This Week in Law – Episode 312


“This Week in Law Episode 312: Neither Holy, Roman, nor Empire,” DMCA, Ashley Madison, Drones, Apple Music (July 24, 2015)

In this December 2014 Episode of TWIL ‘Game of Drones,’ host Denise Howell moderates the discussion among Drone Lawyer David Frankel, Drone Insurer Terry Miller, and Drone Business Advisor Keith Strier….

 “This Week in Law Episode 284: Game of Drones,” (Video), Howell (Host), Miller, Strier, Frankel (lower right) – (December 5, 2014)

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On January 8, 2015, the FAA issued its undated and unaddressed, general “FAA UAS Guidance for Law Enforcement” which asks local and state law enforcement agencies to collect on-the-ground evidence of any illegal use of Drones/UAS/UAV and to provide all the evidence to FAA inspectors/investigators.  Unfortunately, the FAA UAS Guidance for Law Enforcement fails to offer any statutory authorization for involving state officials, or any training or budget for training in Drones/UAS/UAV legalities…..

FAA Issues UAS Guidance for Law Enforcement,” FAA Website (January 8, 2015)




In 2014, the Drone/UAS industry drew some bright lines between ‘Small UAS’ and other Drone/UAS/UAV projects and proposed some sensible rules for the FAA to consider and adopt that are designed to promote Small UAS development, investments and industry in the United States…..

 “UAS America Fund Files FAA Formal Petition for Rule-making on “Micro” Drones, ”  UAS Vision (December 24, 2014)


The 2012 FAA Modernization Act put the FAA in charge of a fundamental disruptive technology that will impact every facet of human activity over the next few years.  Is the FAA up to the  task?….

“FAA drone approvals bedeviled by warnings, conflict, internal e-mails show,” Whitlock, The Washington Post (December 21, 2014)


If your computer webcam can be hacked, how about that Go Pro camera you just installed on your quadcopter?…..

 “The Webcam Hacking Epidemic,” Massoglia, The Atlantic (December 2014)


Some proponents of Drones/UAS/UAV believe that the FAA data is skewed because of technical reasons…..

“FAA Reports Increasing Conflict Between Drones and Civil Aviation,” Lichman, Aviation & Airport Development Law News (December 3, 2014)

“Is The Small-UAV Threat To Airliners Overrated?,” Croft, Aviation Week & Space Technology (November 24, 2014)


2014 will be known as the year when Big Law jumped into the Drone/UAS/UAV/Robotics field as major law firms and smaller aviation boutiques roll out Drone/UAS/UAV law practice groups….

“More law firms launching unmanned-aircraft practice groups,” Assoc. Press, The Daily Record (November 13, 2014)

 “Drone Practices Take Off at Hogan Lovells, MoFo,” Pierrepont, The Am Law Daily, The American Lawyer (October 16, 2014) 


2014 saw robust debate and legislation by state lawmakers around the country….

“2014 STATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS) LEGISLATION,” Williams, National Conference of State Legislatures (September 2014)


In 2014, independent filmmakers became aware of the usefulness of a Drone/UAS to cheaply film aerial shots that used to require expensive helicopter or cranes to capture….

“Drone Filmmaking and the Technological Power Shift, Fraidenburgh, MovieMaker News (August 2014)


Since a Tuscon realtor obtained an FAA Section 333 exemption in 2014, the utility of Drones/UAS/UAV for use in real estate projects has been obvious.  Realtors have been using Drone/UAS photography to help sell listings.  Real estate lawyers will need to be up to date on the state of the law to assist real estate projects that use Drones/UAS/UAV….

“Why Land Use Lawyers Care About the Law of Unmanned Systems,” Kellington & Berger, 37 Zoning & Planning Law Report (June 2014)


When a lawyer feeding frenzy starts, they leave plenty of food in the water for the other fish.  Watch as law firms vie for early leads in the Drone/UAS/UAV space and start their shark-like feeding frenzy…..

“Law Firms Vie For Early Stake In Drone Law Frontier,” Knauth, Law360 (March 28, 2014)


This webpage contains a helpful resource of Drone/UAS/UAV legislation and case law….

“Domestic Drone Information Center,” National Assoc. of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) (2014)




A summary of 2013 state Drone/UAS/UAV laws is helpful to see the development of Drone/UAS/UAV law in the US….

“2013 STATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS) LEGISLATION,” National Conference of State Legislatures (2013)


A nice summary for legal professionals concerning the development of Drone/UAS/UAV law in the US as of 2013….

“Drones: Coming to the Skies Near You, ” Kellogg, Washington Lawyer (July/August 2013)


The overlap between the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as protected by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, on the one hand, and Drones/UAS/UAV, on the other, will continue to raise significant legal issues in the years to come.  Many incidents of shotgunning neighbors’ Drones have happened (which is illegal) and Drones have been used to photograph competitive shooting sports.  Will it be legal to use Drones to drop skeet on private property?  Stay tuned….

“The Next Gun Debate? Armed Drones Could Be Protected By the Second Amendment,” Koebler, US News & World Report (May 21, 2013)


In 2013, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and I worked together on a Regulated Use of Drones portion of a Model Drone Legislation.   Much focus was put on preserving privacy and 4th Amendment rights while imposing restrictions on intrusive or abusive use of Drones and imposing a signature requirement (and in the case of private persons, $100,000 bonding)  by the person proposing the Drone use.

“The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) Model Legislation: Drones [ANNOTATED],” BORDC Working Group (April 2013)


In this thoughtful essay, Prof. Kaminski proposes that it would be better for the federal government to allow the ‘laboratory of the states’ to work out the contours of privacy issues related to the use of Drones/UAS/UAV….

“Drone Federalism: Civilian Drones and the Things They Carry,” Kaminski, 4 Cal. L. Rev. Cir. 57 (2013)




In 2012, Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson describes how, in his view, he kickstarted (no pun intended) the personal drone/DIY Drone area with a weekend project with his kids involving Lego robotics parts and a model airplane and that ‘garage entrepreneur’ feeling that is reminiscent of 1978 personal computer geek days bygone….

“How I Accidentally Kickstarted the Domestic Drone Boom,” Anderson, Wired Magazine (June 22, 2012)





In this thoughtful essay, Prof. Ryan Calo of University of Washington describes how the integration of Drones/UAS/UAV in the United States may rekindle the mental defense mechanisms that protect our personal privacy due to sheer shock factor….

“The Drone as Privacy Catalyst,” Calo, 64 Stanford L. Rev. Online 29 (2011)