October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019

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October 15, 2019

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October 14, 2019

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FAA’s New Proposed Rule Impacts Entertainment Industry

On Feb. 15, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its long-awaited notice of proposed rules with respect to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Once finalized, the proposed rules will replace the current almost-universal ban on flying UAS for commercial purposes with a protocol for authorizing operations for commercial flights of small UAS weighing up to 55 pounds.

The new rules place restrictions on UAS flights to ensure the continued safety of the national airspace. It limits unmanned flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations in addition to addressing height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.

Civil UAS provide benefits to individuals and businesses because they are able to complete tasks that may be too dangerous, expensive, or time consuming when using other methods. UAS have been proven effective in the entertainment industry, and many of the FAA’s existing exemptions have been granted to businesses conducting closed-set filming operations and aerial filming and photography for motion picture and television. Once finalized, the new rules will allow all companies to integrate UAS technology into their businesses without the FAA’s express authorization as long as they comply with its restrictions.

While operators are prohibited from operating UAS over people not otherwise involved in the operation, UAS are permitted to fly up to a maximum altitude of 400 feet, providing onboard cameras with visibility of large areas. The FAA is also considering rules for MicroUAS (up to 4.4 lbs.), which also would be permitted to fly up to a maximum altitude of 400 feet, including over people not involved in the operation. Due to the inherent privacy concerns these operations create, the White House has directed a multi-stakeholder review to develop best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues involved with commercial use of UAS.

There is a 60-day public comment window on the new regulation. This is an ideal opportunity for businesses to offer input that will shape the future of UAS regulation. The current unmanned aircraft rules will remain effective until the new rule is implemented sometime after the public comment period has closed.

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About this Author

Michala Irons, Tax Attorney, Barnes Thornburg, Law Firm
Associate

Michala P. Irons is an associate in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Indianapolis, Indiana office and a member of the firm’s Tax Department. Ms. Irons assists individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations with federal tax planning, including income tax, employment and self-employment tax, excise tax, and net investment income tax issues.  Ms. Irons also represents taxpayers in matters before the Internal Revenue Service, including collections, examinations, appeals, and requests for private guidance from the IRS National Office.

317-231-7463
Jason Karlov, Barnes and Thornburg Law Firm, Los Angeles, Corporate and Media Law Attorney
Partner

Jason Karlov is the Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice Group Chair at Barnes & Thornburg. He represents a variety of clients in the music, entertainment, live events, advertising and technology industries. His clients include individuals, such as Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder, as well as institutions that work and invest in entertainment and technology, including such well-known brands as DreamWorks, Lionsgate, Merrill Lynch, the Olympics, Samsung, VeriSign and Yahoo!.

The work that Mr. Karlov handles for his clients requires his knowledge of, and participation in, virtually all aspects of the music, television, film, live events, advertising, licensing and technology industries.

Entertainment and Music

Mr. Karlov handles advertising, branding, content and sponsorship deals for all types of clients, from both the buyer’s and seller’s vantage point. He has handled sales and sponsorship deals for NASCAR teams, an Internet service provider who maintains one of the top five most visited websites in the world, the largest electronics retail company in the U.S., the largest tobacco brand in the U.S. and the largest wine and beer distributor in the U.S. Mr. Karlov also negotiated and administered a $1 billion sponsorship deal for an international sports governing body with one of the foremost brands in the world.

310-284-3838
Connie Lahn, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Minneapolis, Corporate and Litigation Law Attorney
Partner

Connie A. Lahn is the managing partner of the Minneapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg. She is a member of the Finance, Insolvency and Restructuring Department and co-chairs the Asset Revitalization Practice Group. Ms. Lahn is also the co-chair of the firm’s Special Servicer Team. She also serves on the firm's diversity and inclusion committee. Ms. Lahn focuses her practice on bankruptcy law, workouts, equipment leasing issues, foreclosures, real estate remedies, commercial mortgage-backed securities defaults, and related commercial litigation. Additionally, she...

612-367-8706
Clifford G. Maine, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Grand Rapids, Corporate Law Attorney
Partner

Clifford G. Maine is chairman of the firm’s Aviation Law Group. Mr. Maine's practice encompasses a wide variety of aviation law practice areas. He serves as general counsel to numerous aviation organizations, including the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport Authority.

Mr. Maine’s aviation clients include some of the largest corporate flight departments in the world. He has structured numerous aviation transactions, including domestic and foreign-based aircraft purchase and sale transactions, like-kind exchanges, timeshare agreements,...

616-742-3944
Stephen G. Weizenecker tax lawyer Barnes Thornburg
Partner

Entertainment lawyer Steve Weizenecker serves as counsel on tax incentives and financing for film, television and videogame clients. He has also has worked with numerous jurisdictions on developing or improving their economic incentives for the entertainment industry. Personable and patient, Steve takes the time to listen to what each client needs, understand their concerns and incorporate their goals into each step he takes.

Clients and colleagues alike know that they can rely on Steve to serve as a resource for information when helping them to take advantage of production...

404-264-4038