Drone violating law, but capturing vital news footage

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This might be a little meta, but it's pretty obvious this drone operator is violating the law - operating at night, in a TFR zone, close to people, etc. I haven't heard that the FAA is going after the operator. My own view is that this kind of lawbreaking is necessary to cover an important news story happening far from where most people live. The pilot is showing people suffering actual injury - and doesn't appear to be causing any, although that could change. Not that I would have the cajones to risk arrest, but I kinda admire this pilot. But YMMV.

https://www.inverse.com/article/24114-drone-video-standing-rock-water-cannon
 
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IMO breaking the law is breaking the law and he should be heavily fined by the FAA for flying in the dark with helicopters in the air no less. I've seen news video on tv of the protests and clashes with police without the need for drone footage. This pilot is just another idiot who shouldn't have a drone.
 
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Just curious - you guys don't think it's important as a news value to see what's going on in North Dakota? I have great respect for the FAA - but why is there a TFR over the protest site? It's not like there's a lot of traffic there, or the protestors are violent. IMO it's to stop us from seeing what's going on.
 

BigAl07

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Just curious - you guys don't think it's important as a news value to see what's going on in North Dakota? I have great respect for the FAA - but why is there a TFR over the protest site? It's not like there's a lot of traffic there, or the protestors are violent. IMO it's to stop us from seeing what's going on.

Breaking the LAW is just that and no the news agency does not have the authority to break any laws regardless. Reporters and media get way too much of a "Free Pass" as it is and I would love to see them get their tail-fins slapped for breaking the laws just like you and I would in that same situation.
 
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It's most-likely a TFR because of the law enforcement helicopters operating in the area. I recently inquired with the FAA if they have established a special short-notice authorization procedure for tv news stations so that they may cover sudden breaking news at a give location with a drone and was told no such procedure has been established yet, but that type of authorization would eventually become faster. At this time, it is recommended that a news station develop a working relationship and possible agreement with local airports on an airport by airport basis. But there is still no excuse for flying in a TFR area.
 
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Agreed. TFRs are up for a reason and need to be respected. If we hope to treated seriously as an industry, we need to respect the rules that go along with that or get those rules changed. Otherwise, it's the wild west, people get hurt and no one is going to like the safety or regulatory outcomes of that.
 
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