Times are Changing…

Logo 600 x 600Welcome back, Drone Law Nation! Today we have a bonus episode with some thank-you’s, reflection, and announcements of changes.

First, thank you all for an amazing 2016. We launched the Drone Law Course and the State Drone Law Book while continuing to introduce you to the people and ideas making the drone industry “go.”

We look forward to doing more in 2017, but to do that consistently we are changing the schedule.

Starting this month, the Drone Law Today Podcast will publish every-other-week. Our next episode will be on January 23.

Thank you for going on this journey with us since we started in 2015. We look forward to an awesome 2017, with more great things to share.

We have some great things coming out in 2017. Make sure you don’t miss a thing by getting on the email list. You can join it by downloading the Drone Revolution and State Drone Law books, or by submitting a question on our Question Collector.

Until next time, Drone Law Nation – Keep On Flying.

Links for you:

Drone Law Today YouTube Channel

Drone Law Course

Download Link to the Drone Revolution and State Drone Law books

Drone Law Today Question Collector

 

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Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Learn more about our law firm, Ausley McMullen, at www.ausley.com.

Keep on flying,

Steve

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Announcing the State Drone Law Book!

cropped-logo-2048px.jpgDrone Law Nation, you heard it here first: the Ausley McMullen Law Firm has created the first ever book addressing the State Drone Laws in place around the United States.

Sign up for our email list at www.dronelawtoday.com/book to get your copy of State Drone Law: State Laws and Regulations on Unmanned Aircraft Systems!

Joining me to announce the book is Richard Doran, the former Attorney General of Florida and my mentor in all things “drone law.”

Richard and I have worked together for years in advising Government entities and private companies on issues related to drone law.

The State Drone Law Book is the culmination of years of effort to understand the interaction between federal and state law on the drone industry. We worked this summer to compile the statutes and regulations impacting drones all across the country, and to translate that information in an easy-to-understand book.

This edition, officially announced to the Drone Law Today Email List on December 30, 2016, is our “first shot” at addressing these issues in a comprehensive way. We intend to update this book annually, and to expand it to discuss the cases on drones that are winding their way through the courts.

Thank you once again for being part of the Drone Revolution.

Let’s work together to make the future awesome.

Links for you:

Download Link for State Drone Law: State Laws and Regulations on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Richard Doran’s profile

Ausley.com

DroneLawyers.com

Our brief in Huerta v. Pirker

 

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Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Keep on flying,

Steve

Police Drones & the 4th Amendment, Part 8: Kyllo v. U.S.

cropped-logo-2048px.jpgWelcome back, Drone Law Nation! Today we are back with Part 8 of our series on the Constitutional issues raised when police use drones.

Today we’re talking about Kyllo v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court case that tells us when “new technology” may infringe on our Fourth Amendment rights. The “new tech” angle is critical here – the first court that considers police searches with a drone under the Fourth Amendment will have to read Kyllo together with Ciraolo, Dow Chemical, and Florida v. Riley to come up with its answer. This means that you should understand these cases, Drone Law Nation, as it could be your product (or client) that makes the law.

Listen in for more about what the future might be.

Links for you:

Police Drones Part 1

Police Drones Part 2

Police Drones Part 3

Police Drones Part 4

Police Drones Part 5

Police Drones Part 6

Police Drones Part 7

Kyllo v. U.S.

U.S. Constitution: Amendment 4

 

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What questions do you have about Drone Law? Click here to let us know!

 Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Download your FREE copy of “The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World,” right here: CLICK FOR BOOK!

Learn more about our law firm, Ausley McMullen, at www.ausley.com.

Keep on flying,

Steve

What Technology Wants

Logo 600 x 600What Technology Wants is an important book. Its author, Kevin Kelly, is a sage.

Mr. Kelly is the rarest of authors: a futurist that is consistently right, consistently insightful, and willing to share the wildest reaches of his mind with the rest of us.

This book is both about what technology is and what it will be. These sound like simple questions, but they aren’t. Not by a long shot.

So what is technology?

It’s everything.

It’s the nest that a bird makes.

It’s the clothes that you’re wearing.

It’s the books on your shelf.

It’s your shelf.

 

Technology is what living things make.

And according to Kevin Kelly?

Technology is as inevitable as evolution itself.

His idea is that technology – in all its forms – is an extension of biological evolution. And that biological evolution is itself an extension of the universe’s coalescence from energy into matter into planets into stars and, ultimately, into the world we live in.

He doesn’t stop there.

