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NORDUnet IPR Policy

NORDUnet IPR Policy


Exceptions to the below policy can be granted only by the executive director (CEO) of NORDUnet or the NORDUnet Board.


  • Before accepting contributions from individuals or organizations external to NORDUnet, each individual contributor has to sign a copy of the NORDUnet Contributor Agreement.

Background: a contributor agreement ensures that a body of work has a single ownership and a single, well-understood IPR structure, and can thus be legally distributed by the owner (here NORDUnet) under an open source license. Without a contributor agreement, individual contributors retain rights to their part of the work, eventually resulting in a confusion on IPR that makes distributing the work legally impossible.


  • When contributing source code to an existing project NORDUnet will accept any existing License that complies with the OSI definition of Open Source as described in
  • When establishing Open Source projects NORDUnet will use the following NORDUnet BSD License.


Background: NORDUnet prefers BSD-type licenses, as they maximize the utility of the software to the community. However, will not attempt to dictate the license structures of projects we join, and will contribute to projects as long as the result meets a reasonable definition of open source.

Documentation, Reports, and presentations

NORDUnet retains copyright to documents, but grants others permission to use and distribute. To this end, NORDUnet documents can be made available under the Creative Commons (CC) set of licenses. NORDUnet use the following licenses:

  • Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike This is the NORDUnet default. The license allows others to distribute and to create derivatives, as long as the original work remains attributed to NORDUnet and the right to redistribute is retained.
  • Attribution No Derivatives. This license is used for official statements from NORDUnet. It allows other to distribute with attribution, but does not allow changes of any kind.

In addition, other CC licenses may be used if the situation warrants. No NORDUnet document may be distributed for the first time before NORDUnet management has decided on the appropriate license to use.

Background: NORDUnet intends reports, presentation, and documentation to be shared and distributed to a wide readership. NORDUnet also want to enable reuse of ideas, figure, presentations, etc. However, for some documents, say documents about NORDUnet policy, NORDUnet requires a “no change” policy. NORDUnet finds the CC licenses ideal for this purpose, as the licenses are gaining recognition in the community and have been developed by legal experts.

Applying the license

Offline documents:

Add a text such as “Copyright © NORDUnet A/S, <year>. This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License,” to the document cover page.


NORDUnet will grant perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide, no-charge, royalty-free, unrestricted rights to any IPR owned by NORDUnet contained in specifications contributed by NORDUnet personnel to standardization organizations (SDOs), provided that those specifications are then made available under similar terms. In the absence of an IPR policy governing the standardization activity NORDUnet will retain ownership of all IPR contained in the specification but will publish any specifications under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

Background: An SDO can function only if unrestricted rights are granted to the IPR. This ensures that resulting standards can be freely distributed. NORDUnet supports and encourages participation and contribution to standards development.

Note Well

During working meetings or conferences sponsored by NORDUnet where non-employees are present the following NORDUnet Note Well must be displayed clearly and all participants must be informed about the Note Well and the NORDUnet IPR Policy.

Background: In order for the result of workgroups and community efforts done in meetings, on mailing lists, using wikis, etc., to have a manageable IPR, it may be necessary to make it known that, say, all edits and new text entered into a wiki de facto are contributions to NORDUnet, under the same policy as contributions accepted by NORDUnet for open source software projects.