New Hampshire Moves Towards Prohibiting Aerial Real Estate Photography

February 20th, 2013

NH-HB619Thanks to Suzanne Feinberg for sending me a link to the article over a PhotoAttorney.com that points out that the New Hampshire State legislature is considering a bill (HB 619-FN) that would make aerial real estate photography illegal.

The bill in part says:

A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground. This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects. In this paragraph, “dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals.

Based on the public discussion that I’ve seen on this subject, I’m going to go out on a limb and make a wild guess and predict that this is not going to be an isolated incident. My guess is that other states will be doing this too. Particularly since so many cities are resisting use of UAVs by law enforcement.

So does this mean that if HB 619-FN is passes New Hampshire will disappear from the satellite layer of  Google Maps? I guess so.

20 Responses to “New Hampshire Moves Towards Prohibiting Aerial Real Estate Photography”

  • As that is written, you couldn’t even rent a helicopter for an ariel photo. But, I wonder if you built a platform with helium balloons and anchored it to the ground for support…thus is the problem with writing laws. Create the loophole with their own restrictive definition. Seriously though, it was written and processed through the criminal justice committee with a focus on personal privacy that drives it. It doesn’t address the issue where the owner of the property doesn’t desire the privacy.

  • Paranoia will destroy ya.

  • I guess those Google Earth and Bing satellites will have to skip New Hampster!

  • …Land of the Free!

  • They should at least put in a clause to make an exception for homeowners that want their property photographed.

    Land of the free? Not any longer.

  • If the bill pass, I will buy a few cherry pickers and rent them out in NH. There’s always a way to make things happen. I can see both sides of the issue and I agree with LarryG about not addressing the issue where the home owner doesn’t desire the privacy, I also understand the privacy concerns that could’ve lead to this bill. Staying private is getting harder with the tech advances and there are ill intended people that could use areal photos and not for real estate, but I guess that’s stating the obvious.
    In conclusion there are other ways to get elevated pictures and I guess we have to focus on the solution and not the problem in this case.

  • When the politicians get going, it rapidly becomes “everyone but us” in the line of thinking. They don’t research it, they just jump. Tell me, how many deaths, thefts, accidents, injuries, etc., can we now definitely attribute to remote controlled aircraft? What about the hobbyist, can they no longer fly these things? What ever happened to common sense? Government killed it, since it is well beyong their scope or capabilities to think such things through.

  • I’m a pilot, and I’d guess that the FAA, which is very jealous of its regulatory turf, is going to have something to say about this.

    And it flies in the face of the well established principal that if something is visible to the public it can be photographed. There are restrictions on the publication of pictures that invade someone’s privacy, but just “creating an image” is surely going to face a legal challenge.

    You might also want to Google “The Streisand effect”.

  • In regard to Greg Peterson’s comment, this is not an issue. All that would be required would be for the homeowner to sign a release, just as anyone does that is concerned about their privacy being invaded. Why is an aerial of your home suddenly a huge issue? I was always taught to “follow the money”.

    As someone that has done aerials of many things, inclulding real estate, for many years, I smell a power play.

  • Larry
    Thanks for keeping us up to date on the latest developments in the politics of UAV’s and commercial photography. Everyday I see clips on TV programs and nationally distributed TV commercials that were captured with UAV’s.
    The FAA is keeping us guessing on what will happen with their regs and I think the net effect is that only a few bold UAV operators are marketing their services at this time and a large portion, like 95% are doing business and keeping it quiet.
    So the general public, lawmakers and the FAA are not aware of the size of the underground UAV aerial industry that they are trying to regulate.
    When we started investigating using small UAV’s for aerial photography and video I was amazed at the size of the hobby industry, how many remote control aerial craft are around us, and just how simple it is to build a UAV that will carry a camera. We are about to see an explosion of ready to fly affordable craft that will enable anyone to start capturing aerial images. DJI for instance just came out with an affordable quad built specifically to carry a gopro camera called the Phantom.
    This is already getting interesting and the regulators and over zealous lawmakers are just getting warmed up. Larry please keep these post coming as the drama unfolds and thanks for trying to keep up with the developments.

  • I think Heath sums up the current situation accurately. The clear enforceable laws for UAV’s are few so confusion is on this subject is high. Yet I can only find evidence of only two commercial operators that have been explicitly shutdown, Rusty Freeman and Daniel Gárate both in California. In other states UAV operators appear to be operating without interference.

    My concern is that commercial UAV operators need to be aware of the risk of investing heavily in UAV equipment. There is potential for public paranoia about UAVs to force State or Federal laws in unexpected directions… like New Hampshire.

  • How many real estate photographers making their living shooting footage shot by drones/UAV’s? None in my market. How many houses have been sold just because of aerial footage? Probably the same answer. What are the benefits to a real estate photographer of the unrestricted use of drones? Who would be the biggest benefactors? Follow the money, here is a list of drone manufactures in this country. http://www.auvsi.org/MembershipandChapters/CorporateMembers
    It is all about surveillance, therefore there must be restrictions.
    Land of the free? Do not confuse complying or acquiescing with the National Security State as freedom.

  • Oregon is trying to pass a similar bill to ban drones. The way the bill is written it would even outlaw some childrens toys. Many are for the bill, but with changes needed. I have friends that film sports from RC helicopters, and I know of a couple of real estate photographers that use them. The way the bill is written, these would be against the law.

  • there’s so many things wrong with this law. what about if you take a drone to take pictures of your own house? you won’t even be capable of that. what about google earth and other services? those use satellite imagines. but it only says satellites and drones. but you can fly over anything yourself and take pictures. what about rc hovercrafts? those can be drones too. they are rc controlled. what is the definition of a drone? what if you control it using a cable?
    seams to be that this law is so stupid that you can still use drones if they are connected to the ground. just add a cable and you are legal again.
    really… only in usa such a thing would happen.

  • @Pedro- Well at least in New Hampshire you don’t get arrested for owning a Drone like you will in Oregon. Yep, under these laws the whole US will soon be disappearing from Google Earth.

  • Well I guess I may hold off on ordering the drone and just use my ar.drone I bought a few months back just for fun!

    This is getting a little out of hand really..they should make it so you can get permission from a home owner in writing to use on the property and not higher then a certain height.

  • This is clearly a poorly thought out bill. Thinking it through, I believe that the bill is aimed at the paparazzi. It is a (poor) attempt at preventing the paparazzi from photography people in their backyard without their consent. That is the only line of reasoning that I could see that would validate such a measure. If you are in New Hampshire I would suggest that you write the Representative and ask that the clause “without owner or occupants consent” be added.

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