An Extensible Message Format for Message Disposition Notifications
draft-ietf-receipt-mdn-07

Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 rfc2298                Standards Track
Receipt Working Group                                       Roger Fajman
Internet Draft                             National Institutes of Health
Expires: 22 May 1998                                    17 November 1997




                    An Extensible Message Format
               for Message Disposition Notifications

                   draft-ietf-receipt-mdn-07.txt                       |


Status of this Memo

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Abstract

This memo defines a MIME content-type that may be used by a mail
user agent (UA) or electronic mail gateway to report the disposition
of a message after it has been sucessfully delivered to a recipient.
This content-type is intended to be machine-processable.  Additional
message headers are also defined to permit Message Disposition
Notifications (MDNs) to be requested by the sender of a message.
The purpose is to extend Internet Mail to support functionality
often found in other messaging systems, such as X.400 and the
proprietary ''LAN-based'' systems, and often referred to as ''read
receipts,'' ''acknowledgements,'' or ''receipt notifications.''  The
intention is to do this while respecting the privacy concerns that


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have often been expressed when such functions have been discussed in
the past.

Because many messages are sent between the Internet and other
messaging systems (such as X.400 or the proprietary ''LAN-based''
systems), the MDN protocol is designed to be useful in a multi-
protocol messaging environment.  To this end, the protocol described
in this memo provides for the carriage of ''foreign'' addresses, in
addition to those normally used in Internet Mail.  Additional
attributes may also be defined to support ''tunneling'' of foreign
notifications through Internet Mail.









































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Table of Contents

1.   Introduction ...................................................  4

2.   Requesting Message Disposition Notifications ...................  6

3.   Format of a Message Disposition Notification ................... 10

4.   Timeline of events ............................................. 21

5.   Conformance and Usage Requirements ............................. 22

6.   Security considerations ........................................ 23

7.   Collected Grammar .............................................. 25

8.   Guidelines for Gatewaying MDNs ................................. 27

9.   Example ........................................................ 29

10.  IANA Registration Forms ........................................ 30

11.  Acknowledgments ................................................ 32

12.  References ..................................................... 33

13.  Copyright ...................................................... 34

14.  Author's Address ............................................... 35























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1.  Introduction

This memo defines a MIME content-type [5] for message disposition
notifications (MDNs).  An MDN can be used to notify the sender of a
message of any of several conditions that may occur after successful
delivery, such as display of the message contents, printing of the
message, deletion (without display) of the message, or the
recipient's refusal to provide MDNs.  The
"message/disposition-notification" content-type defined herein is
intended for use within the framework of the "multipart/report"
content type defined in RFC 1892 [7].

This memo defines the format of the notifications and the RFC 822
headers used to request them.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
"SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.


1.1 Purposes

The MDNs defined in this memo are expected to serve several pur-
poses:

(a)  Inform human beings of the disposition of messages after
     succcessful delivery, in a manner which is largely independent
     of human language;

(b)  Allow mail user agents to keep track of the disposition of
     messages sent, by associating returned MDNs with earlier
     message transmissions;

(c)  Convey disposition notification requests and disposition
     notifications between Internet Mail and "foreign" mail systems
     via a gateway;

(d)  Allow "foreign" notifications to be tunneled through a MIME-
     capable message system and back into the original messaging
     system that issued the original notification, or even to a
     third messaging system;

(e)  Allow language-independent, yet reasonably precise, indications
     of the disposition of a message to be delivered.








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1.2 Requirements

These purposes place the following constraints on the notification
protocol:

(a)  It must be readable by humans, as well as being machine-
     parsable.

(b)  It must provide enough information to allow message senders (or
     their user agents) to unambiguously associate an MDN with the
     message that was sent and the original recipient address for
     which the MDN is issued (if such information is available),
     even if the message was forwarded to another recipient address.

(c)  It must also be able to describe the disposition of a message
     independent of any particular human language or of the ter-
     minology of any particular mail system.

(d)  The specification must be extensible in order to accomodate
     future requirements.
































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2.  Requesting Message Disposition Notifications

Message disposition notifications are requested by including a
Disposition-Notification-To header in the message.  Further informa-
tion to be used by the recipient's UA in generating the MDN may be
provided by including Original-Recipient and/or Disposition-
Notification-Options headers in the message.


2.1 The Disposition-Notification-To Header

A request that the receiving user agent issue message disposition
notifications is made by placing a Disposition-Notification-To
header into the message.  The syntax of the header, using the ABNF
of RFC 822 [2], is

     mdn-request-header = "Disposition-Notification-To" ":" 1#mailbox

The mailbox token is as specified in RFC 822 [2].

The presence of a Disposition-Notification-To header in a message is
merely a request for an MDN.  The recipients' user agents are always
free to silently ignore such a request.  Alternatively, an explicit
denial of the request for information about the disposition of the
message may be sent using the "denied" disposition in an MDN.

An MDN MUST NOT itself have a Disposition-Notification-To header.
An MDN MUST NOT be generated in response to an MDN.

At most one MDN may be issued on behalf of each particular recipient
by their user agent.  That is, once an MDN has been issued on behalf
of a recipient, no further MDNs may be issued on behalf of that
recipient, even if another disposition is performed on the message.
However, if a message is forwarded, a "dispatched" MDN may been
issued for the recipient doing the forwarding and the recipient of
the forwarded message may also cause an MDN to be generated.

