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Comment: Baloney Re:Not a rule (Score 1) 199

by NatZi (#47442837) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

This is absolutely untrue but gets parroted by many as somehow accurate.

1) Congress, not the FAA, statutorily defines aircraft and national airspace. Essentially, Congress, not the FAA, broadly defines aircraft and model aircraft and drone aircraft are aircraft by Congressional definition. An aircraft in national airspace (essentially,anything outside under Ad coelum doctrine) IS subject to FAA regulation.
2) In 1981, the FAA struck a compromise with RESPONSIBLE model aircraft operators who by definition are subject to FAA regulations applying to ANY aircraft. Essentially, the FAA said, hey, if model aircraft hobbyists act responsibly and voluntarily fly away from people, away from noise sensitive areas, and away from occupied aircraft, we, the FAA, will not prosecute hobbyists or develop onerous formal regulations for model aircraft.
3) Enter the drone aircraft operators who incorrectly parrot "we don't understand the law, don't want to obey the voluntary guidelines, and want to do what ever we want to." The legally flawed argument here is because no specific regulations exist, then no regulations exist. This is absolutely false and misunderstands how the law works and specifically misconstrues administrative regulations.
4) In 2012, Congress, responding to illegal and extremely risky activity by drone aircraft operators, specifically defined model aircraft BY STATUTE. The statute specifically defines model aircraft as aircraft NOT used for commercial uses and flown responsibly AWAY from people and other aircraft. Any other use is a commercial use and now, per Congress, is subject to FAA normal regulations for any other aircraft activity.
5) In 2014, a NTSB administrative law judge deciding on a $10,000 fine for alleged reckless operation of aircraft in 2011 (note the date carefully), initially held the general regulations did not apply under 2011 law--called the Pirker opinion. First, this Pirker decision was appealed and is stayed so it has no effect until decided on appeal. Second, Pirker itself specifically states that the 1981 guidelines DO apply. Third, even if Pirker would somehow be upheld on appeal (unlikely), Pirker applies to activities occurring BEFORE 2012 when Congress specifically defined model aircraft by statute (a statute usually trumps a regulation). Thus, while drone aircraft activists make wild claims about Pirker, Pirker is really of little or no value.

The sum: drone aircraft are aircraft, are subject to statutory law, are subject to FAA regulation, and unless meeting the very specific criteria of the 2012 statutory definition of model aircraft, cannot be flown as many are flying them today--especially cannot be flown for commercial purposes, around people, in noise sensitive areas, or near ANY other aircraft including other drone aircraft.

Comment: Didn't use a lawyer? (Score 1) 228

by NatZi (#47364001) Attached to: The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

Unfortunately, this is a reality for some entities that choose to do-it-yourself with 501(c)(3) applications rather than seek legal advice. An attorney can guide an organization through the very precise and specific requirements necessary to acquire federal tax exemption status--or, help an organization to find other legal methods to similarly achieve its objectives.

Even if 501(c)(x) status was approved, an entity must still typically maintain that status (along with any state or other requirements). Many often confuse the non-profit or not-for-profit entity, which is almost always organized under state law, with obtaining federal 501(c)(x) status, which attaches to the entity. These are two different processes with extremely different requirements and different requirements to maintain.

I don't want to sound like an attorney-apologist. But 501(c)(x) status can be a challenging process--as it should be because it is supposed to be an extraordinary classification. Most realize that anyone can download the forms and possibly even put something in the boxes. But that does not mean that one fully understands the legal aspects of the task or risks.

But rather than reading too much into a single IRS determination letter, hopefully, others can learn an invaluable lesson--and avoid a not-atypical 4 year wait (especially if the initial application requires multiple rounds of clarifications because it was not completed adequately) and potential frustration of donors.

Comment: Radio Interference, Insurance, and Other Issues (Score 4, Interesting) 97

by NatZi (#47288613) Attached to: When Drones Fall From the Sky

While drone activists and commercial drone aircraft operators/manufacturers have tried to downplay the numerous problems with drone aircraft use, the facts remain:
--most of today's drone aircraft are hobbyist-grade devices without significant, controlled testing;
--major issues remain unresolved (and will worsen if usage increases) related to radio interference;
--many "hobbist" drones use crowded, common radio spectrum for control (some drones are semi-autonomous or may have basic loss-of-signal processors but again these are largely untested in controlled envionments);
--it is unclear whether insurers (especially in commercial uses as an insurer defines commercial) will cover the damages from drone aircraft, damages which can be significant including death or property destruction (fires from overheated motors hot enough to melt solder, etc.);
--with no licensing or registration of drones, it is hard to hold the drone aircraft operator accountable when problems that arise (after all, it's your kid who lost an eye from a drone strike over a playground but hey, the drone operator got away the police say); and
--the willful violation of the long-standing R/C model aircraft guidelines places R/C model aircraft operator privileges in jeopardy (which is a shame because these hobbyists have decades of responsible operation AWAY from populated areas, AWAY from noise sensitive areas, and AWAY from other aircraft).

This does not even account for the numerous privacy issues which are equally pressing.

Thus, looking at the issues posed by drone aircraft (and especially for commercial uses) and failure of the drone aircraft industry / drone aircraft activists) to take a meaningful lead on these issues, fair and practical regulations of drones are needed from both the FAA and the FCC such as testing of drone aircraft and components, radio spectrum limits, licensing of pilots, required training, mandatory liability coverage, drone aircraft inspections and certifications, and drone aircraft registration. No one says drones cannot be operated at all; but if operated, people need adequate protections and assurances just as with any other aircraft. That is common sense.

Comment: Company sanctioned discrimination? (Score 2) 435

by NatZi (#47262535) Attached to: Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

42 USC 2000e-2 flatly prohibits US employers from:
"limit[ing], segregat[ing], or classify[ing] his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

Note the repeated use of the word ANY in the statute--often "overlooked" in the name of so-called "diversity." Those factors cannot be used to either deny OR "pursue" any group.

Thus, implying that the employment numbers are anything but simply facts seems to presuppose an illegal discrimination practice because an employer may be inherently classifying employees based on prohibited factors rather than on the qualifications for the job--that is, illegally using these prohibited factors to "favor" certain applicants to "get the numbers up." (Euphemistically termed reverse-discrimination--but any discrimination is prohibited-discrimination under the statute.)

The purpose of the Civil Rights movement in the US and decades of federal action was to eliminate all such practices. Instead, we continue to see companies and activists trot out the race/sex/etc. card instead of focusing on building bona fide qualifications/talent and seeking excellence in the workplace.

 

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