IETF Administrative Support Activity 2 G. Camarillo
Internet-Draft Ericsson
Obsoletes: 2031 (if approved) J. Livingood
Intended status: Informational Comcast
Expires: June 16, 2019 December 13, 2018

The IETF-ISOC Relationship


This document summarises the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) - Internet Society (ISOC) relationship, following a major revision to the structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) in 2018. The IASA was revised under a new "IASA 2.0" structure by the IASA2 Working Group, which changed the IETF's administrative, legal, and financial structure. As a result, it also changed the relationship between the IETF and ISOC, which made it necessary to revise RFC 2031.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on June 16, 2019.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (c) 2018 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.

This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents ( in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and History

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the body that is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Internet Standards. The IETF is primarily a volunteer organization. Its driving force is a group of dedicated high-quality engineers from all over the world. In a structure of working groups, these engineers exchange ideas and experience, and through discussion and collaboration (both electronically and face-to-face) they strive to achieve rough consensus and implement the standards through running code.

The growth of the Internet over several decades also led to the growth of the IETF. More and more people, organizations, and companies rely on Internet Standards. Non-technical issues, such as legal, administrative, and financial issues had long been an undesirable but unavoidable part of the IETF. To address these issues in 1995 the IETF established the Poised95 Working Group. Its goal was to structure and document the IETF processes in order to maximize the flexibility and freedom of IETF engineers so that they could work in the way the IETF had always been most successful and to honour the IETF credo: "Rough consensus and running code".

The Poised95 Working Group concluded that the Internet Society (ISOC), which was formed in 1992, was the best organization to handle all of these legal, administrative, and financial tasks on behalf of and in close cooperation with the IETF. This led to documenting things such as the IETF standards process [RFC2026], the IETF organizational structure [RFC2028], the IETF Nominating Committee (NomCom) procedures [RFC2282], and the IETF-ISOC relationship [RFC2031].

As time passed and operational experience accumulated, additional structure was necessary. As a result, the Internet Administrative Support Activity (IASA) was defined in 2005 and documented in [RFC4071] and [RFC4371].

In 2018, the IASA was revised under a new "IASA 2.0" structure by the IASA2 Working Group, which made signifincant revisions to the IETF's administrative, legal, and financial structure. One critical outcome was that the formation, in close cooperation between the IETF and ISOC, of the IETF Administration Limited Liability Company (IETF LLC) as a subsidiary of ISOC.

As a result of the the IASA 2.0 structure [I-D.ietf-iasa2-rfc4071bis] and formation of the IETF LLC, the relationship between the IETF and ISOC has changed. This document summarises the current state of the IETF - ISOC relationship at a high level and replaces [RFC2031].

2. Philosophical Relationship with ISOC

ISOC and the IETF have historically been philosophically aligned. ISOC's connection with the IETF community has always played an important role in its policy work. ISOC has always been an advocate for multistakeholder processes, which include the technical community. Open standards are an explicit part of one of the focus areas in ISOC's mission: Advancing the development and application of Internet infrastructure, technologies, and open standards.

3. Main Division of Responsibilities between IETF and ISOC

The IETF remains responsible for the development and quality of the Internet Standards. The Internet Society will aid the IETF by facilitating legal and organizational issues as described below. Apart from the roles described below, the IETF and ISOC acknowledge that ISOC has no influence whatsoever on the technical content of Internet Standards.

4. ISOC's Role in the IETF Standards Process

ISOC plays a small role in the IETF standards process. In particular, ISOC assists the standards process by appointing the IETF NomCom chair and by confirming IAB candidates who are put forward by the IETF NomCom, as described in [RFC7437], and by acting as the last resort in the appeals process, as described in [RFC2026].

ISOC maintains liaison relationships and memberships in other Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and related organizations, which directly benefits the IETF. For example, ISOC is a Sector Member of the ITU-T. As a result, ISOC delegates are afforded the same rights as other ITU-T Sector Members [RFC6756].

ISOC also supports the IETF standards process more indirectly (e.g., by promoting it in relevant communities) through several programmes. For example, ISOC's Policymakers Programme to the IETF (usually referred to simply as ISOC's policy fellows programme) gives policy experts an opportunity to interact directly with the IETF technical community. ISOC also performs technical work using the standards developed in the IETF as its basis. An example of that is ISOC's Deploy360 program, which helps encourage and support the deployment of critical new IETF standards like DNSSEC [RFC4033] and IPv6 [RFC8200].

Otherwise, the involvement of ISOC's employees in the IETF standards process (e.g., as document editors or in leadership positions) is as individual contributors rather than on institutional grounds.

5. The IETF's Role in ISOC

The IETF plays a role in the governance of ISOC. Per ISOC's by-laws, the IETF appoints a set of trustees to the ISOC Board. The process by which the IETF makes those appointments is defined in [RFC3677].

The charter of the IAB (Internet Architecture Board) [RFC2850] states that "the IAB acts as a source of advice and guidance to the Board of Trustees and Officers of the Internet Society concerning technical, architectural, procedural, and (where appropriate) policy matters pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies". This connection between the IAB and ISOC ensures that ISOC's proposals in the policy area are based on a sound understanding of the relevant technologies and architectures. ISOC's strong connection to the Internet technical community has always been one of its main strengths.

6. Legal Relationship with ISOC

The IETF LLC was created as a subsidiary of ISOC. Specifically, the IETF LLC is a single-member Limited Liability Company created in Delaware (USA) in August 2018. The member (i.e., its legal owner) is ISOC. The IETF LLC is managed separately, makes a budget, can sign contracts, can pay and receive money, can sue and be sued, and has a board. ISOC operates as a U.S. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and was founded to support and promote the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people's lives, and a force for good in society. The Limited Liability Company Agreement of IETF Administration LLC, dated August 27 2018, is the Operating Agreement [OpAgreement] that governs the relationship between the IETF LLC and ISOC (while this document is intended as a summary of the agreement, please note that only the agreement is authoritative).

