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(Aero-News Newwork)   "News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right"   (aero-news.net) divider line 44
    More: Interesting, First Amendment, misdemeanors, National Press  
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3039 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 May 2014 at 10:50 AM (11 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-08 10:24:46 AM
"The FAA's position is untenable as it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding about journalism," the brief says. "News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right."

The FAA's position doesn't care about whether news gathering is a First Amendment right or whether taking photographs as a contractor counts as a business purpose. They're focused on the whole "flying things around other flying things without a license" bit.
 
2014-05-08 10:53:52 AM
Bullshiat.
All news is bought and sold nowadays.
It's a commodity and nobody has to buy it.

The press is free but speech is not.
Speech costs money and corporations are people and you better only do that free speech thing if you bought the space in which to do it or in a designated free speech zone.

Don't get uppity, serfs.
 
2014-05-08 10:54:35 AM
"News Gathering" is all done via wire now. Press releases are generally sent via e-mail.

This would just be preventing paparazzi and tabloid-level snooping.
 
2014-05-08 10:55:19 AM
Whatever happens .. you .. will lose and Big Money will win.

Now, go get the lube ..
 
2014-05-08 10:55:25 AM

Theaetetus: "The FAA's position is untenable as it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding about journalism," the brief says. "News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right."

The FAA's position doesn't care about whether news gathering is a First Amendment right or whether taking photographs as a contractor counts as a business purpose. They're focused on the whole "flying things around other flying things without a license" bit.


Flying things around other things is simple performance art. And as we all know, all performance art is protected speech.

/You lose again. Good day!
 
2014-05-08 10:57:24 AM
Only the government can observe. Make no mistake.
 
2014-05-08 11:05:30 AM
"Pirker has been fined $10,000 for using a UAV to shoot parts of a commercial near the University of Virginia. "


Journalism & free speech?
 
2014-05-08 11:09:35 AM
Several UAV/UAS/ Drone user groups are noting these rulings, as well as the one banning UAV's at Yosemite. There is a large cohort of UAV flyer/pilots who would be happy to be examined/licensed and to fly responsibly. There is also a cohort that buys a drone, unboxes it, does not read instructions/cautions, gets advice from no one, and flies them into buildings in St. Louis, drops them on tri-athletes, buzzes public crowds, blocks peoples views of quiet nature, etc.  There has to be a way to regulate/punish/discourage the yahoos, while letting the rest of us fly.
In terms of not flying things into other flying things, most of us recognize that UAVs should not be flown around aircraft. DJI's newest software upgrade for the Phantom line includes a basic database of restricted airspace in the US, and blocks the UAV from flying there based on GPS.
 
2014-05-08 11:10:23 AM
The FAA has the authority to regulate the airspace all the way from the upper limits of flight down to the soil or water.   You don't have a 1st amendment right to fly your manned or unmanned helicopter wherever the heck you want, whether you are engaged in "journalism" or not.   There are broader safety issues that are far more important than your ability to sneak up on Snookie's wedding with robotic flying camera.
 
2014-05-08 11:11:03 AM
"News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right."

Came here to say: "The FAA has not a 'business purpose.'  It has an air safety purpose."

But Theaetetus said it first.
 
2014-05-08 11:11:29 AM

ThunDERPipes: Only the government can observe. Make no mistake.

 
2014-05-08 11:12:06 AM

Theaetetus: "The FAA's position is untenable as it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding about journalism," the brief says. "News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right."

The FAA's position doesn't care about whether news gathering is a First Amendment right or whether taking photographs as a contractor counts as a business purpose. They're focused on the whole "flying things around other flying things without a license" bit.


"Legitimate government interest" in not having things fall down go boom. Question is, under what rational basis can you ban a "business purpose" flying thing as opposed to a "recreational" flying thing when there's no practical difference in the two flying things? What's the difference between a hobbyist sticking a GoPro on his quadcopter and a videographer sticking a GoPro on the same quadcopter? The fact that the videographer sells the footage after the thing isn't flying any more? That can't stand up.

Of course, all of this presumes that taking video from a flying thing actually is going to count as protected under the 1st Amendment.
 
