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Ways to Profit Off Drones WITHOUT Charging Clients?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by airwolfe777, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. airwolfe777

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    Hello all, I am new to the forum. I do some stock footage and I do okay on Shutterstock and Pond5 - between $250 and $550 a month between both sites. I am about to buy the DJI Phantom 2 - I think that's what it is called! I live in Colorado and there are tons of great outdoor places to shoot. Is there anything I need to be aware of as far as going out, lets say into a forest and buzzing atop a mountain stream and then selling the footage? This is legal I assume? I know, if I was to film buildings or let's say I went to a mountain biking race and filmed it - It would need to be either editorial or I'd need model releases and a release from the event/property people.

    I read the other person's posts about charging for Real Estate photography and it sounds a bit complicated, not sure if I would venture into that. BUT are there other ways you can let me know about to profit off of my drone footage that wouldn't involve charging clients? Would love your feedback!

    Best,

    Michael-John Wolfe
     
  2. 480sparky

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    Don't charge for the USE of your bird. Charge for the resulting IMAGE.
     
  3. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Let's be clear. You can put anything you want on your invoice. If you used the quad as a tool in the process for compensation, you are using that tool in a commercial capacity. You're just obfuscating that fact.
     
  4. dkr77573

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    Maybe you could upload the footage to YouTube as public domain and ask the person who intends to use it for donations. Of course, if they don't pay; you would have no legal recourse other than to live with that fact.

    There's also the question of whether the person who downloads and uses the video for their own commercial use is in violation of that rule. At least you've passed that issue on to them by making it public.

    BTW, I'm not a lawyer. So, I don't know if this is a valid method.
     
  5. OI Photography

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    +1

    None of this creative bookkeeping will keep the FAA or other entities off your back if/when they go on a witchhunt.
     
  6. SteveMann

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    Ianwood has it correct. You can try to obfuscate the activity, but the bottom line is, if you receive compensation either directly or indirectly the FAA still considers it a flight for compensation. Just stay off their radar.
     
  7. hotstink626

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    This is where every air inforcement agency around the world rules break down or as you would say that grey area ... directly no one has commission you to do aerial work you just took some pictures of a tree or a rock posted them on the Internet all of which is legal .
    But the part that makes it hard is when money changes hand.. not only is it hard for say the faa to try get you on that the tax man him self is struggling to get there cut... now just to f them up more the wonderful world of the Internet has started to create its own currency such as bitcoin (google it if you don't know what it is).. maybe will go back to trading goats and sheep for reward ... but hey maybe they got that covered to... rule 101cb23: No goat credit for aerial work unless certified to do so ....
     
  8. Dimzin

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    Personally "If" I was in a position to sell a video/photos to someone that wanted them, I'd not go about it directly.
    quite simply the interested party would be given a gift of their pictures/videos after buying saaaaay, a piece of (realllly expensive) gum from me.
    ;-)
    -D-
     
  9. CallMeAlan

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    Just casually remark that it's outrageous the way people keep loose money in their pocket and lose it. Then a moment later act surprised when you find a couple of twenties on the ground - if the client understands where you're coming from!
     
  10. AerialCinemaGuy

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    The way we do it is to bill for the production vehicle (my suburban) not for the shooting, It's a very nice suburban so $2k per day is fair...
     
  11. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    As has already been mentioned by some earlier posters on this thread, all the people coming up with these lame schemes pretending the charge is for something else haven't got a leg to stand on and are only fooling themselves.
    The FAA is not that dumb.

    The FAA has consistently defined commercial operation in terms of whether the operator receives direct or indirect payment for the operation. It is not necessary that the operation be conducted for profit or even that there be any intent or ability to make a profit. The compensation is not just limited to monetary payments but includes anything of value. This broad definition of compensation has been affirmed and adopted by both the NTSB and the federal courts. Administrator v. Roundtree, 2 NTSB 1712 (1975); Administrator v. Mims, NTSB Order No. EA-3284, review denied 988 F.2d 1380; Consolidated Flower Shipments, Inc., Bay Area, 16 C.A.B. 804 (1953), aff'd. 213 F.2d 814 (2nd Cir. 1954).
     
  12. hotstink626

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    yep reminds me of the old Prohibition days and we all know how that went down :roll: