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"Commercial" aerial photo restrictions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by atomicbob, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. atomicbob

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    I'm no expert....just seeing some laws/restrictions about aerial photography, amd i'm curious...a few years ago, i get a knock on the door, I answer, to find a gal selling a framed photo of my house....no permission to fly over, or photograph my home....just did it, developed it, framed it, and brought it door to door for sale. asked $100! i paid $80!

    Now, from what I read...I can't take my drone and take photos of peoples houses and try to sell them. Maybe not even if they ask me too. Is that right?
     

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  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    No permission needed. Planes can fly over your house anytime and anyone in them can take any pics they want and try to sell them if they want. No problems and no laws broken.

    But if you are in the US, the FAA would take a dim view of any commercial use of your Phantom.
    And they have a broad definition of commercial use.
    But because their restrictions go way beyond realistic and are from back in the dark ages, there are many businesses using drones commercially. They just fly below the FAA radar.

    There's something wrong when you can fly and take photos legally but the act of selling the photos make your flying illegal.
     
  3. SteveMann

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    First, they don't need permission. The National Airspace is public domain and any pilot can fly over your home down to the legal minimum safe altitude for the environment. In the case of this photo, I would say 500 ft. What you describe was a pretty common way for aerial photographers to get a portfolio to get their business off the ground. The odds are that the pilot does not have a commercial pilot's certificate, so technically they would be in violation of the same rules against commercial flight that the FAA is threatening the drone pilots with. The irony is that the FAA never went after any of those small-time aerial photographers. They have only prosecuted private pilots who fly other people or packages "for hire".

    But, if you ask an aviation lawyer (not me), since the FAA has no rules regarding light drone use, how can they prosecute a violation of rules that don't exist?
     
  4. atomicbob

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    Don't get me wrong. I thought it was cool that they flew over my house, and gave me the chance to buy the photo.

    I'm just trying to grasp what the existing laws mean to drones and me. Using this similar thing as a tool.
     
  5. msinger

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  6. doug86

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    That is right, if you assume that the FAA has authority over your drone, then you can not use it to make money. Selling your drone photos of people's houses would violate current FAA regulations, at least as the FAA interprets them.

    There is some debate about whether the FAA actually has the authority that they claim to have. This leads to endless confusion, debates, links to all manner of websites and opinions, and brings out the web lawyers in droves.

    Perhaps the FAA can't actually cite a regulation that prevents you from commercial use, but the fact remains that they have politely asked you not to do that. So, you can ignore their request, or comply with it; your choice.