While Internet standards normally do not specify the behavior of
user interfaces, it is strongly recommended that the user agent
obtain the user's consent before sending an MDN.  This consent could
be obtained for each message through some sort of prompt or dialog
box, or globally through the user's setting of a preference.  The
user might also indicate globally that MDNs are never to be sent or
that a "denied" MDN is always sent in response to a request for an
MDN.

MDNs SHOULD NOT be sent automatically if the address in the
Disposition-Notification-To header differs from the address in the
Return-Path header (see RFC 822 [2]).  In this case, confirmation
from the user SHOULD be obtained, if possible.  If obtaining consent


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is not possible (e.g., because the user is not online at the time),
then an MDN SHOULD NOT be sent.

Confirmation from the user SHOULD be obtained (or no MDN sent) if
there is no Return-Path header in the message, or if there is more
than one distinct address in the Disposition-Notification-To header.

The comparison of the addresses should be done using only the
addr-spec (local-part "@" domain) portion, excluding any phrase and
route.  The comparison MUST be case-sensitive for the local-part and
case-insensitive for the domain part.

If the message contains more than one Return-Path header, the
implementation may pick one to use for the comparison, or treat the
situation as a failure of the comparison.

The reason for not automatically sending an MDN if the comparison
fails or more than one address is specified is to reduce the pos-
sibilities for mail loops and use of MDNs for mail bombing.

A message that contains a Disposition-Notification-To header SHOULD
also contain a Message-ID header as specified in RFC 822 [2].  This
will permit automatic correlation of MDNs with original messages by
user agents.

If it is desired to request message disposition notifications for
some recipients and not others, two copies of the message should be
sent, one with an Disposition-Notification-To header and one
without.  Many of the other headers of the message (e.g., To, cc)
will be the same in both copies.  The recipients in the respective
message envelopes determine for whom message disposition notifica-
tions are requested and for whom they are not.  If desired, the
Message-ID header may be the same in both copies of the message.
Note that there are other situations (e.g., bcc) in which it is
necessary to send multiple copies of a message with slightly dif-
ferent headers.  The combination of such situations and the need to
request MDNs for a subset of all recipients may result in more than
two copies of a message being sent, some with a Disposition-
Notification-To header and some without.


2.2 The Disposition-Notification-Options Header

Future extensions to this specification may require that information
be supplied to the recipient's UA for additional control over how
and what MDNs are generated.  The Disposition-Notification-Options
header provides an extensible mechanism for such information.  The
syntax of this header, using the ABNF of RFC 822 [2], is




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     Disposition-Notification-Options =
          "Disposition-Notification-Options" ":"
          disposition-notification-parameters

     disposition-notification-parameters = parameter *(";" parameter)

     parameter = attribute "=" importance "," 1#value

     importance = "required" / "optional"

The definitions of attribute and value are as in the definition of
the Content-Type header in RFC 2046 [5].

An importance of "required" indicates that interpretation of the
parameter is necessary for proper generation of an MDN in response
to this request.  If a UA does not understand the meaning of the
parameter, it MUST NOT generate an MDN with any disposition type       |
other than "failed" in response to the request.  An importance of      |
"optional" indicates that a UA that does not understand the meaning
of this parameter MAY generate an MDN in response anyway, ignoring
the value of the parameter.

No parameters are defined in this specification.  Parameters may be
defined in the future by later revisions or extensions to this
specification.  Parameter attribute names beginning with "X-" will
never be defined as standard names; such names are reserved for
experimental use.  MDN parameter names not beginning with "X-" MUST
be registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
and described in a standards-track RFC or an experimental RFC
approved by the IESG.  See Section 10 for a registration form.

If a required parameter is not understood or contains some sort of
error, the receiving UA SHOULD issue an MDN with a disposition type    |
of "failed" (see Section 3.2.6) and include a Failure field (see
Section 3.2.7) that further describes the problem.  MDNs with the a
disposition type of "failed" and a "Failure" field MAY also be         |
generated when other types of errors are detected in the parameters    |
of the Disposition-Notification-Options header.
                                                                       |
However, an MDN with a disposition type of "failed" MUST NOT be        |
generated if the user has indicated a preferance that MDNs are not     |
to be sent.  If user consent would be required for an MDN of some      |
other disposition type to be sent, user consent SHOULD also be         |
obtained before sending an MDN with a disposition type of "failed".    |








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2.3 The Original-Recipient Header

Since electronic mail addresses may be rewritten while the message
is in transit, it is useful for the original recipient address to be
made available by the delivering MTA.  The MTA may be able to obtain
this information from the ORCPT parameter of the SMTP MAIL FROM
command, as defined in RFC 1891 [8].  If this information is avail-
able, the delivering MTA SHOULD insert an Original-Recipient header
at the beginning of the message (along with the Return-Path header).
The delivering MTA MAY delete any other Original-Recipient headers
that occur in the message.  The syntax of this header, using the
ABNF of RFC 822 [2], is as follows

     original-recipient-header =
          "Original-Recipient" ":" address-type ";" generic-address

The address-type and generic-address token are as as specified in
the description of the Original-Recipient field in section 3.2.3.

The purpose of carrying the original recipient information and
returning it in the MDN is to permit automatic correlation of MDNs
with the original message on a per-recipient basis.


2.4 Use with the Message/Partial Content Type

The use of the headers Disposition-Notification-To, Disposition-
Notification-Options, and Original-Recipient with the MIME
Message/partial content type (RFC 2046 [5]) requires further defini-
tion.

