the document be brought within the
 IETF and progressed within the IETF context, but the author declines
 to do so, or (b) the IESG considers that the document proposes

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 15] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 something that conflicts with, or is actually inimical to, an
 established IETF effort, the document may still be published as an
 Experimental or Informational RFC.  In these cases, however, the IESG
 may insert appropriate "disclaimer" text into the RFC either in or
 immediately following the "Status of this Memo" section in order to
 make the circumstances of its publication clear to readers.
 Documents proposed for Experimental and Informational RFCs by IETF
 Working Groups go through IESG review.  The review is initiated using
 the process described in section 6.1.1.

4.2.4 Historic

 A specification that has been superseded by a more recent
 specification or is for any other reason considered to be obsolete is
 assigned to the "Historic" level.  (Purists have suggested that the
 word should be "Historical"; however, at this point the use of
 "Historic" is historical.)
 Note: Standards track specifications normally must not depend on
 other standards track specifications which are at a lower maturity
 level or on non standards track specifications other than referenced
 specifications from other standards bodies.  (See Section 7.)


 The BCP subseries of the RFC series is designed to be a way to
 standardize practices and the results of community deliberations.  A
 BCP document is subject to the same basic set of procedures as
 standards track documents and thus is a vehicle by which the IETF
 community can define and ratify the community's best current thinking
 on a statement of principle or on what is believed to be the best way
 to perform some operations or IETF process function.
 Historically Internet standards have generally been concerned with
 the technical specifications for hardware and software required for
 computer communication across interconnected networks.  However,
 since the Internet itself is composed of networks operated by a great
 variety of organizations, with diverse goals and rules, good user
 service requires that the operators and administrators of the
 Internet follow some common guidelines for policies and operations.
 While these guidelines are generally different in scope and style
 from protocol standards, their establishment needs a similar process
 for consensus building.
 While it is recognized that entities such as the IAB and IESG are
 composed of individuals who may participate, as individuals, in the
 technical work of the IETF, it is also recognized that the entities

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 16] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 themselves have an existence as leaders in the community.  As leaders
 in the Internet technical community, these entities should have an
 outlet to propose ideas to stimulate work in a particular area, to
 raise the community's sensitivity to a certain issue, to make a
 statement of architectural principle, or to communicate their
 thoughts on other matters.  The BCP subseries creates a smoothly
 structured way for these management entities to insert proposals into
 the consensus-building machinery of the IETF while gauging the
 community's view of that issue.
 Finally, the BCP series may be used to document the operation of the
 IETF itself.  For example, this document defines the IETF Standards
 Process and is published as a BCP.

5.1 BCP Review Process

 Unlike standards-track documents, the mechanisms described in BCPs
 are not well suited to the phased roll-in nature of the three stage
 standards track and instead generally only make sense for full and
 immediate instantiation.
 The BCP process is similar to that for proposed standards.  The BCP
 is submitted to the IESG for review, (see section 6.1.1) and the
 existing review process applies, including a Last-Call on the IETF
 Announce mailing list.  However, once the IESG has approved the
 document, the process ends and the document is published.  The
 resulting document is viewed as having the technical approval of the
 Specifically, a document to be considered for the status of BCP must
 undergo the procedures outlined in sections 6.1, and 6.4 of this
 document. The BCP process may be appealed according to the procedures
 in section 6.5.
 Because BCPs are meant to express community consensus but are arrived
 at more quickly than standards, BCPs require particular care.
 Specifically, BCPs should not be viewed simply as stronger
 Informational RFCs, but rather should be viewed as documents suitable
 for a content different from Informational RFCs.
 A specification, or group of specifications, that has, or have been
 approved as a BCP is assigned a number in the BCP series while
 retaining its RFC number(s).

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 17] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996


 The mechanics of the Internet Standards Process involve decisions of
 the IESG concerning the elevation of a specification onto the
 standards track or the movement of a standards-track specification
 from one maturity level to another.  Although a number of reasonably
 objective criteria (described below and in section 4) are available
 to guide the IESG in making a decision to move a specification onto,
 along, or off the standards track, there is no algorithmic guarantee
 of elevation to or progression along the standards track for any
 specification.  The experienced collective judgment of the IESG
 concerning the technical quality of a specification proposed for
 elevation to or advancement in the standards track is an essential
 component of the decision-making process.

