Post Drone Videos on YouTube At Your Risk

Surely sharing is fun, so what better way than to post your amazing drone videos on YouTube; yet if you do, you run the risk of the FAA coming after you, just like what they did to a drone hobbyist.

DJI Phantom Vision Drone Photo Credit: thomasrdotorg

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On the New York Daily News it was reported:

Jayson Hanes, a drone hobbyist, was issued a cease-and-desist letter from the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday that warned him he’d violated drone regulations by using drones for commercial use without proper authorization.

The FAA letter read:

“This office has received a complaint regarding your use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (aka drone) for commercial purposes referencing your video on the web site Youtube.com as evidence. Read more here

However, it was also reported that the FAA “backpedaled” after sending Hanes the letter.

According to the report, ….the FAA made a statement to Vice’s Jason Koebler that it would investigate itself. “The FAA’s goal is to promote voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws,” the agency said. “The FAA’s guidance calls for inspectors to notify someone with a letter and then follow up. The guidance does not include language about advertising. The FAA will look into the matter.”
Read more at:

Jason Koebler in his own article on Motherboard took note of the confusion generated by FAA’s distinction between hobby and commercial use of drones:

Where, exactly, does commercial use begin and hobby use end, for instance? If you fly for fun, but happen to sell your footage later, were you flying for a “commercial purpose?” What if you give it to a news organization that runs it on a television station that has ads on it? What if you upload it to YouTube and Google happens to put an ad on it? What if you decide to put an ad on it?

The letter makes clear that at least some in the FAA (this one was sent by Michael Singleton, an aviation safety inspector in the FAA’s Tampa office) take a very wide view of what is “commercial.”

Read more here:

Thus, even amateur aerial photographers enjoying using drones for rendering uav aerial photography services only for family and friends cannot post their priceless drone videos without a visit or notification from the FAA.

Some drone users argue that the FAA is not presently within legal bounds to issue such cease-and-desist order for there are still no official regulations in place, only proposed rules.

 

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