Legally selling your footage in the US

IAS

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Hello,

I've had thoughts of getting my Drone Pilots license, but for now I've just been flying for fun with my DJI inspire 1 and getting footage for my own benefit. This last weekend, I got some amazing footage of my city's local river near flood stage and I did some editing and posted it on facebook and YouTube. In 4 days, it has gotten over 200k views on facebook and shared over 6000 times. On YouTube, it's starting to get a lot more attention. I honestly hadn't had any thoughts of selling the rights to the footage, but I've been messaged by 3 different individuals asking to use it and also received a message from Storyful who wants to buy the exclusivity rights. I'd love to make some money off of this, but would that then make it for commercial purposes and therefore illegal since I don't have my Part 107? What if I got my license, would the footage be retroactively legal to sell? I'm not looking for any comments on how likely I would be to get caught. I want to follow the letter of the law. Any insight would be helpful. Here's the link to the video on YouTube.


Thanks!
 
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I'm sure you will get plenty of answers to your questions. I just want to say that is an awesome video. Nice smooth flying with good lighting and subject. Congrats!
 

IAS

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I'm sure you will get plenty of answers to your questions. I just want to say that is an awesome video. Nice smooth flying with good lighting and subject. Congrats!
Thanks!
 

Meta4

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What if I got my license, would the footage be retroactively legal to sell? .... I want to follow the letter of the law. Any insight would be helpful.
The rules say very little about selling work done before you get the Part 107.
The closest I can remember is a memo regarding media use prepared by an FAA lawyer.
I mentioned it here in a thread asking a very similar question: Incredibly lucky new Phantom owner

The FAA are all about maintaining a safe aviation environment - not who can sell videos and when.
The FAA will have no care at all about the file creation date on work you sell because it will have no impact on aviation safety.
Whether you sell or not, the flying has already been done. Leaving the video unsold won't make the skies any safer.
 
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BigAl07

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It all depends on "Intent of the flight". So long as you were flying as a hobbyist with no intention of making the product for sale you are ok. I admit it's kind of gray area so long as it's a one-off deal. If you "happen" to find yourself in this same predicament again then you may be a part time commercial operator LOL.

*Update* After watching the video I fully understand why they want it. VERY impressive.
 

IAS

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It all depends on "Intent of the flight". So long as you were flying as a hobbyist with no intention of making the product for sale you are ok. I admit it's kind of gray area so long as it's a one-off deal. If you "happen" to find yourself in this same predicament again then you may be a part time commercial operator LOL.

Thanks for the input! I know it's grey area, but is there any documentation to support that? In the case of storyful, I was reading the agreement and they said that the legality of the video is my responsibility and if they get sued for anything, then they will come after me for compensation.
 

BigAl07

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No I don't have anything to support this (and you're smart to ask) but if you look on the FAA's website you might "eventually" find it.

I spend a lot of time researching these things as it's something that affects me and my company deeply. I've immersed myself into this for many years now and like to think (possibly kidding myself) I have a decent grasp on how this works.

Lastly, the recipient has no worry about "being sued" because they have done nothing wrong. As long as the footage is YOURS to sell that's all that should matter to them. Fault of the flight lies solely with you the remote aircraft operator.
 
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Looks like you only need to get the part 107 in your hand because it appears you have the rest in the bag pilot! Great flying and shooting. Hats off
 
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IAS

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Thanks for the info and Kudos! I'll run with that and see what comes of it!
 
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FCD

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I agree with BigA107 that it is the intent of the flight at the time. If you intended to fly as a hobbyist, I believe down the road if someone wants to purchase your video, you could sell it. Please note I am not an attorney and you should verify for yourself. Nice video!
 
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Great footage! Gotta check that park out as well when I'm in those parts...impressive nature!
 
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Hello,

I've had thoughts of getting my Drone Pilots license, but for now I've just been flying for fun with my DJI inspire 1 and getting footage for my own benefit. This last weekend, I got some amazing footage of my city's local river near flood stage and I did some editing and posted it on facebook and YouTube. In 4 days, it has gotten over 200k views on facebook and shared over 6000 times. On YouTube, it's starting to get a lot more attention. I honestly hadn't had any thoughts of selling the rights to the footage, but I've been messaged by 3 different individuals asking to use it and also received a message from Storyful who wants to buy the exclusivity rights. I'd love to make some money off of this, but would that then make it for commercial purposes and therefore illegal since I don't have my Part 107? What if I got my license, would the footage be retroactively legal to sell? I'm not looking for any comments on how likely I would be to get caught. I want to follow the letter of the law. Any insight would be helpful. Here's the link to the video on YouTube.


Thanks!

Wow,....That is indeed some very impressive video there!

Nicely done!
 
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Don't sell it, license it. That way you can sell it over and over. Stock footage like this is valuable. I've sold footage that is in feature films, not drone footage yet, but that could be coming.
 

D12

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Great footage! Congratulations on the interest in your video. The only thing I could possibly see in the video that the FAA could find as an infraction for was flying over people (i.e. pedestrians on the bridges) who are not part of your "crew". Keep up the great work with your aerial video skills. That video was incredible how it shows the power of a river.
 
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That's quite dramatic. Wish the transitions were smoother. Sell it or license it and just don't tell anyone.
 

BigAl07

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.... Sell it or license it and just don't tell anyone.
I hope you're willing to support someone if they take your bad advice and it doesn't go as you suggest????

Fortunately this thread is rather old so hopefully no one will take this advice as correct or a good idea.
 

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