When a message is segmented into two or more message/partial frag-
ments, the three headers mentioned in the above paragraph SHOULD be
placed in the "inner" or "enclosed" message (using the terms of RFC
2046 [5]).  These headers SHOULD NOT be used in the headers of any
of the fragments themselves.

When the multiple message/partial fragments are reassembled, the
following applies.  If these headers occur along with the other
headers of a message/partial fragment message, they pertain to an
MDN to be generated for the fragment.  If these headers occur in the
headers of the "inner" or "enclosed" message (using the terms of RFC
2046 [5]), they pertain to an MDN to be generated for the reas-
sembled message.  Section 5.2.2.1 of RFC 2046 [5]) is amended to
specify that, in addition to the headers specified there, the three
headers described in this specification are to be appended, in
order, to the headers of the reassembled message.  Any occurances of
the three headers defined here in the headers of the initial enclos-
ing message must not be copied to the reassembled message.



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3.  Format of a Message Disposition Notification

A message disposition notification is a MIME message with a top-
level content-type of multipart/report (defined in RFC 1892 [7]).
When a multipart/report content is used to transmit an MDN:

(a)  The report-type parameter of the multipart/report content is
     "disposition-notification".

(b)  The first component of the multipart/report contains a human-
     readable explanation of the MDN, as described in RFC 1892 [7].

(c)  The second component of the multipart/report is of content-type
     message/disposition-notification, described in section 3.1 of
     this document.

(d)  If the original message or a portion of the message is to be
     returned to the sender, it appears as the third component of
     the multipart/report.  The decision of whether or not to return
     the message or part of the message is up to the UA generating
     the MDN.  However, in the case of encrypted messages requesting
     MDNs, encrypted message text MUST be returned, if it is           |
     returned at all, only in its original encrypted form.             |

     NOTE:  For message dispostion notifications gatewayed from
     foreign systems, the headers of the original message may not be
     available.  In this case the third component of the MDN may be
     omitted, or it may contain "simulated" RFC 822 headers which
     contain equivalent information.  In particular, it is very
     desirable to preserve the subject and date fields from the
     original message.

The MDN MUST be addressed (in both the message header and the
transport envelope) to the address(es) from the Disposition-
Notification-To header from the original message for which the MDN
is being generated.

The From field of the message header of the MDN MUST contain the
address of the person for whom the message disposition notification
is being issued.

The envelope sender address (i.e., SMTP MAIL FROM) of the MDN MUST
be null (<>), specifying that no Delivery Status Notification
messages or other messages indicating successful or unsuccessful
delivery are to be sent in response to an MDN.

A message disposition notification MUST NOT itself request an MDN.
That is, it MUST NOT contain a Disposition-Notification-To header.




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The Message-ID header (if present) for an MDN MUST be different from
the Message-ID of the message for which the MDN is being issued.

A particular MDN describes the disposition of exactly one message
for exactly one recipient.  Multiple MDNs may be generated as a
result of one message submission, one per recipient.  However, due
to the circumstances described in Section 2.1, MDNs may not be
generated for some recipients for which MDNs were requested.


3.1 The message/disposition-notification content-type

The message/disposition-notification content-type is defined as
follows:

     MIME type name:                message
     MIME subtype name:             disposition-notification
     Optional parameters:           none
     Encoding considerations:       "7bit" encoding is sufficient and
                                    MUST be used to maintain readability
                                    when viewed by non-MIME mail
                                    readers.
     Security considerations:       discussed in section 6 of this memo.

The message/disposition-notification report type for use in the
multipart/report is "disposition-notification".

The body of a message/delivery-status consists of one or more
"fields" formatted according to the ABNF of RFC 822 header "fields"
(see [2]).  Using the ABNF of RFC 822, the syntax of the
message/disposition-notification content is as follows:

     disposition-notification-content = [ reporting-ua-field CRLF ]
          [ mdn-gateway-field CRLF ]
          [ original-recipient-field CRLF ]
          final-recipient-field CRLF
          [ original-message-id-field CRLF ]
          disposition-field CRLF
          *( failure-field CRLF )
          *( error-field CRLF )
          *( warning-field CRLF )
          *( extension-field CRLF )


3.1.1 General conventions for fields

Since these fields are defined according to the rules of RFC 822
[2], the same conventions for continuation lines and comments apply.
Notification fields may be continued onto multiple lines by begin-
ning each additional line with a SPACE or HTAB.  Text which appears


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in parentheses is considered a comment and not part of the contents
of that notification field.  Field names are case-insensitive, so
the names of notification fields may be spelled in any combination
of upper and lower case letters.  Comments in notification fields
may use the "encoded-word" construct defined in RFC 2047 [6].


3.1.2 "*-type" subfields

Several fields consist of a "-type" subfield, followed by a semi-
colon, followed by "*text".  For these fields, the keyword used in
the address-type or MTA-type subfield indicates the expected format
of the address or MTA-name that follows.

The "-type" subfields are defined as follows:

(a)  An "address-type" specifies the format of a mailbox address.
     For example, Internet Mail addresses use the "rfc822" address-
     type.

         address-type = atom

(b)  An "MTA-name-type" specifies the format of a mail transfer
     agent name.  For example, for an SMTP server on an Internet
     host, the MTA name is the domain name of that host, and the
     "dns" MTA-name-type is used.

         mta-name-type = atom

Values for address-type and mta-name-type are case-insensitive.
Thus address-type values of "RFC822" and "rfc822" are equivalent.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) will maintain a
registry of address-type and mta-name-type values, along with
descriptions of the meanings of each, or a reference to a one or
more specifications that provide such descriptions.  (The "rfc822"
address-type is defined in RFC 1891 [8].) Registration forms for
address-type and mta-name-type appear in RFC 1894 [9].