6.1 Standards Actions

 A "standards action" -- entering a particular specification into,
 advancing it within, or removing it from, the standards track -- must
 be approved by the IESG.

6.1.1 Initiation of Action

 A specification that is intended to enter or advance in the Internet
 standards track shall first be posted as an Internet-Draft (see
 section 2.2) unless it has not changed since publication as an RFC.
 It shall remain as an Internet-Draft for a period of time, not less
 than two weeks, that permits useful community review, after which a
 recommendation for action may be initiated.
 A standards action is initiated by a recommendation by the IETF
 Working group responsible for a specification to its Area Director,
 copied to the IETF Secretariat or, in the case of a specification not
 associated with a Working Group, a recommendation by an individual to
 the IESG.

6.1.2 IESG Review and Approval

 The IESG shall determine whether or not a specification submitted to
 it according to section 6.1.1 satisfies the applicable criteria for
 the recommended action (see sections 4.1 and 4.2), and shall in
 addition determine whether or not the technical quality and clarity
 of the specification is consistent with that expected for the
 maturity level to which the specification is recommended.
 In order to obtain all of the information necessary to make these
 determinations, particularly when the specification is considered by
 the IESG to be extremely important in terms of its potential impact

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 18] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 on the Internet or on the suite of Internet protocols, the IESG may,
 at its discretion, commission an independent technical review of the
 The IESG will send notice to the IETF of the pending IESG
 consideration of the document(s) to permit a final review by the
 general Internet community.  This "Last-Call" notification shall be
 via electronic mail to the IETF Announce mailing list.  Comments on a
 Last-Call shall be accepted from anyone, and should be sent as
 directed in the Last-Call announcement.
 The Last-Call period shall be no shorter than two weeks except in
 those cases where the proposed standards action was not initiated by
 an IETF Working Group, in which case the Last-Call period shall be no
 shorter than four weeks.  If the IESG believes that the community
 interest would be served by allowing more time for comment, it may
 decide on a longer Last-Call period or to explicitly lengthen a
 current Last-Call period.
 The IESG is not bound by the action recommended when the
 specification was submitted.  For example, the IESG may decide to
 consider the specification for publication in a different category
 than that requested.  If the IESG determines this before the Last-
 Call is issued then the Last-Call should reflect the IESG's view.
 The IESG could also decide to change the publication category based
 on the response to a Last-Call. If this decision would result in a
 specification being published at a "higher" level than the original
 Last-Call was for, a new Last-Call should be issued indicating the
 IESG recommendation. In addition, the IESG may decide to recommend
 the formation of a new Working Group in the case of significant
 controversy in response to a Last-Call for specification not
 originating from an IETF Working Group.
 In a timely fashion after the expiration of the Last-Call period, the
 IESG shall make its final determination of whether or not to approve
 the standards action, and shall notify the IETF of its decision via
 electronic mail to the IETF Announce mailing list.

6.1.3 Publication

 If a standards action is approved, notification is sent to the RFC
 Editor and copied to the IETF with instructions to publish the
 specification as an RFC.  The specification shall at that point be
 removed from the Internet-Drafts directory.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 19] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 An official summary of standards actions completed and pending shall
 appear in each issue of the Internet Society's newsletter.  This
 shall constitute the "publication of record" for Internet standards
 The RFC Editor shall publish periodically an "Internet Official
 Protocol Standards" RFC [1], summarizing the status of all Internet
 protocol and service specifications.

6.2 Advancing in the Standards Track

 The procedure described in section 6.1 is followed for each action
 that attends the advancement of a specification along the standards
 A specification shall remain at the Proposed Standard level for at
 least six (6) months.
 A specification shall remain at the Draft Standard level for at least
 four (4) months, or until at least one IETF meeting has occurred,
 whichever comes later.
 These minimum periods are intended to ensure adequate opportunity for
 community review without severely impacting timeliness.  These
 intervals shall be measured from the date of publication of the
 corresponding RFC(s), or, if the action does not result in RFC
 publication, the date of the announcement of the IESG approval of the
 A specification may be (indeed, is likely to be) revised as it
 advances through the standards track.  At each stage, the IESG shall
 determine the scope and significance of the revision to the
 specification, and, if necessary and appropriate, modify the
 recommended action.  Minor revisions are expected, but a significant
 revision may require that the specification accumulate more
 experience at its current maturity level before progressing. Finally,
 if the specification has been changed very significantly, the IESG
 may recommend that the revision be treated as a new document, re-
 entering the standards track at the beginning.
 Change of status shall result in republication of the specification
 as an RFC, except in the rare case that there have been no changes at
 all in the specification since the last publication.  Generally,
 desired changes will be "batched" for incorporation at the next level
 in the standards track.  However, deferral of changes to the next
 standards action on the specification will not always be possible or
 desirable; for example, an important typographical error, or a
 technical error that does not represent a change in overall function

