In what could be a seminal case for drone operators in the United States, a Massachusetts man has won a lawsuit that challenged the legality of a local ordinance that restricted the usage of drones and required a registration fee, both beyond the level already set forth by the FAA.
Michael Singer, a Harvard Professor, filed a suit against the city of Newton, Massachusetts for a drone ordinance that required operators to register with the city clerk for $10 and imposed operational restrictions beyond those mandated by the FAA, namely disallowing an operator to fly over private or public property below an altitude of 400 feet (the silly thing being that drone operators can't operate above 400 feet per federal law) without the permission of the property owner or the city, respectively. A federal district court sided with Singer, citing that the ordinance was in conflict with preexisting federal law and therefore not lawful. This could be a landmark ruling, as it sets a precedent for the legality of state and local legislation that restricts drone usage beyond the rules set forth by federal law, an issue that has arisen in numerous cities, prompting outcry from operators. Removing these varying local ordinances could streamline drone work, as operators will only need to be aware of and adhere to one set of laws, namely the federal set.
[via sUAS News]