He also argues that intelligencesentience – awareness of oneself and the environment and the ability to make choices – is inevitable, too. An example of this is the independent evolution of the type of “charismatic intelligence” we find in ourselves. We are not the only beings with glimmers of this kind of life – it happened independently in whales and birds, too. (Not all birds, of course – sparrows seem quite dumb. But ravens? Ravens know what’s up. So too with dolphins – didn’t Douglas Adams teach us that? I have no comment on the narwhal.)

His arguments are compelling. And they are immediately relevant to the world of drones.

Drones exist within a robotics and computing ecosystem. They are flying robots. They are run with computer “brains.” Any advances in artificial intelligence will find their way into drones.

What does that mean for us? Will the flying robots like us? What does that even mean?

Though the immediate answer is “nobody knows,” we can’t stop there. That’s a cop-out. That’s refusing to think in order to spare your brain the pain.

We can do better than that, Drone Law Nation.

We can run straight at these problems and grapple with them.

We can wrestle with them in the night like Jacob and the angel of God.

And the main problem, to my mind, is not simply the advance of technology and automation as applied to traditionally human endeavors. It’s in the advance of artificial intelligence to the point where it looks, sounds, and feels just like ours.

And then what?

What happens then?

What do we do? What does law look like?

In fact, law itself is a technology – it’s an operating system for society. How will the technology of our legal system adjust to the rise of machines with human-level intelligence? (whatever human-level intelligence might mean).

Kevin Kelly is ultimately optimistic. He views technology as a liberating force, not in the sense of removing perceived “oppression,” but rather in the sense of creating new options for human talents to emerge.

For example, what is Mozart without the piano? What is Van Gogh without cheap oil paint? What is Michelangelo without the tools to carve marble? What is Daft Punk without a synthesizer?

In Kelly’s view, the result of artificial intelligence – whatever that might look like – is a net win for humanity because previously unseen (and unavailable options) will become available to us. What might those be? It’s impossible to say in advance.

In fact, it’s usually impossible to say in advance what the net effect of new technology will be. One example in the book is the development of the “horseless carriage” – the cars we take for granted. From our perspective, it’s obvious that cars mean streets and traffic lights and traffic deaths and suburban houses and interstate highways and whole industries spinning out of our efforts to make the system work.

But at first? None of that was visible. All the people could see back then was the fact that cars could be faster than horses, and that they would not fill the streets with their crap. The “horse manure crisis” was a real environmental concern – people back then were legitimately worried that New York would be buried in dung if the rate of horse usage kept increasing.

The ecosystem that grew up around cars was only obvious after the technology was everywhere.

This will be the case with robots. This will be the case with drones. This will be the case with robots and drones that run on artificial intelligence.

These are the kinds of questions that Kevin Kelly wrestles with in What Technology Wants. He spent years writing this treasure of a book, and this review cannot do it justice.

This book is a necessary read for anyone that wants to understand where the future is going. And I think that’s you, Drone Law Nation.

Read it through and think about what the future might hold. And let us know what that future looks like in your mind.

Who knows? You might have the perspective that unlocks everything.

Share the wisdom. Share the love.

Let’s go win the future.

And while you do that,

Keep On Flying.

Links for you:

What Technology Wants (Kevin Kelly)

The Inevitable (Kevin Kelly)

www.kk.org

James Altucher Podcast interview of Kevin Kelly

Christian Transhumanist Podcast interview of Kevin Kelly

The Turing Test

DLT: Our First “Drones and AI” Episode

DLT: Drones and AI – Interview with Matt Scherer

“The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894”

 

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Listen on YouTube

Listen in your browser!

 

Follow @DroneLawToday on Twitter!

What questions do you have about Drone Law? Click here to let us know!

 Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Download your FREE copy of “The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World,” right here: CLICK FOR BOOK!

Check out the FREE Drone Law Course at www.dronelawtoday.com/course!

Learn more about our law firm, Ausley McMullen, at www.ausley.com.

Keep on flying,

Steve

Lobby or Die

l-or-die

Some people say “lobbyist” like a curse word. Like something awful. Like something evil.

That way of thinking? It’s a lie.

Lobbying is standing up for yourself. It’s advocacy.

It’s growing up and fighting the fight.

That thought in the air that lobbying is “bad?”

It’s time to get over that, Drone Law Nation.

Today’s episode is an experiment. I’m reading an article that I wrote in November, 2015. An article about why the drone industry must Lobby or Die.

The particulars of the drone world are different in 2016, but the spirit is the same.

Join or Die.

