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The question to ask is, can I stand across the street in a public area and film people on private property?
The short answer is both yes and no. There are many rules to flying an unmanned aerial system as presented by the Federation Aviation Administration. The most basic rules to follow (that should keep you safe, and the FAA off your case) are to keep your UAS in sight, never fly more than 400 feet above the ground (don’t fly within five miles of airports, and if you follow it everywhere, you’ll be pretty safe), NEVER FLY OVER PEOPLE, and never fly where you can cause property damage. Basically, these are the same rules that you should follow when flying your standard hobby, electric, radio controlled aircraft,
You can fly any radio controlled aircraft with a camera on it. At least for now. There are currently 30 states attempting to outlaw radio-controlled aircraft with cameras on them. Where things really get dicey, is when flying a radio-controlled aircraft for commercial purposes (like shooting video).
According to Les Dorr (a spokesperson for the FAA out of Washington, D.C.) "…if you are taking video for your own personal use (including YouTube) and you're not going to do anything else with it, and you adhere to model aircraft guidelines, you're okay…" He continues, "…you cannot sell the video, and you cannot take money for shooting the video." Why? Because using unmanned aerial systems for commercial purposes is illegal.
There are permits available for unmanned aerial systems at this time. But not for profit, and not for shooting video. The current permits being issued are called "experimental airworthiness certificates”and are for (again from our FAA spokesperson) "… Demonstrations only."
There are also simple safety concerns. A drone capturing images of a bull race in Virginia this summer suddenly fell from the sky, injuring at least four people in the stands.
One month later, Texas became the first state to pass legislation punishing improper drones use. Now, flying a private craft without permission from authorities will come with a $500 fine. That's more than $200 more than the most popular recreational drone model.
"For right now, there's no law stopping a 13-year-old from buying one of these at Best Buy and flying over (Comerica Park). ... I want to see it be regulated before aforementioned 13-year-old flies his drone around (Comerica Park) during the first inning because he thinks he will be cool and he crashes and hurts everybody, and all of a sudden, drones are illegal," he said.