Each content store associates a staleness bit with every ContentObject.

The initial setting of this bit for newly-arrived content is "not stale".

A ContentObject that has the staleness bit set is not eligible to be sent in response to an InterestMessage unless the Interest has the "answer may be stale" bit (0x4) set in the AnswerOriginKind element.

The effect is the same as if that stale ContentObject did not exist (i.e., the Interest might be matched by some other ContentObject in the store, or, failing that, get forward to other nodes).

If an exact duplicate of a stale ContentObject arrives, the effect is the same as if the stale ContentObject had not been present. In particular, the ContentObject in the store is no longer stale.

As a practical matter, a stale ContentObject should be ranked high on the list of things to discard from the store when a storage quota has been reached.

There are at least two ways for the staleness bit to be set: explicitly or by a timer.

To set the staleness bit explicitly, a local client may express an interest for the content client with the "Mark as stale" bit (0x10) set in the AnswerOriginKind element. This is restricted to local clients to limit the scope of attacks that might seek to make content inaccessible.

To set the staleness bit by a timer, the ContentObject may include a FreshnessSeconds element. The per-object staleness timer is local to the CCNx node, and starts when the said ContentObject arrives. The ContentObject becomes stale when the specified number of seconds has expired. (Note that the implementation may choose to simply record the arrival time and compute the effective staleness bit lazily.)