IANA will not accept registrations for any address-type name that
begins with "X-".  These type names are reserved for experimental
use.


3.1.3 Lexical tokens imported from RFC 822

The following lexical tokens, defined in RFC 822 [2], are used in
the ABNF grammar for MDNs:  atom, CRLF, mailbox, msg-id, text.




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3.2 Message/disposition-notification Fields

3.2.1 The Reporting-UA field

     reporting-ua-field = "Reporting-UA" ":" ua-name
                          [ ";" ua-product ]

     ua-name = *text

     ua-product = *text

The Reporting-UA field is defined as follows:

A MDN describes the disposition of a message after it has been
delivered to a recipient.  In all cases, the Reporting-UA is the UA
that performed the disposition described in the MDN.  This field is
optional, but recommended.  For Internet Mail user agents, it is
recommended that this field contain both the DNS name of the par-
ticular instance of the UA that generated the MDN and the name of
the product.  For example,

     Reporting-UA:  rogers-mac.dcrt.nih.gov; Foomail 97.1

If the reporting UA consists of more than one component (e.g., a
base program and plug-ins), this may be indicated by including a
list of product names.


3.2.2 The MDN-Gateway field

The MDN-Gateway field indicates the name of the gateway or MTA that
translated a foreign (non-Internet) message disposition notification
into this MDN.  This field MUST appear in any MDN which was trans-
lated by a gateway from a foreign system into MDN format, and MUST
NOT appear otherwise.

     mdn-gateway-field = "MDN-Gateway" ":" mta-name-type ";" mta-name

     mta-name = *text

For gateways into Internet Mail, the MTA-name-type will normally be
"smtp", and the mta-name will be the Internet domain name of the
gateway.


3.2.3 Original-Recipient field

The Original-Recipient field indicates the original recipient
address as specified by the sender of the message for which the MDN
is being issued.  For Internet Mail messages the value of the


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Original-Recipient field is obtained from the Original-Recipient
header from the message for which the MDN is being generated.  If
there is no Original-Recipient header in the message, then the
Original-Recipient field MUST be omitted, unless the same informa-
tion is reliably available some other way.  If there is an Original-
Recipient header in the original message (or original recipient
information is reliably available some other way), then the
Original-Recipient field must be supplied.  If there is more than
one Original-Recipient header in the message, the UA may choose the
one to use or act as if no Original-Recipient header is present.

     original-recipient-field =
          "Original-Recipient" ":" address-type ";" generic-address

     generic-address = *text

The address-type field indicates the type of the original recipient
address.  If the message originated within the Internet, the
address-type field field will normally be "rfc822", and the address
will be according to the syntax specified in RFC 822 [2].  The value
"unknown" should be used if the Reporting UA cannot determine the
type of the original recipient address from the message envelope.
This address is the same as that provided by the sender and can be
used to automatically correlate MDN reports with original messages
on a per recipient basis.


3.2.4 Final-Recipient field

The Final-Recipient field indicates the recipient for which the MDN
is being issued.  This field MUST be present.

The syntax of the field is as follows:

     final-recipient-field =
          "Final-Recipient" ":" address-type ";" generic-address

The generic-address subfield of the Final-Recipient field MUST
contain the mailbox address of the recipient (from the From header
of the MDN) as it was when the MDN was generated by the UA.

The Final-Recipient address may differ from the address originally
provided by the sender, because it may have been transformed during
forwarding and gatewaying into an totally unrecognizable mess.
However, in the absence of the optional Original-Recipient field,
the Final-Recipient field and any returned content may be the only
information available with which to correlate the MDN with a par-
ticular message recipient.




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The address-type subfield indicates the type of address expected by
the reporting MTA in that context.  Recipient addresses obtained via
SMTP will normally be of address-type "rfc822".

Since mailbox addresses (including those used in the Internet) may
be case sensitive, the case of alphabetic characters in the address
MUST be preserved.


3.2.5 Original-Message-ID field

The Original-Message-ID field indicates the message-ID of the
message for which the MDN is being issued.  It is obtained from the
Message-ID header of the message for which the MDN is issued.  This
field MUST be present if the original message contained a Message-ID
header.  The syntax of the field is

      original-message-id-field = "Original-Message-ID" ":" msg-id

The msg-id token is as specified in RFC 822 [2].


3.2.6 Disposition field

The Disposition field indicates the action performed by the
Reporting-UA on behalf of the user.  This field MUST be present.

The syntax for the Disposition field is:

     disposition-field = "Disposition" ":" disposition-mode ";"
                         disposition-type
                         [ '/' disposition-modifier
                           *( "," dispostion-modifier ) ]

     disposition-mode = action-mode "/" sending-mode

     action-mode = "manual-action" / "automatic-action"

     sending-mode = "MDN-sent-manually" / "MDN-sent-automatically"

     disposition-type = "displayed"
                      / "dispatched"
                      / "processed"
                      / "deleted"
                      / "denied"
                      / "failed"






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     disposition-modifier = ( "error" / "warning" )
                          / ( "superseded" / "expired" /
                              "mailbox-terminated" )
                          / disposition-modifier-extension

     disposition-modifier-extension = atom

The disposition-mode, disposition-type and disposition-modifier may
be spelled in any combination of upper and lower case characters.


3.2.6.1 Disposition modes

The following disposition modes are defined:

"manual-action"            The disposition described by the disposi-
                           tion type was a result of an explicit
                           instruction by the user rather than some
                           sort of automatically performed action.

"automatic-action"         The disposition described by the disposi-
                           tion type was a result of an automatic
                           action, rather than an explicit instruc-
                           tion by the user for this message.

                           "Manual-action" and "automatic-action"
                           are mutually exclusive.  One or the other
                           must be specified.

"MDN-sent-manually"        The user explicity gave permission for
                           this particular MDN to be sent.

"MDN-sent-automatically"   The MDN was sent because the UA had
                           previously been configured to do so
                           automatically.

                           "MDN-sent-manually" and "MDN-sent-
                           automatically" are mutually exclusive.
                           One or the other must be specified.


3.2.6.2 Disposition types

The following disposition-types are defined:

"displayed"    The message has been displayed by the UA to someone
               reading the recipient's mailbox.  There is no
               guarantee that the content has been read or under-
               stood.



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"dispatched"   The message has been sent somewhere manner (e.g.,
               printed, faxed, forwarded) without being displayed to
               the user.  The user may or may not see the message
               later.

"processed"    The message has been processed in some manner (i.e.,
               by some sort of rules or server) without being
               displayed to the user.  The user may or may not see
               the message later, or there may not even be a human
               user associated with the mailbox.

"deleted"      The message has been deleted.  The recipient may or
               may not have seen the message.  The recipient might
               "undelete" the message at a later time and read the
               message.

"denied"       The recipient does not wish the sender to be informed
               of the message's disposition.  A UA may also
               siliently ignore message disposition requests in this
               situation.

"failed"       A failure occurred that prevented the proper gener-
               ation of an MDN.  More information about the cause of
               the failure may be contained in a Failure field.  The
               "failed" disposition type is not to be used for the
               situation in which there is is some problem in
               processing the message other than interpreting the
               request for an MDN.  The "processed" or other dis-
               position type with appropriate disposition modifiers
               is to be used in such situations.


3.2.6.3 Disposition modifiers

The following disposition modifiers are defined:

"error"                            An error of some sort occurred
                                   that prevented successful
                                   processing of the message.
                                   Further information is contained
                                   in an Error field.

"warning"                          The message was successfully
                                   processed but some sort of
                                   exceptional condition occurred.
                                   Further information is contained
                                   in a Warning field.

"superseded"                       The message has been automati-
                                   cally rendered obsolete by


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                                   another message received.  The
                                   recipient may still access and
                                   read the message later.

"expired"                          The message has reached its
                                   expiration date and has been
                                   automatically removed from the
                                   recipient's mailbox.

"mailbox-terminated"               The recipient's mailbox has been
                                   terminated and all message in it
                                   automatically removed.

                                   "Obsoleted", "expired", and
                                   "terminated" are to be used with
                                   the "deleted" disposition type
                                   and the "autoaction" and
                                   "autosent" disposition modifiers.

disposition-modifier-extension     Additional disposition modifiers
                                   may be defined in the future by
                                   later revisions or extensions to
                                   this specification.  Disposition
                                   value names beginning with "X-"
                                   will never be defined as standard
                                   values; such names are reserved
                                   for experimental use.  MDN
                                   disposition value names NOT
                                   beginning with "X-" MUST be
                                   registered with the Internet
                                   Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
                                   and described in a standards-
                                   track RFC or an experimental RFC
                                   approved by the IESG.  See
                                   Section 10 for a registration
                                   form.  MDNs with disposition
                                   modifier names not understood by
                                   the receiving UA MAY be silently
                                   ignored or placed in the user's
                                   mailbox without special inter-
                                   pretation.  They MUST not cause
                                   any error message to be sent to
                                   the sender of the MDN.

                                   If an UA developer does not wish
                                   to register the meanings of such
                                   disposition modifier extensions,
                                   "X-" modifiers may be used for
                                   this purpose.  To avoid name
                                   collisions, the name of the UA


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                                   implementation should follow the
                                   "X-", (e.g. "X-Foomail-fratzed").

It is not required that a UA be able to generate all of the possible
values of the Disposition field.

One and only one MDN may be issued on behalf of each particular
recipient by their user agent.  That is, once an MDN has been issued
on behalf of a recipient, no further MDNs may be issued on behalf of
that recipient, even if another disposition is performed on the
message.  However, if a message is forwarded, a "dispatched" MDN may
been issued for the recipient doing the forwarding and the recipient
of the forwarded message may also cause an MDN to be generated.


3.2.7 Failure, Error and Warning fields

The Failure, Error and Warning fields are used to supply additional
information in the form of text messages when the "failure" disposi-
tion type, "error" disposition modifier, and/or the "warning"
disposition modifer appear.  The syntax is

     failure-field = "Failure" ":" *text

     error-field = "Error" ":" *text

     warning-field = "Warning" ":" *text


3.3 Extension fields

Additional MDN fields may be defined in the future by later revi-
sions or extensions to this specification.  Extension-field names
beginning with "X-" will never be defined as standard fields; such
names are reserved for experimental use.  MDN field names NOT
beginning with "X-" MUST be registered with the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority (IANA) and described in a standards-track RFC or
an experimental RFC approved by the IESG.  See Section 10 for a
registration form.

Extension MDN fields may be defined for the following reasons:

(a)  To allow additional information from foreign disposition
     reports to be tunneled through Internet MDNs.  The names of
     such MDN fields should begin with an indication of the foreign
     environment name (e.g. X400-Physical-Forwarding-Address).

