And the Drone Goes to …

All  of us … Happy One Year Anniversary!

This June … DroningLawyer.com … Thank you, sincerely, for your interest and time.

Now to the real headline:

Wild Rabbit Aerial had delivered the best supporting actress results envelope to Patton Oswalt, Andy Samberg and Bill Hader via drone at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards so it was only a matter of time that:

FAA Considers Approving Drones for Filming Movies.”

That’s not a cheesy way to get more readership here.  That is a real headline, which should be a breath of fresh air for certain commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) firms in the media and entertainment market.

As the article states, the FAA may be acceding to a boiling-over pressure by private “civil” UAV operators for consistent and clear rules allowing for commercial operation of UAVs. The FAA is considering granting exemptions for movie making purposes. UAV operators would bear the burden to show that the mission will not harm safety and serve the public interest.

Safety? Check.

“Public interest?”  That sounds totally objective, so okay. On second thought, does it have to be a good movie to get an exemption? Documentaries about FAA enforcement?

In any event, while this is a step in the right direction–rewarding credentialed, safety-conscience “drone” users–this seems out of sorts with the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Isn’t a movie a form of expression (yes, the Supreme Court of the United States said in 1952)? Will the FAA exempt certain movie studios and not others?

Also, it is difficult to get too excited when, at the same time the FAA “considers” allowing movie drones for entertainment purposes, it also “considers” punishing “drone journalismgenerally.

Still, this is a positive post – one year! So, while we can frown about the incremental approach of FAA UAV regulation–several years after rule-making processes were supposed to be underway–this news reflects an important extension by regulators to adapt to an important economic application of UAVs.