2014-05-08 11:12:47 AM
I'm at a loss here and going to claim ignorance. Do you have to get some sort of license to fly a remote controlled airplane? I no clue. Wwhat would be the difference between a regular remote airplane and a "UAV", what about a regular remote helicopter?
 
2014-05-08 11:15:43 AM

jaybeezey: I'm at a loss here and going to claim ignorance. Do you have to get some sort of license to fly a remote controlled airplane? I no clue. Wwhat would be the difference between a regular remote airplane and a "UAV", what about a regular remote helicopter?


No license, training required at all. Unfortunately, no common sense either.
 
2014-05-08 11:30:11 AM

HotIgneous Intruder: The press is free but speech is not.


I think you actually have that backwards. Speech is free but the press  is not. I can babble, blog, and comment all I want. But the media machinery that lets others know that it's there and, more importantly, convinces people that they should give a shat about it, THAT cost money.
 
2014-05-08 11:30:31 AM
The press isn't exempt from the law of the land. That privilege belongs to Hobby Lobby.
 
2014-05-08 11:31:33 AM

jaybeezey: I'm at a loss here and going to claim ignorance. Do you have to get some sort of license to fly a remote controlled airplane? I no clue. What would be the difference between a regular remote airplane and a "UAV", what about a regular remote helicopter?


I assume there is a distinction, but you'd have to look at the regs in question to know where the line is drawn.  Most statutes like this have a "definition" section of sorts, either within the statute itself or compiled in another part of the code, that would tell you what does and does not fall under the heading of "UAV."
 
2014-05-08 11:31:59 AM

jaybeezey: I'm at a loss here and going to claim ignorance. Do you have to get some sort of license to fly a remote controlled airplane? I no clue. Wwhat would be the difference between a regular remote airplane and a "UAV", what about a regular remote helicopter?


My understanding is that the FAA currently allows "hobbyists" to fly an R/C plane, but the R/C plane can't be used for a "business purpose". A huge part of the problem with this is that the FAA has no consistency whatsoever in determining what is and isn't a "business purpose", nor any way for somebody to get licensed if they do want to fly an R/C plane for a business purpose. Someone else might come along and correct this with more info, but it's basically a self-made clusterfark by the FAA because they won't actually make any rules or clean up the definitions, despite people asking for them for the last 20 years.
 
2014-05-08 11:34:36 AM
Was playing tennis on some club courts and a UAV helicopter was overhead.  As remote controlled helicopters constructed and flown by people who have no idea what they're doing tend to do, it basically squirreled in a half circle moving east until it ran out of range of their controller, dropping with a bank onto the parking lot solar panels rather than on someone's unsuspecting skull.

I'm not sure being licensed means anything more than someone approves of your idiocy,  The same way I don't see gun licenses helping with stupid people and guns, it probably won't help with stupid people and these things.  Not without something to back up the license: "Hmm...50 people saw you lose control of your 20 pound helicopter and crash it in the parking lot.  That'll be your license (which means nothing) and $10,000 fine for reckless operation of a UAV.  We take American Express."
 
2014-05-08 11:41:31 AM
If your product is "for entertainment purposes only" like Fox or CNN... then it is "business purposes"
 
2014-05-08 11:49:45 AM
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

We usually talk about the first amendment and freedom of the press as a freedom to publish and to protect sources so that you have something TO publish.  This seems like a huge stretch to me.  Does a journalist also have the freedom to drive without a license, or cut off ambulances, just because he works for a newspaper? (or has a blog?)

It's good to fight back against the government when it's overstepping its bounds, but frivolous requests give courts an excuse to ignore you.

you'renothelping.jpg
 
2014-05-08 11:53:44 AM

prjindigo: If your product is "for entertainment purposes only" like Fox or CNN... then it is "business purposes"


Yeah, right? Didn't a Fox affiliate in Florida win a case because a "news" segment doesn't have to tell the truth? Are those decisions even in conflict (likely not, since one is a ...state? decision, and the other is a Federal rule; and I'm not entirely sure they're comparable)?

Anyway, if they want to be called "journalists", and have that term be definable for 1st Amendment purposes, it should be expected that they don't report objective falshehoods (sort of like how SCOTUS judges the "sincerity" of a religious belief based on a person's willingness to observe it even facing adverse circumstances).
 
