In The News

New Criminal Drone Laws Take Effect

By James E. Mackler

James Mackler Unmanned Aerial Systems Attorney

Tennessee recently passed a bill making it a crime to fly an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, commonly known as a “drone,” over large, ticketed public gatherings of 100 or more people, into fireworks displays, or over jails. The law will take effect on July 1st. Although it might seem at first like this law is a solution looking for a problem, it turns out that the legislation was prompted by actual events.

In the past year, the FAA has investigated numerous drone sightings over professional stadiums sporting events. Also, on July 4th of last year, a man flew a drone into Nashville’s largest fireworks display, gaining national attention. There has also been a rash of incidents involving attempted air-drop deliveries of contraband by drones to jails.

It is dangerous and reckless to fly a drone over a large crowd, into a fireworks display, or over a jail to deliver contraband. Under current law, however, it has been difficult for the police to charge drone operators engaged in these activities. For example, although the FAA restricts flights over large outdoor events, there has been some question about whether these restrictions apply to drones. Flight into fireworks is not an obvious violation of any particular state law.  Delivering contraband to a jail is already a crime, but until the payload is dropped, the flight itself is in a gray area.

Under the new law, drone operators can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail for violations. Although there is no question that this law addresses serious safety concerns, the law raises some interesting legal issues. For example, the Federal government has long held exclusive jurisdiction over the “navigable airspace” above the surface of the earth. The law defining “navigable airspace,” however, developed before the widespread use of drones. Drones can and do navigate all the way down to the ground. The FAA, consequently, insists that its jurisdiction over drones extends to the ground. This means that Tennessee, through this law, is asserting a claim to govern the same space that the FAA claims the exclusive power to control.

Drone operators should not view this legal uncertainty as an opportunity to challenge the new law. They should, instead, understand that the law prohibits such flights for good reason.  Operators who would violate the law are reckless and irresponsible. They risk injuring spectators. They also add to the undeserved public distrust of the large community of responsible drone enthusiasts. Increased distrust can only result in restrictions and regulations, which are likely to be much less reasonable than the law taking effect in July.

 

Bone McAllester Norton will Host Draft Drone Regulations Meeting, March 17

Firm Seeks Input for Federal Aviation Administration Rules

Nashville, Tenn.—(March 10, 2015) Nashville-based law firm Bone McAllester Norton PLLC will host a meeting regarding draft regulations released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or commonly, “drones”). The free meeting, open to the public, will be held the morning of Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Business owners and decision makers in all fields that might either use UAS or be impacted by their use are encouraged to attend.  There will be an opportunity to learn more about the proposed regulations and provide input on their development.

“The proposed UAS rules provide both challenges and opportunities for new and for well-established businesses,” said James Mackler, attorney and founder of Bone McAllester Norton’s UAS focus. “Our firm has a long history of guiding entrepreneurs through complicated regulations. We look forward to working with our clients to help them leverage the potential of this emerging technology.”

Mackler will be joined by Lt.Gen. John Castellaw, USMC (Retired), CEO of Farmspace Systems. “Unmanned Aerial Systems Federal Regulations Meeting” will provide an overview of UAS technology and how it is being used in the U.S. marketplace. The FAA’s proposed regulations will also be addressed. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments to the proposed ruling. Continuing Legal Education credits are available.

"Unmanned aerial systems have the potential to transform several industries,” Castellaw said. “In agriculture, they can help increase crop production to meet the needs of nine billion people by 2050 while reducing costs for farmers and consumers."

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Location: Bone McAllester Norton’s Nashville office – 511 Union Street, Suite 1600

 

To register, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on Bone McAllester Norton, visit http://bonelaw.com/.

 

 

About Bone McAllester Norton PLLC

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

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James Mackler will Address UAS in Law Enforcement Webinar

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler is part of a panel discussion on the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or, more commonly, “drones”) in law enforcement. As a relatively new technology, law enforcement agencies are seeking to better understand which platforms and sensor payloads will best meet their needs. Users of this emerging tool also have to consider training requirements, Federal Aviation Administration regulations, legal issues and public reaction.

The webinar, “Aerial Assets: UAS in Law Enforcement,” will take place at 2 p.m. Central, Thursday, March 5. Joining Mackler will be the lead instructor of the Unmanned Aerial Institute and the deputy as well as chief UAS pilot from Grand Forks County (N.D.) Sheriff’s Department. Patrick C. Miller, staff writer with UAS Magazine, will serve as the moderator.

Mackler is the founder of the firm’s UAS focus, the first of its kind in the region, and has become a go-to source for the legalities surrounding the use of drones.

For more on the webinar, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

James Mackler Discusses New Drone Law Enforcement Guidelines with UAS Magazine

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently released new guidelines to law enforcement agencies regarding the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. UAS Magazine interviewed Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler about these new rules, which he says are off target.

