Also see most updated version of this document.
Intellectual Property Approach: Copyright and Patents
Our team believes that NDN is a viable architecture for the future of the Internet. As such, protecting its availability to all who would use it as the basis for innovation is extremely important. We agree with the principles expressed by the Mozilla Foundation in their statement of values, in particular the following:
- The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
- The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
- Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
- Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
- Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.
We believe that NDN, as a proposed Future Internet Architecture, must adhere to the same philosophy of openness that has made the existing Internet architecture both wildly successful and a fundamental advance of our lifetimes.
By openness, we mean that the standard protocols and algorithms that are the common language or “thin waist” of the future internet must be unencumbered by intellectual property claims, as has been the case for the TCP/IP protocols, HTTP, HTML, and other key components on the current Internet.
Our approach emphasizes an open source ethos for the architecture and key mechanisms, as well as the research process, but does not intend to restrict the commercialization of innovation by the project team or others. Our collaboration and management plan describes possible approaches to future governance over NDN as an open source project. Here we describe our intent for intellectual property generated in the course of this research effort.
Copyright and Licensing Approach
Copyright will be held by the author(s) and/or their institutions, per institutional policy.
- Software developed with funding from this program will be made available under one of the open source licenses listed by the Open Source Initiative. In particular, the “reference implementations” will use LGPL, Apache, BSD, or similar, to enable incorporation in both open and closed source projects.
- Documentation and technical reports will be made available under a similar open source or Creative Commons license.
- Papers and other publications will be made available on the NDN site when allowed by the publisher.
As in our previous FIA project, each institution may file patent applications on new inventions arising from the research, according to usual practice. New and existing IP may require licensing for commercial use. We do not expect IP issues to negatively impact the research conducted by the collaborating institutions in this project. Project team members may collaborate with industry and others to develop protectable IP that can spark new markets and increased interest in NDN.
However, the full potential of named data networking can only be realized through a core set of protocols that are open and cost-free. Thus we will continue to publish as much as possible in peer-reviewed papers, technical reports and protocol specifications on our web site, and open source reference software implementations. For guidance, the team will rely on current practices in the free and open source software (FOSS) community, including possibly formalizing a patent policy similar to that of W3C2.