Big Brother is watching you.

True or false: You may now be looking at a fine and jail time if you don’t register your drone.

Answer: Maybe.

A couple of months ago,  we posted a discussion of the growing use of drones in wedding photography. At the time, there was some ambiguity regarding the legal implications of the use of drones—do you have to register your drone, are there regulations governing the use of drones in public areas, are you supposed to submit a flight plan, that sort of thing. (Okay, the flight plan is almost certainly not a thing.)

Richard HarringtonWell, this just in: The Federal Aviation Administration has buckled down, put on their wire-rimmed spectacles, and taken a personal interest in your little quadcopter. According to Richard Harrington of, who has laid out the current scenario for us in this half-hour video, you could potentially be looking at penalties of up to $250,000.00… and/or three years of time in the pen. All for not properly registering a drone: that seemingly innocuous toy-slash-hobby-slash-second shooter. “If you fly a drone, quadcopter, UAS, or model airplane,” warns Harrington, “this video affects you.”

Here is a guy who knows whereof he speaks. Richard Harrington has written more than 40 books on professional photography and videography, has created over 100 video courses, and has numerous other impressive credentials. Needless to say, you’ll do well to check out what Mr. Harrington has to offer on this topic. His own write-up can be found on his website, [here]. He has condensed hundreds of pages of government-speak on registering a drone into half an hour of helpful instruction. Richard, you’re our new favorite guy.

Here’s the video.

Now, in case you were preoccupied with heating up your beans and rice while listening to the video with one ear, here’s the condensed version:

Why the New Rules?

In 2015, there were about 1.6 million small unmanned aircraft systems introduced into the market, many of them sold to inexperienced users, people unfamiliar with the idea of shared airspace. There is a genuine safety concern, and the FAA is taking the situation very seriously.

Which Devices?

Is your particular unmanned device affected by the new regulations? Richard Harrington’s got the dope for you.

Registration Process

The registration process began December 21st. Hoo, boy! One hoop after another, and Richard takes you through it all somewhat painlessly.

Requirements / Regulations

The new rules were announced on December 14. What are the details you need to know about, when navigating this new regulatory environment?

It’s a Brave New World out there, and Big Brother is watching you. Maybe. Make sure you know everything you need to know about the registration of your unmanned aerial photo-gadgetry.