If you follow DroneAbove or bought my book about starting an aerial photography business, you know my stance on the legality of flying RC stuff and charging for it - it is not technically illegal but be respectful, low key, and safe about how you do it. I just read the follow article from Politico about Trappy from Team BlackSheep fighting his $10,000 fine from the FAA using exactly the same logic that the lawyers and lobbyists I spoke too used. Basically there wasn't anything the FAA could do short of suing you in civil court (and most likely losing if you challenged it). This is all playing out exactly how it should and hopefully will speed up the adoption of aerial photography rules for drones that will officially recognize this budding business opportunity.
The DroneAbove prediction is that the case gets thrown out and Trappy (Raphael Pirker in the picture below) gets credit for opening the floodgates on professional aerial photography.
"Pirker has asked a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board to throw out the fine, and a decision is expected any day now. In the meantime, the case exposes what would seem to be a rather large loophole in the law: The FAA has been saying since 2007 that commercial drone use is not allowed, but the agency never went through the official rule-making channels to make it illegal. I asked an FAA spokesman at least five times whether flying a drone for profit is illegal and, after several attempts to follow up, was told that the agency was not prepared to answer that question."
As a result, the case against Pirker hinges not on whether he was operating a drone for commercial purposes but instead on whether the FAA can prove that he was flying in a “reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.” In other words, the FAA needs to show that Pirker could have killed someone or seriously damaged a building with what is essentially a flying toy. If the agency fails and his fine is thrown out, the ruling could be taken as a sign to would-be commercial drone operators that the FAA lacks the authority to stop them—at least until it can issue an official rule, a process that typically takes more than a year."
What does this mean? Watch this case very closely and cheer if his fine gets thrown out because the precedent will be set. Until they either formally recognize aerial photography from an rc airplane, drone, quadcopter, multicopter, or other remotely operated vehicle or make a law or rule against it, you should fee fairly safe charging for aerial photography and video assuming you operate with respect for other peoples safety and property!
Now would be a wonderful to start your aerial photography business - the light is at the end of the tunnel.
I recently started hearing rumors about a rift between DJI China and DJI North America and just uncovered this press release. From the way it sounds, DJI China is acting extremely shady. I have reached out to Colin and hope that he will agree to an interview, so if you have any questions or comments you would like to direct to him, please post in the comments section below or contact me. DJI has been my favorite provider of aerial photography drones and I have flown nearly everything they have to offer.
Source / Text is from THIS LINK
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- After a three hour evidentiary hearing, on January 22, 2014, a Judge in Austin, Texas issued an Injunction against Hong Kong Dajiang Innovation Technology Co., Ltd., which is commonly known as DJI Innovations (“DJI China”), a company based in Shenzhen, China, to protect the business of Austin, Texas-based DJI North America, LLC and its minority owner.
Formed in July 2012, DJI North America was designed to serve as the exclusive North American branch of DJI China for sales of its high-end Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which are used primarily for aerial photography. After North American sales sky-rocketed, DJI China embarked on a course of conduct designed to “misappropriate DJI North America’s business in total,” the Judge determined.
DJI North America and its minority owner brought claims against DJI China for Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Minority Owner Oppression. Upon hearing the evidence presented by both sides, the Judge ruled that DJI North America and its minority owner were likely to prevail at trial on their claims against DJI China.
The Court considered evidence that DJI China misappropriated all the revenue in DJI North America’s revenue account, sought to liquidate the assets of DJI North America on New Year’s Eve, and forced DJI North America to fire twenty employees immediately before Christmas without severance. The displaced employees of DJI North America filled the Austin courtroom for the duration of the hearing and appeared visibly joyful upon hearing the Judge’s ruling.
“This injunction is a necessary victory to protect what these folks worked so hard to create. We are hopeful that DJI China will respect this Judge’s sound decision,” attorney Brad Jackson commented.
In order to stop irreparable harm to DJI North America and its minority owner, the Judge ordered that DJI China must return DJI North America’s access to its bank accounts and its social media accounts. The Judge also ordered that DJI China cease and desist from routing sales around DJI North America to identified North American dealers, which violated the exclusivity agreement.
The Judge ruled that an Injunction was necessary because DJI China was placing DJI North America’s assets in China, out of the reach of the United States Court. The Judge found that DJI China not only placed money from DJI North America’s revenue account into a foreign bank account, but it also directed DJI North America’s customers to make payments directly to a Chinese bank account.
The Court refused DJI China’s request to dissolve a Temporary Restraining Order issued against DJI China on January 6, 2014.
A copy of the Injunction and Judge’s findings may be viewed here.
The Court set the final trial of the matter for August 11, 2014. DJI North America and its minority shareholder are represented by the Law Offices of Brad Jackson and the law firm of Powers Taylor LLP, respectively.
Powers Taylor LLPPeyton Healey, email@example.com
Source: Powers Taylor LLP
As you know from my previous post, I recently took my drone out to Jaws to shoot some still pictures on a timer from my GoPro. I was going back through them and found this really cool series of a guy paddling into Jaws. This is some awesome SUP. I am from Austin and the only paddle boarding I had ever really done was on a flat lake when it was 105 degrees and in some 2 foot waves around Kihei - these guys are really pushing the envelope at Peahi!
If you know who this guy is, please let me know so I can give him some credit.
***Update: I think this insane SUPer is Kai Lenny