April 11th, 2015
Gregory McNeal at Forbes.com reports that:
For more than a year, FAA officials have been engaged in a campaign of subtle threats and intimidation tactics that have persuaded many businesses to not use drone videos. This week, officials in Washington D.C. have finally weighed in on the legality of these tactics and in a published policy document have made clear that the intimidation tactics and take down orders must cease.
Previously, officials in various jurisdictions and across a range of use cases had been telling people that commercial use of drones was prohibited by FAA regulations, therefore, the use of drone videos was similarly prohibited by the FAA. On its face, the guidance amounted to intimidation tactics (undertaken mostly by FAA safety inspectors) and it was a clear violation of the First Amendment. Drone videos are not contraband, and the FAA has no authority to police what is posted to the internet, they only have the authority to enforce aviation regulations.
Update April 12: Also, another Forbes.com article on small UAVs worth reading is : FAA Speeds Up Small Drone Exemptions. But Why Not Just Issue a Blanket Exemption?