The FAA is requesting assistance from the law enforcement community to crack down on the increased, unauthorized use of drones by those who do not understand rules of the air and those who endanger airspace.

“Law enforcement is busy enough investigating crimes, and police should know that they have no authority of any kind to investigate civil violations of administrative regulations,” he told the magazine.”

Read the full interview here.

In another story with UAS Magazine, he explained that law enforcement officials have every right to investigate possible law violations within their jurisdictions—regardless of whether a UAS is involved—but they have no jurisdiction when it comes to enforcing the FAA’s UAS regulations.

“To me, this is another example of the FAA really struggling to keep up with facts on the ground instead of getting ahead of things and creating the appropriate regulations,” he said.

Read that article here.

James concentrates his practice in the areas of federal criminal defense, regulatory compliance and civil litigation. He is also the founder of the firm’s UAS focus, the first of its kind in the region.

 

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 40 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Uncertainty with Drones can Translate into Opportunity

If, like me, you have been following the developments in both the law and technology surrounding Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, or commonly known as "drones"), you know the area is fraught with uncertainty. This uncertainty can be translated into opportunity for bold entrepreneurs and investors with the risk-tolerance to move to the front of the line in this evolving industry.

A recent article in The Economist highlights how venture capitalists are emerging from the fear of being displaced by startups utilizing advancing technologies like drones. Of course, as the article  shows, having deep pockets helps as well.

Intel and Google are leading the way by investing in growing technologies whose business value is still largely speculative.  They believe, as I do, that the uncertainty lies in the application and timing of the systems, not in their eventual success.

Click here to read the article.

James Mackler Talks Drones, NTSB Ruling with the Media

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler talked with UAS Magazine last week about the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) ruling on the Raphael Pirker case. Pirker flew an unmanned aerial system (UAS), more commonly known as a “drone,” over the University of Virginia campus in 2011, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required him to pay a $10,000 civil penalty for operating the aircraft in a careless or reckless manner. A law judge with the NTSB dismissed that order, citing the FAA had not enacted an enforceable regulation for the aircraft.

“. . .I don’t think it makes very much practical difference in terms of the way the industry and the law are progressing,” James said in the article. “Congress has already told the FAA that they have to come up with regulations governing the commercial use of UAS. Congress has essentially preempted this issue, making it clear that they do expect unmanned systems to be treated as aircraft and operated in a safe manner.”

Earlier that day, James commented in a separate article for the magazine about dispelling a UAS myth. He explained that the Pirker case is more about when the flight occurred and that it had little to do with the current state of UAS regulations.

James served as a panelist in Mind2Marketplace’s event on UAS last week, held at the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport. “I think it’s going to be another 10-20 years before we see larger UAV’s integrated into airspace. The FAA needs to move a little bit faster in order for it to be allowed to be used in a commercial manner,” he told a reporter from Fox17.

James is the founder of Bonelaw’s UAS focus, the first of its kind in the region. He also leads the firm’s veteran and military law efforts.

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 40 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

James Mackler will Speak on Unmanned Aerial Systems, Nov. 20

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler is slated to speak on a panel discussion Thursday, Nov. 20 about unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The exploration of current UAS technologies and their future will be outlined, including how FAA regulations are shaping up the way the units can be used. Attendees will have a chance to get hands-on experience with some of the vehicles while hearing from academic, government and private sector experts. Those interested in investing in UAS technologies, using UAS in educational settings or to get jobs done and hobbyists interested in learning more should attend.

James is the founder of the firm’s UAS focus, the first of its kind in the region. He also leads the firm’s veteran and military law efforts.

Mind2Marketplace is the host of this event. It will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport. Registration is $30 and includes a light dinner and drink ticket.

Get more information here.

 

 

 

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 39 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

James Mackler Talks about Staying Power of Drones with the Nashville Scene

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler spoke with Steve Haruch, reporter for the Nashville Scene, about the complexity of the laws and regulations surrounding the use of drones. But despite the difficulty in traversing those rules, the reporter points out that drones are here to stay.

James’s comments appeared in two articles in this week’s Scene. In the cover story, he explains that the rules are confusing, so he tends to be cautious in his reading of what the FAA says is allowed and what isn’t allowed. The current law starts with a blanket ban on the use of drones and then includes exceptions, such as for authorized military use, search and rescue and scholarly research. “I would never tell a client to violate FAA regulations. . .but if someone came to me and said the FAA was trying to enforce those regulations, I would work very hard to defend them by arguing that those regulations are not enforceable. That particular person may or may not have violated the law, or the regulation, but there’s probably an argument to be made either way,” he said.

