A recently published patent application filed by Twitter provides a possible glimpse into the future of social media and selfies—and it’s a future arriving on the wings of that poster child of modern technology, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone. The patent indicates that Twitter may be experimenting with a system in which its users can use messages such as tweets to control drones, including taking photos and videos that may be streamed and shared with others in real-time through their user accounts. When asked by CNBC about this system, Twitter offered only a two-word explanation: “Drone selfies.” While Twitter’s plans for this technology as yet remain unclear, any company considering a system to enable capture and sharing of drone selfies or other drone-captured content (e.g., event livestreams) should consider the potential legal implications, some of which include Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and regulations, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and privacy and other tort-related laws.
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Game of Drones: UAV Entertainment and the FAA
With unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) (also called drones) anticipated to become a multi-billion dollar industry in a few years, many are betting that drone gaming will explode as the next big thing in competitive entertainment. It is not hard to see why: with the aid of first-person view (FPV) headsets and camera-mounted drones, drone gaming allows otherwise gravity-bound users to experience flight at exhilarating speeds—sometimes up to 100 mph. Despite their undeniable appeal and popularity, competitive drone gaming may stay grounded until Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and regulations are more favorable. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways that drone manufacturers and drone gaming organizers can facilitate legal drone gaming competitions that may avoid the need of going through an FAA approval process—this post explores a few considerations.