Lobby or Die.

Make something happen, or the world will happen to you.

Let’s choose to get real. Let’s choose to face the world as it is. Let’s fight the battle in front of us with smiles on our faces and confidence in our hearts.

Let’s go win the world.

Links for you:

Original “Lobby or Die” Article on LinkedIn Pulse

 

Listen in iTunes!

Listen in Stitcher!

Listen on YouTube!

Listen in your browser!

 

Follow @DroneLawToday on Twitter!

What questions do you have about Drone Law? Click here to let us know!

 Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Download your FREE copy of “The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World,” right here: CLICK FOR BOOK!

Check out the FREE Drone Law Course at www.dronelawtoday.com/course!

Learn more about our law firm, Ausley McMullen, at www.ausley.com.

Keep on flying,

Steve

Text of the Original Article (Published November, 2015):

Join or Die!

Those were Ben Franklin’s words to the colonies in 1754. If they didn’t unite in common defense, their cities would burn. Their children would die. Invaders would wreck everything they built.

The drone industry faces similar stakes, right now.

The invading army isn’t the French, though. It’s state regulation.

Don’t believe me? You will soon.

The drone world is hyper-focused on the FAA right now. That makes sense, as the FAA is drafting rules to govern commercial operation of small drones in the National Airspace System.

People seem to think that once these rules are out commercial drone companies will have smooth sailing nationwide.

This is not the case.

In state legislatures across the nation, laws are being proposed that could kill the drone industry.

How could this be? Isn’t the FAA in charge of drones?

Yes, it is. But only in part.

The FAA’s job is to determine how drones can fly safely.

The FAA will have next to nothing to say about what can be done with a drone during an otherwise safe flight.

States will have everything to say about that. And what they say could kill the drone industry.

Let’s take an example. Suppose that “Drone Company” has a business plan to deliver “Application X” to customers. Imagine that Application X will deliver huge value to customers in ways that have never been seen before.

This is not hard to imagine. These kinds of million-dollar applications are par for the course for modern drone companies. The innovation in this field is amazing. Drones are set to make our lives much better – from saving lost children to creating on-demand, 3-D surveys of construction projects. Let your mind go wild with the possibilities.

Let’s say that Drone Company’s biggest potential market for Application X is in “State Y.” Now imagine that in State Y, a lawmaker decides that drones are “public enemy number 1.” So that lawmaker proposes a law making Application X a crime!

Then what happens? If the law passes, Drone Company is completely out of business. This is so even if Drone Company follows the FAA rules perfectly.

What can Drone Company do? It’s just one company. What’s one voice against a chorus of people who don’t understand drones? How can one company overcome a crowd that’s terrified of new technology?

If Drone Company works alone, it’s dead. The huge value it could’ve delivered will be killed in the cradle.

Join or Die.

That was Ben Franklin’s message in 1754. If the colonies did not fight together, their world would fall apart.

For drone companies today, there is only one way to deal with the threat of ill-conceived state regulation.

Lobby or Die.

Drone companies must join together to lobby their state legislatures. If they don’t, the drone industry will die a death by 1000 cuts.

This isn’t an exaggeration. It’s HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

I’ve written before about Florida’s (awful) drone laws. I won’t repeat myself. You can read about them here and here.

Florida’s experience is not unique. Awful drone laws are being passed around the country. Some, like the recent ones in California, were vetoed before they became law.

The California experience is instructive. The bills would have made most drone operations in California impossible. But the Governor vetoed the worst of them.

Why did he do that? Did he have a magic flash of insight? Does he read all the drone blogs?

OF COURSE NOT.

The California bills were vetoed because drone companies stood up and lobbied for their lives.

If they hadn’t done that, they’d be dead. Dead right now. California would be a dead zone for drone operations.

California’s share of the $82 billion drone industry? GONE. Maybe gone forever.

But that didn’t happen. The California drone industry came together. They lobbied their government successfully. They Saved the Day!

Lobby or Die.

It’s really that simple.

But what do I mean by “lobby?” Do I mean “paying off lawmakers”? Isn’t “lobbying” sort of evil?

Of course not!

Lobbying is a profession like any other. It’s a hugely important one, too. You pay lobbyists for their deep knowledge of the “process” in the state capitol, their key relationships built over many years, and their ability to see government action coming before anyone else.

With the right lobbyist in the right place, your industry can have a much bigger impact than you might think.

This is not a pitch for you to hire me, by the way. I’m not a lobbyist. There are lobbyists in my firm, but so what? I don’t care WHO gets hired to lobby drone issues in Florida.