And in a supporting story on how two Tennessee companies are using drones legally, James points that “a strict reading of the regulation” hints that a commercial organization utilizing drones for commercial purposes “would be included in the regulations, unless you’ve got a COA (certificate of authorization) or you’re flying at an FAA test site.”

James concentrates his law practice in the areas of federal criminal defense, regulatory compliance and civil litigation. He is the founder of Bonelaw’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) focus, the first of its kind in the region.

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Alex Little Weighs in on Drone Memo that Justifies Killing of American Islamic Militant

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Alex Little appeared on FOX News yesterday in a story on the release of a memo formally acknowledging the CIA’s role in a drone program that resulted in the 2011 killing of an American Islamic militant. Talking to anchor Shepard Smith, Alex commented on how the U.S. government justified the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki without due process of law. “They justify it predominately under the theory that he’s an enemy, we’re at war, and we can kill enemies at war. That’s the base motivation that’s going on behind this memo.” They discussed possible concerns over a government making exceptions to the legal course in the future, based on this occurrence.

See the full interview here.

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Bonelaw Attorney James Mackler will Make Presentation on How New and Changing Laws on Drones will Impact Your Clients

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler will speak at an upcoming Nashville Bar Association presentation on drones and how new and developing laws will impact clients. The lunch and learn program, “Drones: How New and Evolving Federal and State Laws on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) will Impact Your Clients,” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at the Nashville Bar Association’s office in downtown Nashville. The course has been approved for 1.0 CLE hours.

James will discuss proposed legislation on drones and how it is expected to ban all use by civilian, except as specifically authorized, as well as how businesses and law enforcement are increasingly using the devices in ways that are outside of, or in violation of, the legal framework. Corporate counsel, civil rights attorneys, criminal defense, insurance defense and plaintiff attorneys, government attorneys and prosecutors are encouraged to attend.

James concentrates his practice in the areas of federal criminal defense, regulatory compliance and civil litigation, where he has 15 years of experience defending and prosecuting criminal cases at the state, federal and military levels. He is the founder of Bonelaw’s unmanned aerial systems focus, the first of its kind in the region.

More information on the presentation, including how to register, can be found here.

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

James Mackler Discusses Ban on Drones for Farmers with SmartPlanet

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler, who leads the firm’s unmanned aerial systems focus, recently talked about the government’s ban on drones for farmers with SmartPlanet, an online magazine that covers business, technology and design. Currently, Federal Aviation Administration regulations prevent farmers from using drones for precision agriculture applications, proactively monitoring all crop activities. Hobbyists are the only people allowed to use drones now, and the main concerns about them concern airspace safety and privacy.

“Typically you’re talking about a farmer flying in a very sparsely populated area over his own property, at low altitudes,” he told the magazine. “So there’s very little risk of collision. . .and much-reduced privacy issues.”

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Bone McAllester Norton Expands Practice with Focus on UAS

News Release

Thursday – April 10, 2014

Law firm is the only Tennessee firm providing services in area of UAS


 

Nashville, TN — Bone McAllester Norton PLLC today announced an expansion of the Entrepreneurial and Emerging Business Law practice group to include legal services in the area of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones.

The law firm is the only one in Tennessee covering UAS and issues surrounding the use of drones. Bone McAllester Norton attorneys in the Entrepreneurial and Emerging Business Law practice group focus on company formation, capital strategies, trademark registrations, copyright protection, intellectual property, social media law, privacy issues and now the unique regulatory and legal issues impacting the commercial use, legal enforcement and privacy of this emerging technology in UAS.

James E. Mackler, veteran attorney and Bonelaw member, is the lead attorney focused on the increasingly complex system of state and federal laws regarding the commercial use of drones. Joining Mackler with a focus in the area of UAS are attorneys Richard J. Nickels. These attorneys have extensive experience in entrepreneurship, commercial law, aviation, protection of intellectual property, privacy concerns and regulatory compliance.

Many states, including Tennessee, have passed laws regulating the use of drones. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is under a mandate to fully integrate them for commercial use.

“With the FAA’s injunction to integrate drones into commercial airspace and the designation of 16 test sites nationwide, the growing opportunities—and risks—associated with drones cannot be ignored,” Mackler said. “We have a strong group of attorneys with sophisticated experience that will be able to provide counsel to individuals and corporations wanting to leverage the power of UAS within existing business models or seeking to start a new venture within the UAS sphere.”

The firm’s first UAS-centered client is Farmspace Systems, LLC, created to help farmers obtain a high level of situation awareness of threats to their crops, much like that of military commanders who need to detect threats to their troops. Farmspace was founded by a team of military veterans, who, in previous careers, applied UAS technology on the battlefield.

For more information, visit Bonelaw.com.

ABOUT BONE MCALLESTER NORTON PLLC

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 37 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, call 615-238-6300 or visit bonelaw.com.

 

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