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 20] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 of the specification, may need to be corrected immediately.  In such
 cases, the IESG or RFC Editor may be asked to republish the RFC (with
 a new number) with corrections, and this will not reset the minimum
 time-at-level clock.
 When a standards-track specification has not reached the Internet
 Standard level but has remained at the same maturity level for
 twenty-four (24) months, and every twelve (12) months thereafter
 until the status is changed, the IESG shall review the viability of
 the standardization effort responsible for that specification and the
 usefulness of the technology. Following each such review, the IESG
 shall approve termination or continuation of the development effort,
 at the same time the IESG shall decide to maintain the specification
 at the same maturity level or to move it to Historic status.  This
 decision shall be communicated to the IETF by electronic mail to the
 IETF Announce mailing list to allow the Internet community an
 opportunity to comment. This provision is not intended to threaten a
 legitimate and active Working Group effort, but rather to provide an
 administrative mechanism for terminating a moribund effort.

6.3 Revising a Standard

 A new version of an established Internet Standard must progress
 through the full Internet standardization process as if it were a
 completely new specification.  Once the new version has reached the
 Standard level, it will usually replace the previous version, which
 will be moved to Historic status.  However, in some cases both
 versions may remain as Internet Standards to honor the requirements
 of an installed base.  In this situation, the relationship between
 the previous and the new versions must be explicitly stated in the
 text of the new version or in another appropriate document (e.g., an
 Applicability Statement; see section 3.2).

6.4 Retiring a Standard

 As the technology changes and matures, it is possible for a new
 Standard specification to be so clearly superior technically that one
 or more existing standards track specifications for the same function
 should be retired.  In this case, or when it is felt for some other
 reason that an existing standards track specification should be
 retired, the IESG shall approve a change of status of the old
 specification(s) to Historic.  This recommendation shall be issued
 with the same Last-Call and notification procedures used for any
 other standards action.  A request to retire an existing standard can
 originate from a Working Group, an Area Director or some other
 interested party.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 21] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

6.5 Conflict Resolution and Appeals

 Disputes are possible at various stages during the IETF process. As
 much as possible the process is designed so that compromises can be
 made, and genuine consensus achieved, however there are times when
 even the most reasonable and knowledgeable people are unable to
 agree. To achieve the goals of openness and fairness, such conflicts
 must be resolved by a process of open review and discussion. This
 section specifies the procedures that shall be followed to deal with
 Internet standards issues that cannot be resolved through the normal
 processes whereby IETF Working Groups and other Internet Standards
 Process participants ordinarily reach consensus.

6.5.1 Working Group Disputes

 An individual (whether a participant in the relevant Working Group or
 not) may disagree with a Working Group recommendation based on his or
 her belief that either (a) his or her own views have not been
 adequately considered by the Working Group, or (b) the Working Group
 has made an incorrect technical choice which places the quality
 and/or integrity of the Working Group's product(s) in significant
 jeopardy.  The first issue is a difficulty with Working Group
 process;  the latter is an assertion of technical error.  These two
 types of disagreement are quite different, but both are handled by
 the same process of review.
 A person who disagrees with a Working Group recommendation shall
 always first discuss the matter with the Working Group's chair(s),
 who may involve other members of the Working Group (or the Working
 Group as a whole) in the discussion.
 If the disagreement cannot be resolved in this way, any of the
 parties involved may bring it to the attention of the Area
 Director(s) for the area in which the Working Group is chartered.
 The Area Director(s) shall attempt to resolve the dispute.
 If the disagreement cannot be resolved by the Area Director(s) any of
 the parties involved may then appeal to the IESG as a whole.  The
 IESG shall then review the situation and attempt to resolve it in a
 manner of its own choosing.
 If the disagreement is not resolved to the satisfaction of the
 parties at the IESG level, any of the parties involved may appeal the
 decision to the IAB.  The IAB shall then review the situation and
 attempt to resolve it in a manner of its own choosing.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 22] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 The IAB decision is final with respect to the question of whether or
 not the Internet standards procedures have been followed and with
 respect to all questions of technical merit.

