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All IETF documents are public documents freely available over the Internet. The IETF does get a limited copyright from the authors when the documents are published to ensure the document remains freely available (the author can not decide to withdraw the document at some future time), republishable in its entirety by anyone, and, for most documents, that the IETF can make derivative works within the IETF standards process. The author retains all other rights.
The basic publication series for the IETF is the RFC series. RFC once stood for ``Request for Comments,'' but since documents published as RFCs have generally gone through an extensive review process before publication, RFC is now best understood to mean ``RFC.'' RFCs fall into two basic categories: standards track and non-standards track. Standards track RFCs can have Proposed Standard, Draft Standard, or Internet Standard status. Non-standards track RFCs can be classified as Informational, Experimental, or Historic.
In addition to RFCs, the IETF makes use of Internet-Drafts. These are temporary documents whose purpose is close to the original ``request for comment'' concept of RFCs and which are automatically removed after six months. Internet-Drafts are not to be cited or otherwise referenced other than as works in progress.