Copyrights, Trademarks and Licenses

This document is intended to provide a basic understanding of intellectual property rights and license agreements and how they affect our organisation. Anyone involved in the creation, use, modification or distribution of data, images, video, music or recordings should read and understand these concepts.

License Agreements

A licensing agreement is a legal contract between two parties, known as the licensor and the licensee. A licensing agreement generally grants the licensee certain rights over works or technology owned by the licensor.

This may be to allow the licensee to represent themselves as an agent of the licensor or to use software in accordance with licensor regulations.

If presented with a license agreement when entering into a contract, you should always read and understand the terms by which the license is granted.

IVAO Software

Software written by the software development team at IVAO is covered by license agreements…

MTL Library

The MTL library license agreement implicitly states that the use of the MTL library is for use on the IVAO network only, however it is important to note that this license agreement does not cover the specific copyright agreements provided by the creators of the aircraft models or liveries.

The actual aircraft models and repainted liveries are not property of IVAO and their use is not restricted to the IVAO network. The authors of the models and liveries remain the copyright holders of their works.

The important issue to remember regarding the MTL library is that it will contain “some” aircraft that the copyright holders have only given permission for use on the IVAO network, therefore using the entire MTL library outside of the IVAO network is also a breach of copyright in addition to a breach of the MTL license agreement,

Many of the authors of models and repaints create their works for the benefit of the entire flight simulation community, and if requested, will most likely give their permission to use their works wherever necessary.

The MTL team are greatly indebted to these creators and the MTL library would not be as successful as it is today without their hard work and dedication. Therefore please respect the copyright of all the contributors to the MTL and the license agreement in place for the library.

  • Copyright protects the rights of authorship of any artistic, photographic, dramatic, musical, literary and visual works.
  • Copyright is attached on creation of the work, and is an automatic right and does not require paperwork, registration or an explicit statement.
  • Copyright gives the author the sole right to: reproduce the work, display the work publicly, edit or alter the work and distribute copies to the public by sale, rental or for free.
  • Giving credit to the source does not constitute being granted permission to use the works.

Introduction to Trademarks

  • A trademark is a sign which distinguishes goods and services from those of competitors.
  • It can be words, logos or a combination of both.
  • A trademark must be recognisable as a sign that differentiates goods or services as different from someone else's.
  • Trademarks seek to protect the commercial rights of the 'power' of a brand.
  • Therefore, trademark 'infringement' tends to only occur if: A) public confusion is caused when a similar party other than the registered owner uses a trademark or B) alternatively a trademark is used by a dissimilar party, however this causes reputational damage to the owner of the trademark, even without public confusion.
  • “Fair use” may be a defense on two grounds, either that the alleged infringer is using the mark to describe accurately an aspect of its products, or that the alleged infringer is using the mark to identify the mark owner.

To simplify this question, copyright infringement occurs when you do certain things with a creative work which someone else produced without first getting the proper permission.

Some examples of copyright infringement (this is only a partial listing) can include:

  • Placing someone else's photograph or creative work online without proper permission.
  • Using a creative work commercially without permission.
  • Adapting someone else's creative work found in one medium to another medium, such as making a book into a movie or a photograph into a painting.
  • Modifying or editing a creative work without proper permission.


Creative artwork (images, videos, banners etc) used for any IVAO activity (under the name of IVAO, or any functional division, department or sub-section) must be created using either:

  • Artwork created by the author (photographs, illustrations, drawings, video footage etc.)
  • Artwork that is free from copyright restrictions.
  • An image for which permission to alter and create derivative works has been granted. (The author must grant permission with the knowledge that a non-profit organisation may distribute the derivative image internally or externally.)

Images must be free from any registered trademarks, unless explicit permission has been granted by the registered owner to use the trademark.

Any audio voice communications taken from the IVAO network but be done so in accordance with the rules and regulations regarding voice communication.

Any author submitting his/her own image(s) as a whole (or part) work for IVAO is granting IVAO a license to use this image internally and externally, for free, until notified otherwise by the author.

Anybody creating, providing or using artwork in the name of IVAO (or any functional division, department or sub-section), must be able to demonstrate that all elements are free from intellectual property (copyright and trademark) restrictions if challenged.

Some Cautions

  • In most cases it does not matter how much of the material you have used, whether it's a single frame, a few moments of audio, a short clip of video or any other sampling it's still considered to be protected by copyright and you still require the owner's permission for use.
  • It doesn't matter how you obtained the material, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
  • It doesn't matter whether or not you've credited the proper owner, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
  • It doesn't matter if you are not selling it or making a profit, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
  • It doesn't matter if you can find other people using things without permission, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
  • It doesn't matter if you've edited it a little bit or made a few alterations, if it's recognizable it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.

Creative Commons License

Be aware that artwork that may be presented as free may well only be free if conditions are met. Such works may be offered under the Creative Common License please make sure you adhere to any CC license requirements.

Simply using an element that is provided under the CC license is not necessarily acceptable as there are many different levels of license. Please make sure you read the relevant section of the licenses page.

What about "Fair Use"

“Fair Use” is the notion that some public and private uses of copyrighted works should not require the permission of a copyright owner. These circumstances are very limited, complex to analyse under the law and require the help of expert advice from a lawyer. We recommend you talk to your own lawyer if you want to know more about fair use as it applies to the work you are doing.


Our aim is to fix the root-cause and educate members, not to create a hostile 'checking-up' culture. However, any 'challenges' to this policy will be handled solely by the IVAO Board of Governors (BoG.) Any member wishing to report artwork for breaching copyright or trademarks should submit evidence to the BoG ( If a breach is observed, the author will be asked to demonstrate their compliance with copyright or trademark law. The BoG will then decide whether the artwork is compliant or not. If it is not, the works will be withdrawn from all IVAO servers and services.

Please be aware that even if IVAO takes an infringing work down, we may still be responsible for very significant damages if the copyright owner decides to sue.

Back to Public Relations