6.5.2 Process Failures

 This document sets forward procedures required to be followed to
 ensure openness and fairness of the Internet Standards Process, and
 the technical viability of the standards created. The IESG is the
 principal agent of the IETF for this purpose, and it is the IESG that
 is charged with ensuring that the required procedures have been
 followed, and that any necessary prerequisites to a standards action
 have been met.
 If an individual should disagree with an action taken by the IESG in
 this process, that person should first discuss the issue with the
 ISEG Chair. If the IESG Chair is unable to satisfy the complainant
 then the IESG as a whole should re-examine the action taken, along
 with input from the complainant, and determine whether any further
 action is needed.  The IESG shall issue a report on its review of the
 complaint to the IETF.
 Should the complainant not be satisfied with the outcome of the IESG
 review, an appeal may be lodged to the IAB. The IAB shall then review
 the situation and attempt to resolve it in a manner of its own
 choosing and report to the IETF on the outcome of its review.
 If circumstances warrant, the IAB may direct that an IESG decision be
 annulled, and the situation shall then be as it was before the IESG
 decision was taken. The IAB may also recommend an action to the IESG,
 or make such other recommendations as it deems fit. The IAB may not,
 however, pre-empt the role of the IESG by issuing a decision which
 only the IESG is empowered to make.
 The IAB decision is final with respect to the question of whether or
 not the Internet standards procedures have been followed.

6.5.3 Questions of Applicable Procedure

 Further recourse is available only in cases in which the procedures
 themselves (i.e., the procedures described in this document) are
 claimed to be inadequate or insufficient to the protection of the
 rights of all parties in a fair and open Internet Standards Process.
 Claims on this basis may be made to the Internet Society Board of
 Trustees.  The President of the Internet Society shall acknowledge
 such an appeal within two weeks, and shall at the time of
 acknowledgment advise the petitioner of the expected duration of the
 Trustees' review of the appeal.  The Trustees shall review the

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 23] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 situation in a manner of its own choosing and report to the IETF on
 the outcome of its review.
 The Trustees' decision upon completion of their review shall be final
 with respect to all aspects of the dispute.

6.5.4 Appeals Procedure

 All appeals must include a detailed and specific description of the
 facts of the dispute.
 All appeals must be initiated within two months of the public
 knowledge of the action or decision to be challenged.
 At all stages of the appeals process, the individuals or bodies
 responsible for making the decisions have the discretion to define
 the specific procedures they will follow in the process of making
 their decision.
 In all cases a decision concerning the disposition of the dispute,
 and the communication of that decision to the parties involved, must
 be accomplished within a reasonable period of time.
 [NOTE:  These procedures intentionally and explicitly do not
 establish a fixed maximum time period that shall be considered
 "reasonable" in all cases.  The Internet Standards Process places a
 premium on consensus and efforts to achieve it, and deliberately
 foregoes deterministically swift execution of procedures in favor of
 a latitude within which more genuine technical agreements may be


 Many standards groups other than the IETF create and publish
 standards documents for network protocols and services.  When these
 external specifications play an important role in the Internet, it is
 desirable to reach common agreements on their usage -- i.e., to
 establish Internet Standards relating to these external
 There are two categories of external specifications:
 (1)  Open Standards
    Various national and international standards bodies, such as ANSI,
    ISO, IEEE, and ITU-T, develop a variety of protocol and service
    specifications that are similar to Technical Specifications
    defined here.  National and international groups also publish

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 24] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

    "implementors' agreements" that are analogous to Applicability
    Statements, capturing a body of implementation-specific detail
    concerned with the practical application of their standards.  All
    of these are considered to be "open external standards" for the
    purposes of the Internet Standards Process.
 (2)  Other Specifications
    Other proprietary specifications that have come to be widely used
    in the Internet may be treated by the Internet community as if
    they were a "standards".  Such a specification is not generally
    developed in an open fashion, is typically proprietary, and is
    controlled by the vendor, vendors, or organization that produced

7.1 Use of External Specifications

 To avoid conflict between competing versions of a specification, the
 Internet community will not standardize a specification that is
 simply an "Internet version" of an existing external specification
 unless an explicit cooperative arrangement to do so has been made.
 However, there are several ways in which an external specification
 that is important for the operation and/or evolution of the Internet
 may be adopted for Internet use.

