Thinking of posting that sweet drone footage online? You might want to be careful about it. The Federal Aviation Administration is telling at least one hobbyist, Jayson Hanes, that his aerial robotic videos run afoul of regulation because they’re on YouTube. Hanes is allegedly flying “commercially” (and thus faces more stringent rules) due to his choice of site, strongly implying that YouTube’s ads are at fault. If so, it’s a sketchy argument. Hanes hasn’t made any money from his clips, and there’s no obligation to collect revenue on Google’s video service.
The FAA tells Motherboard that it didn’t explicitly mention ads in its notice to Hanes, and that it’s investigating what prompted the warning. However, there isn’t a lot of room for alternative explanations — the issue was with YouTube, not the content. Even if the alert was just a mistake, though, it emphasizes just how fuzzy the line is between personal and professional drone use. The FAA may need to refine its proposed drone rules if it wants to avoid punishing fliers who merely want to share their adventures with others.