(b)  To allow transmission of diagnostic information which is
     specific to a particular user agent (UA).  The names of such



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     MDN fields should begin with an indication of the UA implemen-
     tation which produced the MDN.  (e.g. Foomail-information).

If an application developer does not wish to register the meanings
of such extension fields, "X-" fields may be used for this purpose.
To avoid name collisions, the name of the application implementation
should follow the "X-", (e.g. "X-Foomail-Log-ID" or "X-EDI-info").













































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4.  Timeline of events

The following timeline shows when various events in the processing
of a message and generation of MDNs take place:

--- User composes message
|
|-- User tells UA to send message
|
|-- UA passes message to MTA (original recipient information
|                             passed along)
|
|-- MTA sends message to next MTA
.
.
.
|-- Final MTA receives message
|
|-- Final MTA delivers message to UA (possibily generating DSN)
|
|-- UA performs automatic processing and generates corresponding
|   MDNs ("dispatched", "processed", "deleted", "denied" or "failed"
|   disposition type with "automatic-action" and "MDN-sent-automatically"
|   disposition modes)
|
|-- UA displays list of messages to user
|
|-- User selects a message and requests that some action be
|   performed on it.
|
|-- UA performs requested action and, with user's permission,
|   sends appropriate MDN ("displayed", "dispatched", "processed",
|   "deleted", "denied" or "failed" disposition type with "manual-action"
|   and "MDN-sent-manually" or "MDN-sent-automatically" disposition
|   mode).
|
|-- User possibly performs other actions on message, but no
|   further MDNs are generated.














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5.  Conformance and Usage Requirements

A UA or gateway conforms to this specification if it generates MDNs
according to the protocol defined in this memo.  It is not necessary
to be able to generate all of the possible values of the Disposition
field.

UAs and gateways MUST NOT generate the Original-Recipient field of
an MDN unless the mail protocols provide the address originally
specified by the sender at the time of submission.  Ordinary SMTP
does not make that guarantee, but the SMTP extension defined in RFC
1891 [8] permits such information to be carried in the envelope if
it is available.  The Original-Recipient header defined in this
document provides a way for the MTA to pass the original recipient
address to the UA.

Each sender-specified recipient address may result in more than one
MDN.  If an MDN is requested for a recipient that is forwarded to
multiple recipients of an "alias" (as defined in RFC 1891 [8],
section 7.2.7), each of the recipients may issue an MDN.

Successful distribution of a message to a mailing list exploder
SHOULD be considered final disposition of the message.  A mailing
list exploder may issue an MDN with a disposition type of
"processed" and disposition modes of "automatic-action" and "MDN-
sent-automatically" indicating that the message has been forwarded
to the list.  In this case, the request for MDNs is not propogated
to the members of the list.

Alternaively, the mailing list exploder may issue no MDN and
propogate the request for MDNs to all members of the list.  The
latter behavior is not recommended for any but small, closely knit
lists, as it might cause large numbers of MDNs to be generated and
may cause confidential subscribers to the list to be revealed.  It
is also permissible for the mailing list exploder to direct MDNs to
itself, correlate them, and produce a report to the original sender
of the message.

This specification places no restrictions on the processing of MDNs
received by user agents or mailing lists.












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6.  Security considerations

The following security considerations apply when using MDNs:


6.1 Forgery

MDNs may be forged as easily as ordinary Internet electronic mail.
User agents and automatic mail handling facilities (such as mail
distribution list exploders) that wish to make automatic use of MDNs
should take appropriate precautions to minimize the potential damage
from denial-of-service attacks.

Security threats related to forged MDNs include the sending of:

(a)  A falsified disposition notification when the indicated dis-
     position of the message has not actually ocurred,

(b)  Unsolicited MDNs


6.2 Confidentiality

Another dimension of security is confidentiality.  There may be
cases in which a message recipient does not wish the disposition of
messages addressed to him to be known or is concerned that the
sending of MDNs may reveal other confidential information (e.g.,
when the message was read).  In this situation, it is acceptable for
the UA to issue "denied" MDNs or to silently ignore requests for
MDNs.

If the Disposition-Notification-To header is passed on unmodified
when a message is distributed to the subscribers of a mailing list,
the subscribers to the list may be revealed to the sender of the
original message by the generation of MDNs.

Headers of the original message returned in part 3 of the
multipart/report could reveal confidential information about host
names and/or network topology inside a firewall.

An unencrypted MDN could reveal confidential information about an
encrypted message, especially if all or part of the original message
is returned in part 3 of the multipart/report.  Encrypted MDNs are
not defined in this specification.

In general, any optional MDN field may be omitted if the Reporting
UA site or user determines that inclusion of the field would impose
too great a compromise of site confidentiality.  The need for such
confidentiality must be balanced against the utility of the omitted
information in MDNs.


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6.3 Non-Repudiation

Within the framework of today's Internet Mail, the MDNs defined in
this document provide valuable information to the mail user;
however, MDNs can not be relied upon as a guarantee that a message
was or was not not seen by the recipient.  Even if MDNs are not
actively forged, they may be lost in transit.  The MDN issuing
mechanism may be bypassed in some manner by the recipient.












































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7.  Collected Grammar

NOTE:  The following lexical tokens are defined in RFC 822:  atom,
CRLF, mailbox, msg-id, text.  The definitions of attribute and value
are as in the definition of the Content-Type header in RFC 2046 [5].