7.1.1 Incorporation of an Open Standard

 An Internet Standard TS or AS may incorporate an open external
 standard by reference.  For example, many Internet Standards
 incorporate by reference the ANSI standard character set "ASCII" [2].
 Whenever possible, the referenced specification shall be available

7.1.2 Incorporation of Other Specifications

 Other proprietary specifications may be incorporated by reference to
 a version of the specification as long as the proprietor meets the
 requirements of section 10.  If the other proprietary specification
 is not widely and readily available, the IESG may request that it be
 published as an Informational RFC.
 The IESG generally should not favor a particular proprietary
 specification over technically equivalent and competing
 specification(s) by making any incorporated vendor specification
 "required" or "recommended".

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 25] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

7.1.3 Assumption

 An IETF Working Group may start from an external specification and
 develop it into an Internet specification.  This is acceptable if (1)
 the specification is provided to the Working Group in compliance with
 the requirements of section 10, and (2) change control has been
 conveyed to IETF by the original developer of the specification for
 the specification or for specifications derived from the original


 Each of the organizations involved in the development and approval of
 Internet Standards shall publicly announce, and shall maintain a
 publicly accessible record of, every activity in which it engages, to
 the extent that the activity represents the prosecution of any part
 of the Internet Standards Process.  For purposes of this section, the
 organizations involved in the development and approval of Internet
 Standards includes the IETF, the IESG, the IAB, all IETF Working
 Groups, and the Internet Society Board of Trustees.
 For IETF and Working Group meetings announcements shall be made by
 electronic mail to the IETF Announce mailing list and shall be made
 sufficiently far in advance of the activity to permit all interested
 parties to effectively participate.  The announcement shall contain
 (or provide pointers to) all of the information that is necessary to
 support the participation of any interested individual.  In the case
 of a meeting, for example, the announcement shall include an agenda
 that specifies the standards- related issues that will be discussed.
 The formal record of an organization's standards-related activity
 shall include at least the following:
 o  the charter of the organization (or a defining document equivalent
    to a charter);
 o  complete and accurate minutes of meetings;
 o  the archives of Working Group electronic mail mailing lists;  and
 o  all written contributions from participants that pertain to the
    organization's standards-related activity.
 As a practical matter, the formal record of all Internet Standards
 Process activities is maintained by the IETF Secretariat, and is the
 responsibility of the IETF Secretariat except that each IETF Working
 Group is expected to maintain their own email list archive and must
 make a best effort to ensure that all traffic is captured and
 included in the archives.  Also, the Working Group chair is
 responsible for providing the IETF Secretariat with complete and
 accurate minutes of all Working Group meetings.  Internet-Drafts that

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 26] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 have been removed (for any reason) from the Internet-Drafts
 directories shall be archived by the IETF Secretariat for the sole
 purpose of preserving an historical record of Internet standards
 activity and thus are not retrievable except in special


 This document, which sets out the rules and procedures by which
 Internet Standards and related documents are made is itself a product
 of the Internet Standards Process (as a BCP, as described in section
 5). It replaces a previous version, and in time, is likely itself to
 be replaced.
 While, when published, this document represents the community's view
 of the proper and correct process to follow, and requirements to be
 met, to allow for the best possible Internet Standards and BCPs, it
 cannot be assumed that this will always remain the case. From time to
 time there may be a desire to update it, by replacing it with a new
 version.  Updating this document uses the same open procedures as are
 used for any other BCP.
 In addition, there may be situations where following the procedures
 leads to a deadlock about a specific specification, or there may be
 situations where the procedures provide no guidance.  In these cases
 it may be appropriate to invoke the variance procedure described

9.1 The Variance Procedure

 Upon the recommendation of the responsible IETF Working Group (or, if
 no Working Group is constituted, upon the recommendation of an ad hoc
 committee), the IESG may enter a particular specification into, or
 advance it within, the standards track even though some of the
 requirements of this document have not or will not be met. The IESG
 may approve such a variance, however, only if it first determines
 that the likely benefits to the Internet community are likely to
 outweigh any costs to the Internet community that result from
 noncompliance with the requirements in this document.  In exercising
 this discretion, the IESG shall at least consider (a) the technical
 merit of the specification, (b) the possibility of achieving the
 goals of the Internet Standards Process without granting a variance,
 (c) alternatives to the granting of a variance, (d) the collateral
 and precedential effects of granting a variance, and (e) the IESG's
 ability to craft a variance that is as narrow as possible.  In
 determining whether to approve a variance, the IESG has discretion to
 limit the scope of the variance to particular parts of this document
 and to impose such additional restrictions or limitations as it

