Drones—formerly legal for killing far away people by remote control, spying on U.S. citizens, and taking impossibly well-behaved dogs for walks, but not for movies—are finally getting the go-ahead for use in commercial TV and filmmaking, according to The Wrap. The Federal Aviation Administration is due to make the announcement later today, ending the ban that prevents civilians from using drones for moneymaking purposes.
Filmmakers have already been using drones to get nice, cheap aerial shots. Skyfall used them legally in Turkey for scenes like a rooftop motorbike chase, while U.S. filmmakers have actually been using them here, too—only it’s been technically illegal. In 2011, the FAA tried to fine a man for using a drone to make a commercial, only to have a judge throw it out in March. So, it’s not like the law was being taken super seriously anyway.
But now, thanks to a request the Motion Picture Association of America helped file on behalf of seven filming companies—plus a nudge from Congress, of all places—the FAA is lifting the ban. It may result in some neat things happening; indeed, Disney Imagineers have already submitted a patent for drones in Disney theme parks that actually looks pretty cool.