Message headers:

mdn-request-header = "Disposition-Notification-To" ":" 1#mailbox

Disposition-Notification-Options =
     "Disposition-Notification-Options" ":"
     disposition-notification-parameters

disposition-notification-parameters = parameter *(";" parameter)

parameter = attribute "=" importance "," 1#value

importance = "required" / "optional"

original-recipient-header =
     "Original-Recipient" ":" address-type ";" generic-address


Report content:

disposition-notification-content = [ reporting-ua-field CRLF ]
     [ mdn-gateway-field CRLF ]
     [ original-recipient-field CRLF ]
     final-recipient-field CRLF
     [ original-message-id-field CRLF ]
     disposition-field CRLF
     *( failure-field CRLF )
     *( error-field CRLF )
     *( warning-field CRLF )
     *( extension-field CRLF )

address-type = atom

mta-name-type = atom

reporting-ua-field = "Reporting-UA" ":" ua-name
                     [ ";" ua-product ]

ua-name = *text

ua-product = *text

mdn-gateway-field = "MDN-Gateway" ":" mta-name-type ";" mta-name



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mta-name = *text

original-recipient-field =
     "Original-Recipient" ":" address-type ";" generic-address

generic-address = *text

final-recipient-field =
     "Final-Recipient" ":" address-type ";" generic-address

disposition-field = "Disposition" ":" disposition-mode ";"
                    disposition-type
                    [ '/' disposition-modifier
                      *( "," dispostion-modifier ) ]

disposition-mode = action-mode "/" sending-mode

action-mode = "manual-action" / "automatic-action"

sending-mode = "MDN-sent-manually" / "MDN-sent-automatically"

disposition-type = "displayed"
                 / "dispatched"
                 / "processed"
                 / "deleted"
                 / "denied"
                 / "failed"

disposition-modifier = ( "error" / "warning" )
                     / ( "superseded" / "expired" /
                         "mailbox-terminated" )
                     / disposition-modifier-extension

disposition-modifier-extension = atom

original-message-id-field = "Original-Message-ID" ":" msg-id

failure-field = "Failure" ":" *text

error-field = "Error" ":" *text

warning-field = "Warning" ":" *text

extension-field = extension-field-name ":" *text

extension-field-name = atom






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8.  Guidelines for Gatewaying MDNs

NOTE:  This section provides non-binding recommendations for the
construction of mail gateways that wish to provide semi-transparent
disposition notifications between the Internet and another
electronic mail system.  Specific MDN gateway requirements for a
particular pair of mail systems may be defined by other documents.


8.1 Gatewaying from other mail systems to MDNs

A mail gateway may issue an MDN to convey the contents of a "for-
eign" disposition notification over Internet Mail.  When there are
appropriate mappings from the foreign notification elements to MDN
fields, the information may be transmitted in those MDN fields.
Additional information (such as might be needed to tunnel the
foreign notification through the Internet) may be defined in exten-
sion MDN fields.  (Such fields should be given names that identify
the foreign mail protocol, e.g. X400-* for X.400 protocol elements)

The gateway must attempt to supply reasonable values for the
Reporting-UA, Final-Recipient, and Disposition fields.  These will
normally be obtained by translating the values from the foreign
notification into their Internet-style equivalents.  However, some
loss of information is to be expected.

The sender-specified recipient address, and the original message-id,
if present in the foreign notification, should be preserved in the
Original-Recipient and Original-Message-ID fields.

The gateway should also attempt to preserve the "final" recipient
address from the foreign system.  Whenever possible, foreign
protocol elements should be encoded as meaningful printable ASCII
strings.

For MDNs produced from foreign disposition notifications, the name
of the gateway MUST appear in the MDN-Gateway field of the MDN.















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8.2 Gatewaying from MDNs to other mail systems

It may be possible to gateway MDNs from the Internet into a foreign
mail system.  The primary purpose of such gatewaying is to convey
disposition information in a form that is usable by the destination
system.  A secondary purpose is to allow "tunneling" of MDNs through
foreign mail systems, in case the MDN may be gatewayed back into the
Internet.

In general, the recipient of the MDN (i.e., the sender of the
original message) will want to know, for each recipient:  the
closest available approximation to the original recipient address,
and the disposition (displayed, printed, etc.).

If possible, the gateway should attempt to preserve the Original-
Recipient address and Original-Message-ID (if present), in the
resulting foreign disposition report.

If it is possible to tunnel an MDN through the destination environ-
ment, the gateway specification may define a means of preserving the
MDN information in the disposition reports used by that environment.































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9.  Example

NOTE:  This example is provided as illustration only, and is not
considered part of the MDN protocol specification.  If the example
conflicts with the protocol definition above, the example is wrong.

Likewise, the use of *-type subfield names or extension fields in
this example is not to be construed as a definition for those type
names or extension fields.


9.1 This is an MDN issued after a message has been displayed to the
user of an Internet Mail user agent.

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 00:19:00 (EDT) -0400
From: Joe Recipient <Joe_Recipient@mega.edu>
Message-Id: <199509200019.12345@mega.edu>
Subject: Disposition notification
To: Jane Sender <Jane_Sender@huge.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/report; report-type=disposition-notification;
      boundary="RAA14128.773615765/mega.edu"

--RAA14128.773615765/mega.edu

The message sent on 1995 Sep 19 at 13:30:00 (EDT) -0400 to
Joe Recipient <Joe_Recipient@mega.edu> with subject "First
draft of report" has been displayed.  This is no guarantee
that the message has been read or understood.