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 27] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 determines appropriate to protect the interests of the Internet
 The proposed variance must detail the problem perceived, explain the
 precise provision of this document which is causing the need for a
 variance, and the results of the IESG's considerations including
 consideration of points (a) through (d) in the previous paragraph.
 The proposed variance shall be issued as an Internet Draft.  The IESG
 shall then issue an extended Last-Call, of no less than 4 weeks, to
 allow for community comment upon the proposal.
 In a timely fashion after the expiration of the Last-Call period, the
 IESG shall make its final determination of whether or not to approve
 the proposed variance, and shall notify the IETF of its decision via
 electronic mail to the IETF Announce mailing list.  If the variance
 is approved it shall be forwarded to the RFC Editor with a request
 that it be published as a BCP.
 This variance procedure is for use when a one-time waving of some
 provision of this document is felt to be required.  Permanent changes
 to this document shall be accomplished through the normal BCP
 The appeals process in section 6.5 applies to this process.

9.2 Exclusions

 No use of this procedure may lower any specified delays, nor exempt
 any proposal from the requirements of openness, fairness, or
 consensus, nor from the need to keep proper records of the meetings
 and mailing list discussions.
 Specifically, the following sections of this document must not be
 subject of a variance: 5.1, 6.1, 6.1.1 (first paragraph), 6.1.2, 6.3
 (first sentence), 6.5 and 9.


10.1. General Policy

 In all matters of intellectual property rights and procedures, the
 intention is to benefit the Internet community and the public at
 large, while respecting the legitimate rights of others.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 28] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

10.2 Confidentiality Obligations

 No contribution that is subject to any requirement of confidentiality
 or any restriction on its dissemination may be considered in any part
 of the Internet Standards Process, and there must be no assumption of
 any confidentiality obligation with respect to any such contribution.

10.3. Rights and Permissions

 In the course of standards work, the IETF receives contributions in
 various forms and from many persons.  To best facilitate the
 dissemination of these contributions, it is necessary to understand
 any intellectual property rights (IPR) relating to the contributions.

10.3.1. All Contributions

 By submission of a contribution, each person actually submitting the
 contribution is deemed to agree to the following terms and conditions
 on his own behalf, on behalf of the organization (if any) he
 represents and on behalf of the owners of any propriety rights in the
 contribution..  Where a submission identifies contributors in
 addition to the contributor(s) who provide the actual submission, the
 actual submitter(s) represent that each other named contributor was
 made aware of and agreed to accept the same terms and conditions on
 his own behalf, on behalf of any organization he may represent and
 any known owner of any proprietary rights in the contribution.
 l. Some works (e.g. works of the U.S. Government) are not subject to
    copyright.  However, to the extent that the submission is or may
    be subject to copyright, the contributor, the organization he
    represents (if any) and the owners of any proprietary rights in
    the contribution, grant an unlimited perpetual, non-exclusive,
    royalty-free, world-wide right and license to the ISOC and the
    IETF under any copyrights in the contribution.  This license
    includes the right to copy, publish and distribute the
    contribution in any way, and to prepare derivative works that are
    based on or incorporate all or part of the contribution, the
    license to such derivative works to be of the same scope as the
    license of the original contribution.
 2. The contributor acknowledges that the ISOC and IETF have no duty
    to publish or otherwise use or disseminate any contribution.
 3. The contributor grants permission to reference the name(s) and
    address(es) of the contributor(s) and of the organization(s) he
    represents (if any).

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 29] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 4. The contributor represents that contribution properly acknowledge
    major contributors.
 5. The contribuitor, the organization (if any) he represents and the
    owners of any proprietary rights in the contribution, agree that
    no information in the contribution is confidential and that the
    ISOC and its affiliated organizations may freely disclose any
    information in the contribution.
 6. The contributor represents that he has disclosed the existence of
    any proprietary or intellectual property rights in the
    contribution that are reasonably and personally known to the
    contributor.  The contributor does not represent that he
    personally knows of all potentially pertinent proprietary and
    intellectual property rights owned or claimed by the organization
    he represents (if any) or third parties.
 7. The contributor represents that there are no limits to the
    contributor's ability to make the grants acknowledgments and
    agreements above that are reasonably and personally known to the
    By ratifying this description of the IETF process the Internet
    Society warrants that it will not inhibit the traditional open and
    free access to IETF documents for which license and right have
    been assigned according to the procedures set forth in this
    section, including Internet-Drafts and RFCs. This warrant is
    perpetual and will not be revoked by the Internet Society or its
    successors or assigns.