2014-05-08 12:02:14 PM
Here and I thought "commercial" meant the same thing as "having a business purpose".
 
2014-05-08 12:11:45 PM

Dr Dreidel: Didn't a Fox affiliate in Florida win a case because a "news" segment doesn't have to tell the truth?


No.
 
2014-05-08 12:33:49 PM
so...all I need is a press pass and I can fly a helicopter over a populated area without filing a flight plan or getting licensed and thats cool right?
 
2014-05-08 12:45:38 PM

simkatu: The FAA has the authority to regulate the airspace all the way from the upper limits of flight down to the soil or water.   You don't have a 1st amendment right to fly your manned or unmanned helicopter wherever the heck you want, whether you are engaged in "journalism" or not.   There are broader safety issues that are far more important than your ability to sneak up on Snookie's wedding with robotic flying camera.


Not exactly. Controlled airspace stops at FL600, approximately 60,000 feet (it's an issue of pressure density, not absolute altitude above sea level).

Also: "Class G
Class G airspace is uncontrolled, so it includes all airspace in the United States that is not classified as Class A, B, C, D, or E.
No air traffic control (ATC) services are provided, and the only requirement for flight is certain visibility and cloud clearance minimums.
Most of the airspace up to 1,200 feet above ground level (agl) is Class G airspace. There is virtually no Class G airspace above 1,200 feet agl east of the Rocky Mountains."

FL600 is not "the upper limits of flight."
 
2014-05-08 12:46:26 PM
This debate is going to get messier.

I would like to see the rules be applied evenly. If I can't fly a drone there, no one should be allowed, at least not without a warrant. I have no hope for this.
 
2014-05-08 12:54:45 PM

Jaymark108: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

We usually talk about the first amendment and freedom of the press as a freedom to publish and to protect sources so that you have something TO publish.  This seems like a huge stretch to me.  Does a journalist also have the freedom to drive without a license, or cut off ambulances, just because he works for a newspaper? (or has a blog?)

It's good to fight back against the government when it's overstepping its bounds, but frivolous requests give courts an excuse to ignore you.

you'renothelping.jpg


As has been touched on upthread, the First Amendment guarantees free SPEECH, along with worship , and assembly, etc.  The government can not force you to shut up, and yes, you have the right to publish pretty much anything you want at your own expense.

This does not exempt you from other laws, regardless of your purpose.  I'm not allowed to come into your living room and read your mail in the name of "journalism", I can't secretly tap your phone line or hack into your email account, nor am I exempt from any of the rules of a generally regulated activity like driving, or flying.  This is a bit like saying, "my religion forbids me from complying with local fire codes, so I should get a pass."
 
2014-05-08 12:58:19 PM

jaybeezey: I'm at a loss here and going to claim ignorance. Do you have to get some sort of license to fly a remote controlled airplane? I no clue. Wwhat would be the difference between a regular remote airplane and a "UAV", what about a regular remote helicopter?


In the past, R/C models were almost exclusively piloted by a human who's constantly got an eye on the craft.  With tech these days, flying things can be made to pilot themselves - and many are affordable to the average more-money-than-sense schmuck.

The AMA has a set of rules that are grounded partly in FAA regulation and partly in good sense.  There's no law that says you need to join the AMA to fly anything, but they've gone far to encourage it and their rules by using fees to maintain R/C airfields where only members can fly.  Their rules and wide membership have helped keep the model plane hobby from getting cross-ways with the FAA to date.

Actually flying a zooming R/C plane without crashing or injuring someone takes skill that's achieved through patience and practice - things the average schmuck isn't likely to take to.  Even modern quadrocopters that can't fly themselves make it so easy to fly them that Mr. Schmuck can take to the air very easily without any thought about safety, common sense or the bloody FAA.
 
2014-05-08 01:07:21 PM
News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right."

Clearly this was said by someone who does not watch news.
 
2014-05-08 01:11:17 PM
 
2014-05-08 01:15:53 PM

phyrkrakr: jaybeezey: I'm at a loss here and going to claim ignorance. Do you have to get some sort of license to fly a remote controlled airplane? I no clue. Wwhat would be the difference between a regular remote airplane and a "UAV", what about a regular remote helicopter?

