Soon, commercial drones will be flying through our skies. Then, they'll break. Then, Newtonian physics will take over and you'll be wearing a drone as a permanently embedded hat. Then, you'll want to sue somebody.
But by then it'll be too late. Because laws are being written now to regulate commercial drone use, and entire law firms are gearing up to help companies who want to use these machines. And drone using companies don't hire lawyers to figure out how to make it easier for people who are injured when the super-villain EMP sends all of these machines crashing down to Earth...
The Washington Post had a big Sunday article about how law firms are gearing up for drone business:
Banking on the fact that drones will become more mainstream in commercial and private use, two major U.S. law firms announced last week that they are starting drone practice groups — Richmond-based LeClairRyan and Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge.
The FAA is writing proposals right now to regulate commercial drone use. The agency expects that 7,500 drones could be in use by 2018.
Who will assist the FAA as it tries to design a regulatory structure that promotes business while also protecting us non-mechanical humans from 7,500 flying robots that need to download the Issac Asimov patch?
Well, it's not going to be the law firms. They work for the machines:
"We want to help [companies] shape rulemaking and get a seat at the table, then actually operate in a world they had a hand in creating," [said Mark Dombroff of McKenna Long].
See, the drone using companies are going to have their lawyers badgering the FAA as they try to write the rules. This Dombroff guy used to be a lawyer for the FAA. Does anybody want to place bets on whether the FAA's rules will be more favorable to the companies using drones, or the people getting injured by drones?
After the excitement over Amazon's proposed Octocopters that will fly packages to your door, I warned people to be very worried about how these rules are written. People are going to wake up one day with a drone in their living room only to find that Amazon is not liable for the broken window.
Normal citizens are not going to have the power to keep the FAA honest, but your Congressmen do. Here are the members of the Congressional subcommittee that oversees the FAA. These might be people worth keeping an eye on. The lawyers might work for the companies, but your Congressmen — you know, technically and stuff — work for you.
Shopping And The Law [Above the Law]