10.3.2. Standards Track Documents

 (A)  Where any patents, patent applications, or other proprietary
    rights are known, or claimed, with respect to any specification on
    the standards track, and brought to the attention of the IESG, the
    IESG shall not advance the specification without including in the
    document a note indicating the existence of such rights, or
    claimed rights.  Where implementations are required before
    advancement of a specification, only implementations that have, by
    statement of the implementors, taken adequate steps to comply with
    any such rights, or claimed rights, shall be considered for the
    purpose of showing the adequacy of the specification.
 (B)  The IESG disclaims any responsibility for identifying the
    existence of or for evaluating the applicability of any claimed
    copyrights, patents, patent applications, or other rights in the
    fulfilling of the its obligations under (A), and will take no
    position on the validity or scope of any such rights.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 30] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 (C)  Where the IESG knows of rights, or claimed rights under (A), the
    IETF Executive Director shall attempt to obtain from the claimant
    of such rights, a written assurance that upon approval by the IESG
    of the relevant Internet standards track specification(s), any
    party will be able to obtain the right to implement, use and
    distribute the technology or works when implementing, using or
    distributing technology based upon the specific specification(s)
    under openly specified, reasonable, non-discriminatory terms.
    The Working Group proposing the use of the technology with respect
    to which the proprietary rights are claimed may assist the IETF
    Executive Director in this effort.  The results of this procedure
    shall not affect advancement of a specification along the
    standards track, except that the IESG may defer approval where a
    delay may facilitate the obtaining of such assurances.  The
    results will, however, be recorded by the IETF Executive Director,
    and made available.  The IESG may also direct that a summary of
    the results be included in any RFC published containing the

10.3.3 Determination of Reasonable and Non-discriminatory Terms

 The IESG will not make any explicit determination that the assurance
 of reasonable and non-discriminatory terms for the use of a
 technology has been fulfilled in practice.  It will instead use the
 normal requirements for the advancement of Internet Standards to
 verify that the terms for use are reasonable.  If the two unrelated
 implementations of the specification that are required to advance
 from Proposed Standard to Draft Standard have been produced by
 different organizations or individuals or if the "significant
 implementation and successful operational experience" required to
 advance from Draft Standard to Standard has been achieved the
 assumption is that the terms must be reasonable and to some degree,
 non-discriminatory.  This assumption may be challenged during the
 Last-Call period.

10.4. Notices

 (A)  Standards track documents shall include the following notice:
       "The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of
       any intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed
       to  pertain to the implementation or use of the technology
       described in this document or the extent to which any license
       under such rights might or might not be available; neither does
       it represent that it has made any effort to identify any such
       rights.  Information on the IETF's procedures with respect to
       rights in standards-track and standards-related documentation
       can be found in BCP-11.  Copies of claims of rights made

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 31] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

       available for publication and any assurances of licenses to
       be made available, or the result of an attempt made
       to obtain a general license or permission for the use of such
       proprietary rights by implementors or users of this
       specification can be obtained from the IETF Secretariat."
 (B)  The IETF encourages all interested parties to bring to its
    attention, at the earliest possible time, the existence of any
    intellectual property rights pertaining to Internet Standards.
    For this purpose, each standards document shall include the
    following invitation:
       "The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its
       attention any copyrights, patents or patent applications, or
       other proprietary rights which may cover technology that may be
       required to practice this standard.  Please address the
       information to the IETF Executive Director."
 (C)  The following copyright notice and disclaimer shall be included
    in all ISOC standards-related documentation:
       "Copyright (C) The Internet Society (date). All Rights
       This document and translations of it may be copied and
       furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or
       otherwise explain it or assist in its implmentation may be
       prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in
       part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above
       copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such
       copies and derivative works.  However, this document itself may
       not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright
       notice or references to the Internet Society or other Internet
       organizations, except as needed for the  purpose of developing
       Internet standards in which case the procedures for copyrights
       defined in the Internet Standards process must be followed, or
       as required to translate it into languages other than English.
       The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will
       not be revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 32] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

       This document and the information contained herein is provided
 (D)  Where the IESG is aware at the time of publication of
    proprietary rights claimed with respect to a standards track
    document, or the technology described or referenced therein, such
    document shall contain the following notice:
       "The IETF has been notified of intellectual property rights
       claimed in regard to some or all of the specification contained
       in this document.  For more information consult the online list
       of claimed rights."


