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Re: Revised statement of policy on CIF

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <comcifs-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Re: Revised statement of policy on CIF
  • From: Brian McMahon <bm@iucr.org>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 17:34:06 +0100 (BST)
Thank you to John and Brian for your input. After some further rounds of
offline discussion, the following draft has been produced with the approval
of Syd, Herbert, David and myself. It is our intention to proceed with this
draft unless there are any strong objections, and to ask for professional
legal advice on the exact form of words that should be published.

With best wishes


                          The IUCr Policy for
         the Protection and the Promotion of the CIF Standard for
                Exchanging and Archiving Electronic Data.



The Crystallographic Information File (CIF) is a standard for information
interchange promulgated by the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr).
CIF (Hall, Allen & Brown, 1991) is the recommended method for submitting
publications to Acta Crystallographica Section C and reports of crystal
structure determinations to other sections of Acta Crystallographica and many
other journals. CIF is used increasingly in the structural sciences as an
exchange format, and is having significant influence on other fields. 



The IUCr's sole interest in the development and maintenance of CIF is the 
standardisation of information interchange in crystallography and related
structural sciences.



To protect CIF as a standard for interchanging and archiving electronic
data, the IUCr, on behalf of the scientific community,

      * holds the copyright on the standard itself,

      * owns the associated trademarks and service marks, and

      * holds a patent on the STAR File which is the basis of CIF.

These intellectual property claims relate solely to the interchange format.


The sole requirement that the IUCr imposes, through its patent, trademarks,
service marks and copyright of the CIF standard, on software purporting to
process CIF data is that the following conditions be met prior to sale or

*  Software claiming to READ files written in the CIF standard should be able 
   to extract the relevant data from any file conformant to the CIF syntax.

*  Software claiming to WRITE files in the CIF standard should produce
   files that conform to the CIF syntax.

The IUCr, through its Committee on CIF Standards, will assist any developer
to verify that software meets these conformance conditions.


Copyright in the information stored in a CIF remains with the originator of
that information ("the author") or such other body to which such rights have
been voluntarily transferred by the author. CIFs are intended for information
transfer, and may be copied, transferred or incorporated in larger data
collections so long as the rights of the author (or copyright assignee) are
preserved and respected.