fhh drone-3[Blogmeister’s Note: While our colleague, Kevin Goldberg, may have some reservations about the utility of drones under the present state of FAA regulation, the fact remains that many broadcasters and other newsgatherers are still eager to take advantage of the opportunities drones currently provide. Anyone wishing to do so should take care to understand what the FAA requires and permits. To help out in that regard, Fletcher Heald is presenting a webinar on drone use in April. Here’s the promotional notice we have sent out, which includes information on how to register.]

Drones and newsgathering – a match made in heaven (at least up to 500 feet). The use of drones – or, in FAA-speak, “unmanned aircraft systems”, a/k/a “UASs” – has been a hot topic lately in broadcast circles, as evidenced by the massive drone display at last year’s NAB Convention. But questions abound: Can broadcasters legally operate their own drones? If so, what steps do they need to take? And can broadcasters legally use video or other images obtained from drones operated by others?

The FAA’s regulation of UASs has historically been fraught with uncertainty and frustration. With new rules and procedures recently added to the books and others likely to be adopted in the (relatively) near term, however, some clear standards have started to emerge. To help guide you through those standards – and to provide a glimpse of what may be in the offing – we are pleased to offer a one-hour webinar on “Broadcasters and Drones: Staying Street-Legal in the Sky” on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. (ET). The webinar is free, and we encourage your station employees to attend. You can register by clicking on this link. (You’ll need to provide your name and email address, and you’ll also be asked to provide your city and state and any station(s) you may be associated with.)

The webinar will provide an overview of current FAA requirements for commercial operations of UASs, including the latest registration requirements. It will also preview how proposed new FAA rules and pending legislation are likely to alter the regulatory flightpath. And we will address the ins and outs of the use of video or images obtained from others, whether commercial or hobbyist users.

The webinar will be presented by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Laura Stefani and Jonathan Markman, in cooperation with our friends at a number of state broadcasters’ associations, including those in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland/District of Columbia/Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.