 There have been a number of people involved with the development of
 the documents defining the IETF Standards Process over the years.
 The process was first described in RFC 1310 then revised in RFC 1602
 before the current effort (which relies heavily on its predecessors).
 Specific acknowledgments must be extended to Lyman Chapin, Phill
 Gross and Christian Huitema as the editors of the previous versions,
 to Jon Postel and Dave Crocker for their inputs to those versions, to
 Andy Ireland, Geoff Stewart, Jim Lampert, and Dick Holleman for their
 reviews of the legal aspects of the procedures described herein, and
 to John Stewart, Robert Elz and Steve Coya for their extensive input
 on the final version.
 In addition much of the credit for the refinement of the details of
 the IETF processes belongs to the many members of the various
 incarnations of the POISED Working Group.


 Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 33] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996


 [1]  Postel, J., "Internet Official Protocol Standards", STD 1,
      USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1996.
 [2]  ANSI, Coded Character Set -- 7-Bit American Standard Code for
      Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1986.
 [3]  Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2,
      USC/Information Sciences Institute, October 1994.
 [4]  Postel, J., "Introduction to the STD Notes", RFC 1311,
      USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1992.
 [5]  Postel, J., "Instructions to RFC Authors", RFC 1543,
      USC/Information Sciences Institute, October 1993.
 [6]  Huitema, C., J. Postel, and S. Crocker "Not All RFCs are
      Standards", RFC 1796, April 1995.


 IETF Area - A management division within the IETF.  An Area consists
    of Working Groups related to a general topic such as routing.  An
    Area is managed by one or two Area Directors.
 Area Director - The manager of an IETF Area.  The Area Directors
    along with the IETF Chair comprise the Internet Engineering
    Steering Group (IESG).
 File Transfer Protocol (FTP) - An Internet application used to
    transfer files in a TCP/IP network.
 gopher - An Internet application used to interactively select and
    retrieve files in a TCP/IP network.
 Internet Architecture Board (IAB) - An appointed group that assists
    in the management of the IETF standards process.
 Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) - A group comprised of the
    IETF Area Directors and the IETF Chair.  The IESG is responsible
    for the management, along with the IAB, of the IETF and is the
    standards approval board for the IETF.
 interoperable - For the purposes of this document, "interoperable"
    means to be able to interoperate over a data communications path.
 Last-Call - A public comment period used to gage the level of
    consensus about the reasonableness of a proposed standards action.
    (see section 6.1.2)

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 34] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996

 online - Relating to information made available over the Internet.
    When referenced in this document material is said to be online
    when it is retrievable without restriction or undue fee using
    standard Internet applications such as anonymous FTP, gopher or
    the WWW.
 Working Group - A group chartered by the IESG and IAB to work on a
    specific specification, set of specifications or topic.


 Scott O. Bradner
 Harvard University
 Holyoke Center, Room 813
 1350 Mass. Ave.
 Cambridge, MA  02138
 Phone: +1 617 495 3864

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 35] RFC 2026 Internet Standards Process October 1996


 ANSI:     American National Standards Institute
 ARPA:     (U.S.) Advanced Research Projects Agency
 AS:       Applicability Statement
 FTP:      File Transfer Protocol
 ASCII:    American Standard Code for Information Interchange
 ITU-T:    Telecommunications Standardization sector of the
           International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN
           treaty organization; ITU-T was formerly called CCITT.
 IAB:      Internet Architecture Board
 IANA:     Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
 IEEE:     Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
 ICMP:     Internet Control Message Protocol
 IESG:     Internet Engineering Steering Group
 IETF:     Internet Engineering Task Force
 IP:       Internet Protocol
 IRSG      Internet Research Steering Group
 IRTF:     Internet Research Task Force
 ISO:      International Organization for Standardization
 ISOC:     Internet Society
 MIB:      Management Information Base
 OSI:      Open Systems Interconnection
 RFC:      Request for Comments
 TCP:      Transmission Control Protocol
 TS:       Technical Specification
 WWW:      World Wide Web

Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 36]

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