Judge Overturns Texas Drone Law

On March 29, Judge Robert Pitman for the District Court in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division overturned a restrictive Texas drone law. The law made it unlawful to use “an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property . . . with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.” Though there is an exemption for “research…on behalf of… higher education,” journalists have been denied permission to use a drone, as well as threatened with arrest for using a drone to film the aftermath of a fatal fire. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) filed the lawsuit in 2019, claiming the law violated the First Amendment. In his opinion, Judge Pitman held the law to be a content-based restriction on speech and presumptively unconstitutional and enjoined the Texas government from enforcing the provision. Read more here.


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