A Federal ban isn’t stopping drone photography, according to a recent news article: instead shooters are getting around the ban on commercial use by flying and taking pictures for free — and selling only the finished, edited results of those flights.
“Valley real-estate photographers are using drones to shoot aerial shots of residential properties despite a federal ban on the use of unmanned aircraft,” reports Gannett’s Republic news site. “Using lightweight radio-controlled helicopters to shoot photos and videos that show homes in context to neighbors, golf courses and other nearby landmarks, the photographers are finding ways to work around federal rules. “Technically, I can’t charge for any of the flying,” said Luke Pierzina of Aerial Raiders. “I charge for editing.”
The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that more than 7,500 small unmanned aerial vehicles will be flying in the national airspace in the next five years.
The FAA is quoted as saying an operator of radio-controlled aircraft can mount a camera on it and shoot video for his or her personal use. But if the same person flies the same aircraft and then tries to sell the video, or uses it to promote a business, or accepts payments from someone else to shoot the video, that would be a prohibited commercial operation.