--RAA14128.773615765/mega.edu
content-type: message/disposition-notification

Reporting-UA: joes-pc.cs.mega.edu; Foomail 97.1
Original-Recipient: rfc822;Joe_Recipient@mega.edu
Final-Recipient: rfc822;Joe_Recipient@mega.edu
Original-Message-ID: <199509192301.12345@mega.edu>
Disposition: manual-action/MDN-sent-manually; displayed

--RAA14128.773615765/mega.edu
content-type: message/rfc822

[original message goes here]

--RAA14128.773615765/mega.edu--







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10.  IANA Registration Forms

The forms below are for use when registering a new parameter name
for the Disposition-Notification-Options header, a new disposition
modifier name, or a new MDN extension field.  Each piece of informa-
tion required by a registration form may be satisfied either by
providing the information on the form itself, or by including a
reference to a published, publicly available specification that
includes the necessary information.  IANA MAY reject registrations
because of incomplete registration forms, imprecise specifications,
or inappropriate names.

To register, complete the applicable form below and send it via
electronic mail to <IANA@IANA.ORG>.


10.1 IANA registration form for Disposition-Notification-Options
header parameter names

A registration for a Disposition-Notification-Options header
parameter name MUST include the following information:

(a) The proposed parameter name.

(b) The syntax for parameter values, specified using BNF, ABNF,
regular expressions, or other non-ambiguous language.

(c) If parameter values are not composed entirely of graphic charac-
ters from the US-ASCII repertoire, a specification for how they are
to be encoded as graphic US-ASCII characters in a Disposition-
Notification-Options header.

(d) A reference to a standards track RFC or experimental RFC ap-
proved by the IESG that describes the semantics of the parameter
values.


10.2 IANA registration form for disposition modifer names

A registration for a disposition-modifier name MUST include the
following information:

(a) The proposed disposition-modifier name.

(b) A reference to a standards track RFC or experimental RFC ap-
proved by the IESG that describes the semantics of the disposition
modifier.





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10.3 IANA registration form for MDN extension field names

A registration for an MDN extension field name MUST include the
following information:

(a) The proposed extension field name.

(b) The syntax for extension values, specified using BNF, ABNF,
regular expressions, or other non-ambiguous language.

(c) If extension field values are not composed entirely of graphic
characters from the US-ASCII repertoire, a specification for how
they are to be encoded as graphic US-ASCII characters in a
Disposition-Notification-Options header.

(d) A reference to a standards track RFC or experimental RFC ap-
proved by the IESG that describes the semantics of the extension
field.


































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11.  Acknowledgments

This document is based on the Delivery Status Notifications docu-
ment, RFC 1894 [9], by Keith Moore and Greg Vaudreuil.  Contribu-
tions were made by members of the IETF Receipt Working Group,
including Harald Alverstrand, Ian Bell, Urs Eppenberger, Claus Andri
Faerber, Ned Freed, Jim Galvin, Carl Hage, Mike Lake, Keith Moore,
Paul Overell, Pete Resnick, Chuck Shih.












































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12.  References

[1]   Postel, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", STD 10, RFC 821,
      USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1982.

[2]   Crocker, D., "Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text
      Messages", STD 11, RFC 822, UDEL, August 1982.

[3]   Braden, R. (ed.), "Requirements for Internet Hosts - Applica-
      tion and Support", RFC 1123, October 1989.

[4]   Freed, N., Borenstein, N., "Multipurpose Internet Mail Exten-
      sions (MIME) Part One:  Format of Internet Message Bodies",
      RFC 2045, Innosoft, Bellcore, November 1996.

[5]   Freed, N., Borenstein, N., "Multipurpose Internet Mail Exten-
      sions (MIME) Part Two:  Media Types", RFC 2046, Innosoft,
      Bellcore, November 1996.

[6]   Moore, K., "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part
      Three:  Message Header Extensions for Non-Ascii Text", RFC
      2047, University of Tennessee, November 1996.

[7]   Vaudreuil, G., "The Multipart/Report Content Type for the
      Reporting of Mail System Administrative Messages", RFC 1892,
      Octel Network Services, January 1996.

[8]   Moore, K., "SMTP Service Extension for Delivery Status
      Notifications", RFC 1891, University of Tennessee, January
      1996.

[9]   Moore, K. and Vaudreuil, G., "An Extensible Format for
      Delivery Status Notifications, RFC 1894, University of Ten-
      nessee, Octel Network Services, January 1996.

[10]  Bradner, S., "Key Words for Use in RFCs to Indicate Require-
      ment Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.















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13.  Copyright                                                         |
                                                                       |
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (17 October 1997).  All Rights      |
Reserved.                                                              |
                                                                       |
This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to    |
others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it   |
or assist in its implmentation may be prepared, copied, published      |
and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any       |
kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph      |
are included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this   |
document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing    |
the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other    |
Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of develop-   |
ing Internet standards in which case the procedures for copyrights     |
defined in the Internet Standards process must be followed, or as      |
required to translate it into languages other than English.            |
                                                                       |
The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be    |
revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.          |
                                                                       |
This document and the information contained herein is provided on an   |
"AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING    |
TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING     |
BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION        |
HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF       |
MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.                   |

























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14.  Author's Address                                                  |

Roger Fajman
National Institutes of Health
Building 12A, Room 3063
12 South Drive MSC 5659
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-5659
USA

Email:  raf@cu.nih.gov
Voice:  +1 301 402 4265
Fax:    +1 301 480 6241








































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