My understanding is that the FAA currently allows "hobbyists" to fly an R/C plane, but the R/C plane can't be used for a "business purpose". A huge part of the problem with this is that the FAA has no consistency whatsoever in determining what is and isn't a "business purpose", nor any way for somebody to get licensed if they do want to fly an R/C plane for a business purpose. Someone else might come along and correct this with more info, but it's basically a self-made clusterfark by the FAA because they won't actually make any rules or clean up the definitions, despite people asking for them for the last 20 years.


It's almost like they should delineate who needs licenses for operation based on the capabilities of the aircraft and its potential impact on society (if shiat hits the fan) and not whether the person using it lives in their mother's basement or not or the intended use of the aircraft.

From my completely anecdotal understanding of FAA regs, you can buy a 49% complete aircraft kit, complete it yourself, and since you self-built over 50% of the aircraft it's classified as "experimental" and you don't need any licensing to operate it.

I can imagine the same applies for drones.  If you build the drone yourself, isn't it an experimental aircraft?
 
2014-05-08 01:27:26 PM
The editor of AeroNews Network is a phone psychopath.    He's had his FAA medical taken away in the past for such shenanigans such as pretending to be a doctor (treating patients), lying about his certifications, attempting to skydive off the World Trade Center, etc...      He's been kicked out of an private aviation event for causing a ruckus after he was warned not to (was told his reporters could come but he was personally banned) and pretty much laughed out of federal court when he attempted to assert first amendment issues over that.
 
2014-05-08 01:28:03 PM
 
2014-05-08 01:35:06 PM
Funny how radio controlled aircraft suddenly became a huge problem once it became possible for the plebes to use them to spy on their masters.

News flash: If we have no right to privacy, then neither do you.
 
2014-05-08 01:50:37 PM
DNRTFA

DNRTFT


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

Samuel Johnson
 
2014-05-08 01:54:06 PM

Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: The press isn't exempt from the law of the land. That privilege belongs to Hobby Lobby.


*sigh* the birth control mandate was put into place by HHS regulations. It was not written into the law itself.
 
2014-05-08 01:56:00 PM

Ow! That was my feelings!: Drones banned from National Parks

It's a start.


And we should add all Federally administered Wilderness Areas, as well. If an area is set aside as wilderness where all mechanized transport, including bicycles are banned, drones should be banned there as well.
 
2014-05-08 02:11:44 PM

Stratohead: so...all I need is a press pass and I can fly a helicopter over a populated area without filing a flight plan or getting licensed and thats cool right?


I write for the Picayune Weekly Tatler... and fly drones under 400 ft AGL. Over-controlling Govt Bunglecrats are over controlling. Yeah Liberal Govt!
 
2014-05-08 02:33:48 PM
 
2014-05-08 05:08:06 PM
"News gathering is not a 'business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right."

The First Amendment only mentions the right to free speech (spoken word) and press (written word), so I'm going to say, no, they're flatly wrong.

They are certainly free to say or print (almost) any information they want, but they are not implicitly free to obtain that information by any means they want.
 
2014-05-08 06:31:30 PM
is it free speech if you get paid for it?

what if you are getting paid by somebody else?
 
2014-05-08 07:19:25 PM
I would suspect that being able to herd game out of the park so that it could be shot or located so it could be shot from helicopter while inside the park would be reason enough to ban them. Not to mention the fire hazards, noise hazards, collision hazards and general D-Baggery that people can get into with drones. Lets not forget that people go to the park to get AWAY from technology and having some ass-hat buzz you with a drone while you are hiking or camping kind defeats that purpose.
 
2014-05-08 08:28:31 PM

dentalhilljack: "Pirker has been fined $10,000 for using a UAV to shoot parts of a commercial near the University of Virginia. "


Journalism & free speech?


TFA is thin on details, but nobody said Pirker was a journalist or practicing his free speech rights. The brief was filed because if this ban stands, it could affect journalists' right to use such vehicles for gathering news.

It has nothing to do with what Pirker was doing. It has to do with the ripple effect of the ban.
 
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