Apparently, posting your drone footage to YouTube could constitute flying them commercially, at least if the experience of Jayson Hanes is any indication of the FAA’s thoughts.
According to a report over on Motherboard, Hanes has been notified that his aerial drone footage on YouTube constitutes commercial use, and thus, he now finds himself at the mercy of the FAA’s new commercial use regulations.
The issue comes down to the ads on YouTube. If a user uploads their videos with the monetization settings turned on, then money can be earned via YouTube – and if you want to get technical – that means you are using your footage for commercial use. The interesting twist here is that Hanes contends that he has not made any money – or even tried to – off the drone footage; he is just an amateur hobbyist who enjoys putting his videos up on the popular video sharing website.
It would seem that the FAA needs to step back and take another look at their drone regulations, as the line between what constitutes commercial and non-commercial use is still as fuzzy as ever.
Is the line simply if you are making money or not? Is it if the ‘drone’ is owned by a person or a business? What exactly constitutes commercial use, and in grey areas such as this, who gets to decide and make the final call?
As with many Government oversight issues, there seem to be more questions than answers, so if you own a DGI Phantom, or something similar, take notice, and perhaps avoid YouTube until this is cleared up.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Does simply uploading your footage to YouTube constitute commercial use? What if you upload and turn the monetization features on? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!