Drone Law In Texas Under Intense Scrutiny, Judge Overturns
What started as something different and unique roughly a decade ago, is now a commonplace thing.
Drones...more and more people own these incredible pieces of technology.
As more and more people got them to play with, organizations like realtors, news stations, and other informative sources began using these to take videos and pictures of various things. Unfortunately, Texas didn't quite see them as useful and helpful.
The state would not allow drones to be flown over a myriad of things. For example, a staff photographer for the San Antonio Express-News was nearly arrested after flying his drone over a fatal fire that took place. He was simply taking pictures for a news story, something that had been done on ground level as well.
A lawsuit was brought about in 2019, challenging the Texas state law over drones. The Honorable District Judge Robert Pitman presided over the case brought on by the National Press Photographers Association and the Texas Press Association.
In his ruling, Judge Pitman found in favor of the associations that brought about the lawsuit. He said that videos and photos taken by a drone, “finds just as much protection in the First Amendment as the images themselves do.”
He went on to state how the photos and videos that the drone captured for news purposes is called protected expression, which is covered in the First Amendment.
While the drone law was changed in court, it's important to keep in mind the premise of it. Yes, news organizations can secure videos and pictures with drones for news purposes. You can not fly your drone around taking pictures of people or follow someone. Following someone with a drone can still be considered stalking for example.