New Things

cropped-logo-2048px.jpgNew things are happening.

The first new thing is the publication of State Drone Law (Second Edition). If you’re on the mailing list, you already got a free copy. (If you’re not, sign up at www.dronelawtoday.com/book and get yours). Hard copies are up on Amazon. Leave us a review there – those five-star ratings really matter.

The second new thing is that we finally have a federal preemption ruling on local drone laws. Check out the order in Singer v. City of Newton, below.

The third new thing is what comes next for this podcast. You might already have a sense of where we’re going next if you’ve been paying close attention. Tune in for a preview of what 2018 may bring.

Links for You:

State Drone Law on Amazon

Order from Singer v. City of Newton

NeuraLink Article (from Wait but Why)

 

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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

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Brian Wynne: CEO of AUVSI

cropped-logo-2048px.jpgBrian Wynne is working for you every day, whether you know it or not. As President and CEO of AUVSI, the leading trade organization for the drone industry, Mr. Wynne is working to make the world safe for drones as the federal, state, and international levels.

If you are not yet familiar with Mr. Wynne, here is an abbreviated biography:

Brian Wynne is president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics. AUVSI represents more than 7,000 members from more than 60 countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets. Wynne brings in-depth experience in transportation and technology applications gained through leadership roles with industry associations and public-private partnerships. Prior to joining AUVSI in January 2015, he was president and CEO of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), the trade association promoting battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure.

Wynne is a member of the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), a group of key decision-makers formed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support the safe introduction of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace. He is also a member of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST), which is comprised of stakeholders from government and the aviation industry that gather and analyze data to enhance UAS safety and operations. He also served on the FAA’s UAS Registration and Micro UAS task forces.

For more than 20 years, Wynne has been an instrument-rated, general aviation pilot, and recently received a commercial pilot certificate. He flies a Socata Trinidad.

Tune in for Mr. Wynne’s perspective on drone law and policy, here in 2017.

You are all so awesome.

Drone Law Nation, you are all so awesome. Thank to everyone who has clicked the “Support” link at www.dronelawtoday.com/support before doing your Amazon shopping. It costs you nothing extra, and a few pennies are thrown back our way. Enough of you have done this that we have covered two months of hosting fees. That’s huge, because it’s an indication that this podcast can be self-sustaining. If it is, then we can continue for as long as the audience is there. As long as you are there, Drone Law Nation.

Thank you all for your support.

Links for You:

AUVSI Website: www.auvsi.org

Fighting For Our Future: Our talk with Tom McMahon of AUVSI

Brent Klavon: President of the AUVSI Florida Peninsula Chapter

Telling Better Stories

Fighting to Win

 

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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

Living In the Gray

Whecropped-logo-2048px.jpgn Part 107 came out last year, I wondered whether this podcast would still be useful. I wondered if it would still serve the purpose we started with – to clear up “drone law” issues that the world seemed confused about.

With the FAA’s regulations on commercial use *finally* coming out last August, I thought that the misunderstandings might clear up. That the confusion might die away. That the community would have less of a need for a clear, trusted legal perspective. At least in a podcast form.

Two recent events have convinced me that this resource is needed now, more than ever. They have shown me that the gray areas in drone law haven’t gone away. The confusion persists – just about different things than before.

The first thing that happened was in the “Drone Slayer” case. A federal judge “dismissed” a lawsuit brought by a man who’s drone was shot down in Kentucky. The lawsuit sought a ruling from the court that drones are aircraft, just like the FAA says (but no judge has agreed with, yet), and therefore shooting down a drone is just like shooting down a Cessna.

The dismissal of the lawsuit was disappointing. A real missed opportunity for the drone industry to get some clarity on this issue.

But the reaction to this dismissal? That shocked me. People were actually making comments to the effect that bringing the lawsuit was legal malpractice.

That’s so silly. So off the mark.

Comments like that are an indication of misunderstanding. And it is those kinds of misunderstandings that we are here to clear up.

The second thing that happened was news of Bard College putting out a list of local drone laws. The reactions I saw were predictable, though disappointing. The same old lines about local drone ordinances being illegal for some reason, or that the FAA’s “preemption” of local law would be automatic and easily predicted.

That’s not true. Not even close.

Everything out there is just shades of gray. Black and white answers don’t really exist.

All of that has convinced me that this podcast is still needed. That it is still necessary to continue providing you, Drone Law Nation, with the clearest and best information possible.

That’s what we are doing here today. And that’s what we will do every quarter.

We will see you again in July.

A Note About Support

Thank you to everyone that has clicked the “Support” link at www.dronelawtoday.com/support before doing your Amazon shopping. It costs you nothing extra, and a few pennies are thrown back our way. Enough of you have done this that we have covered two months of hosting fees. That’s huge, because it’s an indication that this podcast can be self-sustaining. If it is, then we can continue for as long as the audience is there. As long as you are there, Drone Law Nation.

Thank you all for your support.

Links for You:

Part 107

Who Owns the Air?

The State Drone Law Book

Amazon Support Link

Don’t Shoot That Drone!

Section 333 and You

The Pirker Case and FAA Drone Regulation

James Mackler Interview (“Government Drones” & the Boggs Case)

Professor Froomkin: Self Defense Against Robots & Drones

Troy Rule: Drone Zoning Paper (SSRN Download)

Our brief for Angel Eyes UAV in Huerta v. Pirker

Dismissal Order in the Boggs Case

 

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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 or www.dronelawyers.com.

Keep on Flying,

-Steve

Fighting to Win

Logo 600 x 600Drone Law Nation, today’s episode is about fighting to win. Our guest today is David Daniel, the Executive Director of the UAS Association of Florida.

The mission of the UAS Association of Florida is to encourage the growth of the drone industry in Florida by fighting to prevent unnecessary and over-burdensome regulations.

And you know how they do that? Through professional lobbying.

We’ve talked before about the importance of professional lobbying to the drone industry. It is especially critical at the state level, as states are doing all sorts of things that may hinder the growth potential for drones.

The question before us is whether we want to be pitchers who control the game, or hitters who only react?

Professional lobbying means controlling the game. Pushing the agenda and changing the world by telling our own story.

If our story isn’t told by us, then who will tell it? If the grassroots base of the drone industry does not speak up, then the people controlling the narrative are those that know the least about it.

It’s time to speak up. It’s time to be heard. It’s time to join up and fight like mad for the things we believe in.

You want a drone industry that works?

Then saddle up.

Let’s do this thing.

Together.

Links for you:

UAS Association of Florida

Seth Godin: Pitchers and Hitters

Lobby or Die

Telling Better Stories

 

Listen in iTunes

Listen in Stitcher

Listen on YouTube

Listen in your browser

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

Police Drones & the 4th Amendment Part 10: Predicting the Future

Logo 600 x 600Welcome back, Drone Law Nation! Today we are back with the tenth and final part of our series on the Constitutional issues raised when police use drones.

Today we’re talking about the future. Through the lens of legal scholars who have written about these issues, we will take a look at what future cases might look like.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. 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

Police Drones Part 8

Police Drones Part 9

U.S. Constitution: Amendment 4

Villasenor: Observations from Above

Farber: Eyes in the Sky

Ohm: Fourth Amendment in a World Without Privacy

Kerr: Equilibrium Adjustment Theory

 

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Listen in your browser

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

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

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