Newspaper companies are joining the growing group of people calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the commercial use of drones.
The new York Times, Washington Post, AP, and others say that the FAA is restricting free speech by not allowing commercial drones in U.S. airspace. The FAA has been engaged in an ongoing legal battle with Raphael Pirker, who was fined $10,000 for using a drone to shoot a commercial at the University of Virginia.
The news organizations filed a brief in support of Pirker after the case was dismissed by a lower court and then reignited by the FAA. News outlets would ideally use drones to expand coverage of events, particularly those that might be unsafe to report on the ground or by helicopter, such as natural disasters. The FAA is scheduled to introduce new rules about commercial drone operation in August.
Should news organizations and other parties interested in using drones commercially be able to operate without restriction? Does free speech protect drone use in U.S. airspace? How should the FAA handle creating a set of rules for commercial drones?
Mickey Osterreicher of Counsel, Hiscock & Barclay. LLP; General Counsel, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA); the NPPA is one of the news organizations challenging the Federal Aviation Administration’s position on commercial drones; Mickey is a former journalist.