A federal judge reversed a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policy that banned the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, for commercial use. The judge ruled that the FAA has no authority to regulate small UAS under current civil aviation regulations. Law firms around the country see this as a signal of ‘drone law’ becoming a major commercial interest for years to come.
Traditionally, aviation laws and regulations fell under the Federal government domain, but with the introduction of commercial UAS, Federal regulations to date can’t keep up with the advent and implementation of drones. State and local governments have been legislating their own laws to regulate drones in the interim. The legal quagmire created by mixed local, state, and Federal laws about an issue that can range from freedom of speech and press to insurance and liability has law firms scrambling to prepare specialized legal teams.
Various states may even offer differing tax incentives in efforts to attract commercial UAS usage to their borders.
Yet, perhaps the largest legal elephant in the room is the collection of personal data and information. A drone with a GoPro camera could be used for invasive methods of gathering information as the lines between consumer and private resident blur. Protecting individual privacy rights could become a major concern for UAS usage.
As the FAA’s prohibition of commercial drone use is over-turned, drones could represent a new industry similar in scope to the introduction of the commercialized internet in the 90’s according to experts. The industry is estimated to become an $80 billion business over the next 10 years. With all the legal questions, big business will need law firms to upkeep their interests as the legal landscape for commercial drones takes shapes. In short, drone law will be a major focus for corporate law in the coming years.
While the FAA is expected to issue propositions for domestic UAS usage this year, finalization and implementation could take as long as two to three more years. In the meantime, major law firms are preparing for big business’ interest in drone law.
About the Author:
Hello, I’m Blair Thomas and I’m an electronic payment expert and the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com from Los Angeles, CA, the #1 bad credit merchant account in the country. I enjoy hiking, dining and discovering new music. When I’m not working in the electronic payments industry, you can most likely find me producing and writing music. Add me to your circles at Google +