I just care that SOMEBODY is. Preferably, several somebodies.

Why?

Because this is critically important. It’s important in Florida, it’s important in California, it’s important everywhere.

The Drone Industry must work together. Professional lobbyists must be hired.

Self-help lobbying is good too. It’s better than nothing. Coordinated calls to legislators are useful ways to help kill bad legislation.

But it’s hard to play offense without a quarterback. The drone industry won’t get “good” state laws passed without a coordinated, professional effort.

Don’t blame me for saying this.

It’s just the truth.

All is not “doom and gloom,” though. State drone laws are a threat to the industry, for sure.

But they aren’t just a threat.

They’re also a huge opportunity.

If your state is drone-friendly, billions of dollars in economic development can flow your way.

The world of “drone law” is the wild west right now. But you know what that means? It means it’s a frontier. A frontier we can shape any way we want.

So here’s your call to action.

Find your allies. Join industry groups where other drone companies hang out (AUVSI is the gold standard, but others are out there). Find ways to pool your resources and make the case to your state lawmakers.

You don’t have to go at it blind. I’ve got some suggestions on how to start a lobbying effort in my book that you can get for free right here (lobbying information starts on page 35).

Our states are laboratories of democracy. Each state gets to try different things. The best ideas usually catch on.

The impact you have on your state could ripple out across the country. You can change the world.

Act local, think global.

Join or Die.

It’s as true now as it was in 1754.

So get to it!

Go make a dent in the world.

Keep on flying,

Steve

President Trump, Drones, and Your Questions

Logo 600 x 600What will federal drone policy look like under the Trump administration? What policy choices might carry over from the Obama administration’s approach? What might change?

How does the commercial drone industry fit into the president-elect’s ideas about promoting U.S. industry and job creation?

What effect could a policy shift on “1099 contractors” have for the commercial drone industry? What is it about the current federal approach to “independent contractors” that creates potential problems for small businesses?

Will Presidential “TFRs” (Temporary Flight Restrictions) be a problem for drone operators near Trump-owned properties?

All this and your questions, in today’s episode.

Listen in for the good stuff.

Links for you:

Lisa Ellman Interview

Chris Proudlove Interview

Jonathan Rupprecht Interview

Global Aerospace White Paper: UAS Industry Growth

FAA Presidential TFR Regulation

FAA TFR Guidance

IRS 1099 Contractor Guidance

 

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Follow @DroneLawToday on Twitter!

What questions do you have about Drone Law? Click here to let us know!

 Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Download your FREE copy of “The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World,” right here: CLICK FOR BOOK!

Check out the FREE Drone Law Course at www.dronelawtoday.com/course!

Learn more about our law firm, Ausley McMullen, at www.ausley.com.

Keep on flying,

Steve

Fighting for the Future: Our Talk with Tom McMahon of AUVSI

Logo 600 x 600Tom McMahon is at the cutting edge of drone law in the U.S. As Vice President of Advocacy and Public Relations with AUVSI, Tom is working every day to advance common-sense drone policy in Washington, D.C.

AUVSI is the nation’s oldest and largest trade association for the unmanned vehicle industry. AUVSI’s local chapters are located all around the country, as the organization brings together dedicated industry professionals to work for the common good.

I joined AUVSI in 2013 when I went to its trade show, which was then hosted in Washington, D.C. I still count the connections I made there as some of the most important in my career. The annual show, now branded as XPonential, is the only event that I’m sure to go to each year.

The mix of people that AUVSI brings together is unmatched in variety, quality, and overall passion for the future of the industry.

It’s at AUVSI that I met the people who are fighting for the future of the drone industry.

Tom joined the show to discuss what AUVSI is doing at the national and state level, the importance of state and federal policy for the drone industry, and upcoming issues that we should all be aware of.

Listen in for the latest, and for more on what tomorrow might bring.

Links for you:

AUVSI Website

XPonential 2017 (the trade show in Dallas next year)

 

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Listen in Stitcher!

Listen in your browser!

Follow @DroneLawToday on Twitter!

What questions do you have about Drone Law? Click here to let us know!

Nothing in this podcast is legal advice! Please don’t make legal decisions for yourself or your business before consulting counsel of your choice.

Download your FREE copy of “The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World,” right here: CLICK FOR BOOK!

Check out the FREE Drone Law Course at www.dronelawtoday.com/course!

Learn more about our law firm, Ausley McMullen, at www.ausley.com.

Keep on flying,

Steve