Permits to purchase non-commercial footage for commercial film

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Hi All, 

I am trying to find out what rules and regulations there are for purchasing drone footage shot by a marine scientist drone pilot for their research. While their intention was to shoot the footage for research purposes. We have found that the footage will be useful for our international and commercial broadcast documentary. 

Are there any legal issues with purchasing this footage? Or do we need to get permits that allow us to buy said footage? If anyone has any links to laws regarding this issue that would be helpful. Also if anyone has any contacts to people who will know more about this, that would also be super helpful. 

Thanks so much everyone. 


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Depends, where are you?  Where is the company that shot the footage located?  And where was the footage shot/who’s airspace? 

In the US there are no restrictions on the company purchasing the footage.  The regulations apply to the 107Pilot.  If the footage has any Intrinsic value, even if there was no money exchanged, the FAA considers that to be commercial so the drone operator would need a Part107 certificate. 

The issue for the marine researcher is did the drone violate their permit and does the footage show the drone within 100 feet of the whale (or whatever animal) they were collecting data?  

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