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FAA cracks down on illegal use of drone-captured video - KOAM TV 7

FAA cracks down on illegal use of drone-captured video

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The Federal Aviation Administration is cracking down on illegal commercial use of video filmed by drones.

Officials say because YouTube contains advertisements, uploaded videos of drone flights are considered commercial use.

However, some drone enthusiasts argue the line between commercial and recreational use is a hazy one.

Those who sell drones say the technology is constantly evolving, with video capabilities increasingly more common.

"They handle wind just fine," said Alex Madl, employee at Flying Fun in Joplin. "They flip. They fly. They carry cameras. They take great footage."

Webb City resident Stephanie Lopes recently bought a drone for her son, and says the ever-changing regulations are difficult to keep up with.

"It really can be confusing," she said.

Madl says there are several laws regarding drones he often shares with his customers.

"They can't sell the video," he said. "They can donate it in any way they like, but no profit can be made from aerial footage with a drone."

To avoid breaking any regulations, Madl recommends flying on your own personal property and under 400 feet.

"Anything that has a camera attached to it can legally be called a drone," Madl said. "You want to keep them off private property that you don't have permission to fly over, and federal parks are illegal."

Madl says other regulations vary from state to state, and continue to change.

"They're always changing their mind on what's legal and what's not," he said.

That's why many say posting on YouTube is not worth the risk.

"Because it is such a tricky thing, I would probably just play it safe and not post anything online," Lopes said.

Those who illegally sell drone-captured footage can face fines or even jail time.
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