The IETF LLC provides the IETF with a separate legal existence. The IETF LLC structure now covers the IETF standards and IETF standards process, all IETF officers (IAB, IESG, Nomcom, and WG chairs), IETF employees and contractors, the RFC series and RFC editor, and all of the IETF's other business operations.

The IETF Trust, documented in [RFC5378], and updated in [I-D.ietf-iasa2-trust-rationale] and [I-D.ietf-iasa2-trust-update], provides legal protection for the RFC series of documents and other aspects of the IETF. This includes things such as protection for trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property rights. As part of the IETF Trust arrangement, IETF standards documents can be freely downloaded, copied, and distributed without financial or other distribution restrictions, though all rights to change these documents lie with the IETF. The IETF Trust also provides legal protection in case of disputes over intellectual property rights and other rights. The creation of the IETF LLC has changed the way that the IETF Trust's trustees are selected but did not change the purpose or operation of the Trust. One of the IETF Trust's trustees is appointed by the ISOC's board of trustees.

7. Financial and Administrative Relationship with ISOC

Under the terms of the Operating Agreement [OpAgreement] between ISOC and the IETF, ISOC has agreed to provide some funding support for the IETF (ISOC has historically provided the IETF with significant financial support). In particular, among other things, the IETF LLC will be responsible for creating and managing an annual operating budget for the IETF; for negotiating, signing, and overseeing contracts; for fund raising; for maintaining a bank account; and for liability insurance. The IETF LLC is managed by a board of directors, one of whom is appointed by the ISOC's board of trustees. The intention is that ISOC and the IETF LLC operate at arms length.

The IETF LCC establishes contracts with third parties to provide different types of services to the IETF. Note that it is possible that some of those services are provided by ISOC or involve ISOC staff.

Under the new IASA 2.0 structure, the IETF is solely responsible for its administration via the IETF LLC, IETF Trust, IAB, IESG, IETF working groups, and other IETF processes. A further exploration of this can be found in Section 4 of [I-D.ietf-iasa2-rfc4071bis].

8. Security Considerations

This document introduces no new security considerations.

[RFC Editor: Please remove this section upon publication.]

9. Privacy Considerations

This document introduces no new privacy considerations.

[RFC Editor: Please remove this section upon publication.]

10. Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Erik Huizer for his contribution as the author of [RFC2031], which this document replaces.

11. Changes from Previous Versions

RFC Editor: Please remove this section upon publication.

-00: Initial version published

12. Informative References

[I-D.ietf-iasa2-rfc4071bis] Haberman, B., Hall, J. and J. Livingood, "Structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity, Version 2.0", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-iasa2-rfc4071bis-01, December 2018.
[I-D.ietf-iasa2-trust-rationale] Arkko, J., "Discussion of the IASA 2.0 Changes as They Relate to the IETF Trust", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-iasa2-trust-rationale-03, October 2018.
[I-D.ietf-iasa2-trust-update] Arkko, J. and T. Hardie, "Update to the Process for Selection of Trustees for the IETF Trust", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-iasa2-trust-update-02, October 2018.
[OpAgreement] "Limited Liability Company Agreement of IETF Administration LLC", August 2018.
[RFC2026] Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, DOI 10.17487/RFC2026, October 1996.
[RFC2028] Hovey, R. and S. Bradner, "The Organizations Involved in the IETF Standards Process", BCP 11, RFC 2028, DOI 10.17487/RFC2028, October 1996.
[RFC2031] Huizer, E., "IETF-ISOC relationship", RFC 2031, DOI 10.17487/RFC2031, October 1996.
[RFC2282] Galvin, J., "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall Committees", RFC 2282, DOI 10.17487/RFC2282, February 1998.
[RFC2850] Internet Architecture Board and B. Carpenter, "Charter of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850, DOI 10.17487/RFC2850, May 2000.
[RFC3677] Daigle, L. and Internet Architecture Board, "IETF ISOC Board of Trustee Appointment Procedures", BCP 77, RFC 3677, DOI 10.17487/RFC3677, December 2003.
[RFC4033] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D. and S. Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC 4033, DOI 10.17487/RFC4033, March 2005.
[RFC4071] Austein, R. and B. Wijnen, "Structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA)", BCP 101, RFC 4071, DOI 10.17487/RFC4071, April 2005.
[RFC4371] Carpenter, B. and L. Lynch, "BCP 101 Update for IPR Trust", BCP 101, RFC 4371, DOI 10.17487/RFC4371, January 2006.
[RFC5378] Bradner, S. and J. Contreras, "Rights Contributors Provide to the IETF Trust", BCP 78, RFC 5378, DOI 10.17487/RFC5378, November 2008.
[RFC6756] Trowbridge, S., Lear, E., Fishman, G. and S. Bradner, "Internet Engineering Task Force and International Telecommunication Union - Telecommunication Standardization Sector Collaboration Guidelines", RFC 6756, DOI 10.17487/RFC6756, September 2012.
[RFC7437] Kucherawy, M., "IAB, IESG, and IAOC Selection, Confirmation, and Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall Committees", BCP 10, RFC 7437, DOI 10.17487/RFC7437, January 2015.
[RFC8200] Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification", STD 86, RFC 8200, DOI 10.17487/RFC8200, July 2017.

Authors' Addresses

Gonzalo Camarillo Ericsson EMail:
Jason Livingood Comcast EMail: