Drone Pilot Wins Potentially Landmark Lawsuit

Drone Pilot Wins Potentially Landmark Lawsuit

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]

Posted In: 
Log in or register to post comments


Elan Govan's picture

Makes life easy doesn't it. Story here is, "Don't mess with a Harvard professor's peace of mind "

"A federal district court sided with Singer, citing that the ordinance was in conflict with preexisting federal law and therefore not lawful."

Hmm, why isn't the same obvious logic applied against cities, counties and states that try to regulate gun ownership?

This nonsense of states trying to, and even being allowed to, supersede federal law needs to stop. While this is great that this person won this case, the same thing is going on with other things, such as the right to bear arms and asset forfeiture, which is a bullshit term for city, county and state sponsored robbery and terrorism.

If it is a matter of federal jurisdiction and the constitution then no city, county or state should be able to impose any further laws regarding the same, and they should be penalized for trying to do so.

Jeff McCollough's picture

I guess we could say the same about cities that harbor illegals as "sanctuary cities". hahaha

Exactly! I can't believe I forgot to mention that most important and dangerous example. City, county and state politicians and police should be arrested by the FBI as accessory to federal crimes for all of that.

Elan Govan's picture

You are aware Christopher Columbus and all his ship mates were illegals. It is a shame the Federal Bureau of Indians, FBI for short, didn't round them all up and send them back to Europe.

Anonymous's picture

They were illegals according to which law? Can you post a link to it or are you just making up crap?

Elan Govan's picture

Oh please...spare me the indignation. Trespassing....yes, I think you would find the word used in the Christian prayer. Entering someones property without permission. As I understand, early Christians had a big say in the way laws were written and it is still used today. Only because people were flouting it openly, until someone said, enough is enough, we are going to write it down in another non religious book.

Of course, modern day explorers, even the well meaning ones have to seek all kind of permissions before entering another persons property.

As I understand, Columbus was looking for a "quick rich scheme" in South East Asia. Apart from ignoring Christian laws, he was not very good navigator. Apparently, he was sailing west, according to Wikipedia.

I am surprised you ask for a link...do some research.

Anonymous's picture

"Trespasses" as used in The Lord's Prayer doesn't mean entering someone's property without permission... Just throwing it out there.

Elan Govan's picture

Oh Really...I am so pleased u r so sure about everything.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not sure about everything at all, but this is something I'm rather confident about. Also, the word, "trespass" is only used in certain translations of the prayer. Other translations use words such a "debt". :)

Jeff McCollough's picture

In modern English translations of the Bible "trespasses" are "debts"...in other words errors or mistakes.

Elan Govan's picture

Recap: The Complete Bible in Modern English”. Published in 1903, the Ferrar Bible was one off the earliest translations of the Holy Bible into “modern English”. No mention of "debts".
Laws and interpretation does change with time. nothing new here.

Anonymous's picture

I bet you kneel too.

Elan Govan's picture

If I did what has it got to do with you or anyone else for that matter.

Anonymous's picture

YOU are the one that used the work "Illegals" so my question is fair. According to which law?

Elan Govan's picture

I think I have answered this already. Not employed here to provide the same answer to the same issue everyday. This is an international website based in USA, with international reach and access. How do you think it is going to play out?

michael buehrle's picture


Jeff McCollough's picture

You clearly don't understand how laws work and are a criminal sympathizer. No laws existed during when CC invaded America. Now there is an established government and laws. I can't go just wherever I please. I now live in South America and when I moved here I had to go through the process of getting my residency and such in order which wasn't easy.

If you want to justify illegal immigration then I suggest that you lobby the governments where those people come from so that we can travel, live and work in their countries without having to go through the immigration process either.

Elan Govan's picture

You are entitled to your opinion, not interested in exchanging insults. good day.

Jeff never insulted you. Your original comment is one that clearly sympathizes with *illegal* immigration into America. He went though the legal process to live in another country and you simply can't logically support your position while there are those that respect and follow the immigration laws of other countries. That is why you are ending the discussion with him.

Anonymous's picture

That's what people do when their argument is based on garbage... They just end the conversation.

Yep, and they also resort to the usual attacks on the messenger because they know they can’t attack the message. Insults like being called a troll, bigoted, racist, and xenophobic being typical.

Emmanuel Vivier's picture

There was rules and laws within the american natives... we just did not accept to see them as humans and to learn their languages or respect their rules... but the north american continent was not empty ;)

They weren't American. The first Americans were white, and the men strangely often wore white wigs.

A native American is any American *born in* America. Around 90% of all Americans are native American.

The vast majority of the continent was actually empty, even going by the highest population estimates of Indians. Violence and land grabbing was very common between the tribes long before the white man showed up, and after, and against the laws of the white man. Were they less valid? Do you also have a grievance regarding that, or is your grievance limited only to what the white man did?

Anonymous's picture

" No laws existed during when CC invaded America."

What? I'm pretty sure there were probably laws as every civilization has laws. To what degree those laws were codified and enforced is a separate issue, but it's well understood that Christopher Columbus and the rest of his European contemporaries didn't give a crap about even attempting to understand the rules of the civilizations they invaded, enslaved, and destroyed because they simply saw them (incorrectly) as uncivilized barbarians.

While the story of history may be that laws only matter insofar as you have the military might to enforce them (and to keep your own civilization alive), that doesn't mean laws never existed in the societies that have been wiped from the face of the earth. It only means that there were stronger civilizations that had a desire for conquest and assimilation.

Elan Govan's picture

Thank you

"Christopher Columbus and the rest of his European contemporaries didn't give a crap about even attempting to understand the rules of the civilizations they invaded, enslaved, and destroyed because they simply saw them (incorrectly) as uncivilized barbarians."

Many Indian tribes were uncivilized barbarians. Would you like me to describe how they used to enslave, torture and kill their fellow Indian enemies, long before the white man showed up?

The fact is violence and landgrabbing was taking place long before the white man showed up. The left's politically correct focus on only what the white man did is nonsense, just like political correctness itself.

Anonymous's picture

Are you just trolling at this point?

First of all, it's patently untrue that Native Americans were "uncivilized". The mere fact that they had recognized civilizations and societies disproves that notion immediately.

As for being "barbarians", that's a more difficult subject because it is an ill-defined term that is loosely applied in a derogatory manner rather than being a real descriptor. Historically speaking, the term has pretty much been used simply to describe people who don't conform to the norms of the society using it.

No need to describe how they used to enslave, torture, and kill their fellow Indian enemies because I'm actually well aware of it, but the same thing applies to Africans, Asians, and yes, Europeans. Please don't act like Europeans were somehow above things like enslaving, torturing, and killing conquered societies because that's pretty much all they did during the Age of Exploration. What makes the Native Americans any more (or less) "uncivilized" or "barbaric" than the Europeans in this regard? The fact that the Europeans had guns and armor and made pretty paintings and sculptures?

Violence and land grabbing took place long before Europeans showed up and it continues to take place across the world today (see Crimea). It's a story as old as the human race. My only point was to respond to the ridiculous notion that a previous comment made that "laws didn't exist" in Christopher Columbus's time. I was merely pointing out that they did. It's just that Columbus, like many others chose to ignore or refuse to acknowledge the laws of the militarily weaker society and instead, chose to impose their own laws through means of conquest.

"Are you just trolling at this point?"

Obviously not. You simply don't like what I have said and are now resorting to ad hominem by calling me a troll, as if that will somehow invalidate anything I have said.

The barbarism I was talking about is not subjective to any civilized person.

I never said or suggested white settlers and early Americans did not do wrong. Read more carefully. I'm only against the left's unfair focus on those white people back then, and even on white people today.

"What makes the Native Americans any more (or less) "uncivilized" or "barbaric" than the Europeans in this regard?"

They were not Americans. The first Americans were white, and a native is anyone born in a particular place.

As to what made them more uncivilized and barabaric,I thought you didn't want me to describe their atrocities? Without getting into the nitty gritty awful details of how they tortured and killed, how about simply human sacrifices and cannibalism?

I never took any issue with you saying that laws amongst Indian tribes existed. The problem today is the politically correct nonsense of only focusing on the white man's misdeeds. Some of your comments are doing the same.

Getting back to those Indian laws, the fact is many of those Indian laws were uncivilized and barabaric, even then, to put it mildly.

I have no sympathy for the ultimate outcome of tribes that engaged in such barbarity. I see it as karma.

Anonymous's picture

I didn't see it as an ad hominem attack at all. Given that this is the internet, I'm sure you know that there are plenty of people that will just argue for the sake of inciting a response rather than attempting any sort of sincere exchange of ideas so I just wanted to know if your beliefs were sincerely held or if you just got a jolly out of online debates. My apologies if you took offense to it.

It's interesting that you say that Native Americans were not American and then subsequently refer to them as Indians despite the fact that they are clearly not Indian. I would think that Native American would be the more accurate term because they were the natives of the continents that became known as the Americas prior to the arrival of European settlers. To use the term, "Indian" is not correct on any level since India was already a known country and these civilizations were not from that country.

I'm not sure where this became a "left" vs. "right" issue in your mind, but it's really not. It's just a matter of historical accuracy. We can accept the truth that history is ugly and beautiful on all sides regardless of our personal political leanings. I don't consider myself to be a liberal, but that doesn't mean I don't believe that it's important to portray history in an accurate manner rather than simply putting a nice coat of paint on it as our education system in this country so neatly does.

As I said, I'm aware enough of the types of societies among the native tribes (perhaps you'll find this term more agreeable). They were certainly no saints, but I would definitely argue that neither were the Europeans. I suppose it's ultimately a matter of personal values, but if we're going to debate the relative barbarism and incivility of human sacrifices, cannibalism, and whatnot against slavery, witch hunts, the Inquisition, etc. then I feel like we're truly lost as a society.

I am only focusing on "the white man" because you seem to be doing a good enough job pointing out the faults of the natives while conveniently glossing over the behavior of their European conquerers. Note that I never contradicted your statements regarding the behavior of the natives—I only objected to the use of the terminology you opted to employ in describing them.

I would very much argue that the laws of the natives were no more or less ridiculous than most of the laws across Europe, Asia, and Africa at the same time. They were certainly no less arbitrary, barbaric, or unjust. We are talking about a time before the notion of democracy in which people across the world as a whole had no real recognized rights except for those that they could buy with wealth and power.

I, likewise, have little sympathy for any particular group of people who have suffered across history. In my case, however, I don't see it as "karma" for some sort of misdeeds. I just see it as the cost of losing wars. In this regard, no single civilization is exempt from the potential of being wiped off the face of the earth.

The native tribes of the American continents were not the only people to be destroyed. They were not the only people to be raped and thrown out of their lands. They were not the only people to be forced to convert to another religion or assimilated into the culture of their conquerors. The same can be said that Africans were not the only people on the earth to be enslaved and sold like bits of property. White, Black, Brown, Asian, whatever color you are or wherever you come from, there's likely a group of people you can point to in the history of your area that has been the subject of conquest, ethnic cleansing, slavery, and all manner of evil.

It's not karma. It's not divine retribution. It's just a cold and unfair world. To label it as karma implies that the victors are somehow morally superior. They are not. They just had better weapons. No need to glorify or demonize anyone.

Anyway, I guess you can have the last word in this exchange if you so desire because I'm pretty sure I know where you're coming from at this point and I imagine you probably get where I'm coming from so there's really not much else to say. Take care.

More comments