Most commonly asked questions about the IEEE Standards Association, its programs, products, services and processes.

Copyright and Copyright Permission

Information on using copyrighted material in your IEEE standard or using material from IEEE standards in a document.



Where can I get more information about the IEEE-SA Copyright Policy?
The IEEE-SA Copyright Policy is defined in Clause 7 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws and its implementation is defined in Subclause 6.1 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Operations Manual.

View our copyright policy.

What does the term "Published" refer to within the Policy?
The word "Published" shall mean material for which a claim of copyright is apparent. Some examples are:

  • The presence of the copyright symbol on the material;
  • An explicit statement of copyright ownership or intellectual property rights specifically related to the material;
  • A stated permission to include the material in an IEEE standard;
  • A text reference that indicates the insertion of material excerpted from a copyrighted work; and/or
  • A visual indication of an excerpt from another work, such as indented text.

For more information see subclause 7.1 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws. If you are unsure whether a claim of copyright by a third party is apparent, you should treat the material as Published until informed otherwise.

What actions do standards development participants need to take before submitting a contribution?

All participants in IEEE standards development must read and understand our Copyright Policy prior to submitting any contributions. Participants shall make the Working Group Chair aware of any contributions submitted from previously Published sources and should assist the Chair in obtaining permission to use these contributions. Participants need to determine whether disclosure of any contributions that they submit to IEEE requires the prior consent of other parties and, if so, to obtain it.

Is a working group allowed to review my contributions without permission to include them in a standard?
No. All contributions submitted are subject to the IEEE-SA Copyright Policy.


Can a Working Group accept a contribution with an explicit copyright statement without obtaining an IEEE Permission Response Form Letter if the contribution hasn't been previously Published?
No. If an explicit assertion of copyright is made, the contribution has to be treated as Published.

Will I be prevented from using pre-existing material I own after contributing it to IEEE?
No. The copyright for the original material has not been transferred to IEEE, therefore still the property of the original copyright owner.

What are IEEE's rights concerning contributions not previously Published?
IEEE has the non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide rights (i.e., a license) to use the contribution in connection with the standards project for which the contribution was made.

Upon approval of the standard, IEEE has the right to exploit and grant permission to use the standard's content derived from the contribution in any format or media without restriction.

What is the Copyright Policy for verbal contributions?
Verbal contributions, as a form of expression, are not copyrightable. However, in the event the verbal expression is recorded in any way (e.g., draft standard) it is copyrightable. Verbal contributions, in their recorded form, are subject to the IEEE-SA Copyright Policy.

When do working group participants need to request copyright permission from another entity?
The request for permission should be made as soon as the Working Group is aware that it will incorporate contributions from previously Published sources (including from another IEEE standard).

All copyright permissions must be obtained prior to Standards Association ballot initiation. If new contributions from previously Published sources are included after Standards Association ballot initiation, the permissions shall be obtained prior to the next circulation.

While it is the duty of the Working Group Chair to request the permission, participants who submit contributions from previously Published sources should assist the Working Group Chair in making the request. 


What if a standard in development is based on another previously Published work or incorporates a portion of any other Published work in excess of fair use?
At the time of PAR submittal, any known previously Published material intended for inclusion in a proposed IEEE standard must be identified. This includes any previously Published work on which the standard will be based.

IEEE-SA Intellectual Property Rights must be informed immediately if a portion of another Published work in excess of fair use will be incorporated in the draft standard so that the Chair may obtain guidance in addressing any copyright issues, especially if a contractual agreement is required between IEEE and the copyright owner.

No IEEE Standards Committee, Working Group, or volunteer can develop an agreement for the IEEE-SA without the participation of an IEEE-SA staff member.

How do I request permission to include contributions from previously Published sources that are owned by another entity?
It is the duty of the Working Group Chair to make the request using the IEEE Permission Form Letters available in the myProject system.

When working on an IEEE draft standard, do I need permission to use content from an approved IEEE standard or another IEEE draft standard?
If the information in the approved IEEE standard is derived from a source other than IEEE, permission needs to be requested from that source. The source is indicated where the information is placed in the IEEE standard, and may be listed in the front matter as well.

References to IEEE standards are strongly preferred. If you intend to reuse content from an approved IEEE standard, you should first alert IEEE-SA Intellectual Property Rights. If you do copy text you should be aware that you may be incorporating technology and that there may be patent issues related to this action. 

How do I obtain permission to reprint information from an IEEE standard? What information should I include in the request?
Contact IEEE-SA Intellectual Property Rights to obtain permission to reprint information from an IEEE standard.

The communication needs to cite the specific material for which you are requesting permission detailing how the material will be distributed (ex. a seminar with overheads and handouts, a publication, or an annex to product information). The intended format of the distribution (ex: print or electronic transmission) is not necessary. The IEEE-SA will need to determine whether it will be used internally or externally and whether there will be a fee for the information. If there is an estimated distribution volume, please include this information as well.

Do I need to get permission to make a copy or several copies of an IEEE standard?
Yes. Any reproduction of IEEE standards must be authorized by the IEEE-SA. Typically, the license for reproduction of IEEE standards is based on the determination of whether it is for internal or external use. The fee for internal use reproduction is 30% of the current US list price of the standard. External use, usually for resale, is charged at 70% of the current US list price. Fees for educational use only reproduction are substantially lower than the external use pricing. Special situations are also negotiable where the circumstances do not entirely fit one use or the other. 

Do I need permission to reprint the abstract, scope or to reference an IEEE standard?
No. The IEEE-SA views the abstract and scope as publicly available information. We only request that you properly reference the title and numeric designation of the standard. When referencing an IEEE standard it may be helpful to get in touch with the IEEE-SA in order to provide ordering information or distribution availability.

How do I correctly reference an IEEE standard?
The correct title of an IEEE standard includes both its numeric designation and its descriptive title (ex: IEEE Std 1076-2008, IEEE Standard VHDL Language Reference Manual). The numeric designation begins with "IEEE Std" followed by the project number and the year of the standards approval. The descriptive text title always begins with "IEEE," which is followed by the level of standard (Standard, Recommended Practice, Guide, or Trial-Use Standard). Thereafter, the project name appears.

Do I need permission to use a table or figure from an IEEE standard in a presentation or training seminar?
Yes, permission is required for any reproduction of material from an IEEE standard, no matter how limited the amount of information is.

What if I become aware that an organization/company is claiming conformance to an IEEE draft standard?
If you become aware that an organization/company is claiming conformance to a draft standard of IEEE, formal written notification (including the company name, address, and a copy of the offending claim, etc.) should be sent to:

Secretary, IEEE-SA Standards Board
IEEE Standards Association
445 Hoes Lane Piscataway, NJ 08854

Upon receipt of the notification, the status of the draft will be verified and a letter will be sent to the organization/company indicating that the document they are claiming conformance to is a draft standard and has not yet been fully reviewed for completeness, functionality, or interoperability, and is subject to change at any time prior to approval as an IEEE standard.