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Interview With Brendan Schulman About Pirker v FAA Case

Published: 05/11/2013
By: larry

BrendanSchulmanThis is a recent interview by Luke Rudkawski at the Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference in New York City. Luke is interviewing Brendan Schulman who is the attorney for Raphael Pirker  the defendant in the Pirker v FAA case that I discussed back in Sept.

For more details on this case and how it relates to real estate photography see these posts here and here and here.

Update: No new news here, I just thought it was interesting to hear Brendan explain his argument in his own words. We are waiting for the NTSB Judge's ruling on this case and it could still be weeks away. And it probably won't be settled with out an appeal or two since this is an important enough case that no one will want to accept the opinion of a lowly NTSB administrative judge.

Thanks to Fred Light for pointing out this video.

6 comments on “Interview With Brendan Schulman About Pirker v FAA Case”

  1. I didn't really learn anything from the video other than the lawyer and client believe they are in the right. I'm very interested to see how this case comes out and also glad it is somebody else that is trying to "Bell the cat." Win or lose, unless Mr. Schulman is doing this pro bono or at a very reduced fee, Mr. Pirker is going to spend much money.

    The FAA is a government agency so they have to fight their way out of their own paperwork to get anything done. Now that UAV's have become more prevalent and there is more desire to use them for commercial purposes, the FAA has to draft formal regulations for their use. Yes, they are way late out of the starting gate and should have seen this coming years ago. I know some companies that have large scale remote aircraft that are waiting on regulations to be published so they can move forward with testing and further development as they are prohibited from flying as well. These companies must have better legal advice as they are not cavalier about just flying their craft against the FAA wishes just because they feel that it's their "right" to do whatever they want and the government is wrong to tell them otherwise. This is a classic David and Goliath grudge match. The ugly truth is nearly all of the time, David gets squashed like a bug.

  2. It is simple. Noble efforts of course based on their story. Good luck in their case...

    As a photographer... stretching the law for the creation of images is nice as an effort and also believing it is right to step across a legal boundry is positive also. Breaking the law can place you in jeopardy.

    Each photographer must individually decide how close they wish to come to the edge of being arrested or implicated in a legal matter (It can happen by the way - don't fool yourself). I recall an architectural firm wishing me to create an image of a building in Oakland they validated to me they had worked on. The only way to create the image was to stay on a public sidewalk and create the image from there. The security team for the building was thick once they noticed me and an assistant walking the perimeter with a camera. When I stopped, they gently blocked the shot...most of the time. Eventually I said to one of them, " the law allows to create on a public walkway, please consider adjusting your position..." yes, it worked. But, if I stepped even one step on their company property I would have been detained....I got through because I knew the rules.

    But the FAA does control the airspace and that is historic in nature. That is fact. Few exceptions exist as the lawyer has most likely identified in consultation. FAA rules tied with the current social period of increased HomeLand Security in my mind totally keeps me away from Aerial photography for any commercial purpose. I choose to leverage Pole photography when needed. No insurance needed and far less risk of a multiparty lawsuit with PR implications. Besides on a single frame there can be too much metadata on a single frame that can implicate the photographer & the agency requesting an medium altitude photograph. I recommend not to be drawn in to the marketing by aerial manufactures ...not worth the risk. And that is my position...you can decide yours.

  3. I am pleased someone is willing to take this task head on. Hopefully the outcome will justify their effort.

    For me, this is a simply risk/reward discussion. My current local market will not bear the higher costs associated with this type of photography. In a market with agents listing $15.5MM homes, and using their Canon Coolpix p&s to do the listing photos, selling true aerial photography for non-commercial application is tough.

    All that aside, it's hard to see the potential profit outweighing legal risks. Especially when a 'pole' can tackle the bulk of the demand for pennies on the dollar (relatively speaking).

  4. @Fred - Yea, this hobbyist flying over NYC is the one that deserves a $10,000 fine... but he wasn't breaking any policies, or rules cause he just a hobbyist!

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