Friday, June 13, 2014

A deep look into the FAA's drone issue

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is struggling to come up with regulations to control commercial drones in the country's airspace. But the rampant commercial usage of drones continues to cloud the issue, with the FAA asserting its authority without any clear regulations regarding the use of drones in American airspace.

The problem is that drones have quickly gone from being simple toys for hobbyists to new tools for everything from law enforcement to monitoring crops to social media to even getting amazing, cost-effective high-definition aerial shots for television and film production.

Journalists, commercial television producers and filmmakers are buying or building their own drone units for just a few thousand dollars, and are quickly creating a host of new problems about what is legal and what is not in an increasingly wider grey area of aviation law that involves not only airspace safety but questions about first and fourth amendment rights protections.

New York attorney Brendan Schulman will give a presentation about the FAA's drone issues Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Schulman challenged the FAA for fining his client for using a drone to make a promotional commercial. He recently won the case, which was the first case of the FAA fining any business or individual for commercial use of a drone.

Also presenting will be Ben Gielow, general counsel and government relations manager at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International; and Parker Gyokeres, representing the recently-formed Professional Society of Drone Journalists.

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