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James Mackler Talks about Staying Power of Drones with the Nashville Scene

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler spoke with Steve Haruch, reporter for the Nashville Scene, about the complexity of the laws and regulations surrounding the use of drones. But despite the difficulty in traversing those rules, the reporter points out that drones are here to stay.

James’s comments appeared in two articles in this week’s Scene. In the cover story, he explains that the rules are confusing, so he tends to be cautious in his reading of what the FAA says is allowed and what isn’t allowed. The current law starts with a blanket ban on the use of drones and then includes exceptions, such as for authorized military use, search and rescue and scholarly research. “I would never tell a client to violate FAA regulations. . .but if someone came to me and said the FAA was trying to enforce those regulations, I would work very hard to defend them by arguing that those regulations are not enforceable. That particular person may or may not have violated the law, or the regulation, but there’s probably an argument to be made either way,” he said.

And in a supporting story on how two Tennessee companies are using drones legally, James points that “a strict reading of the regulation” hints that a commercial organization utilizing drones for commercial purposes “would be included in the regulations, unless you’ve got a COA (certificate of authorization) or you’re flying at an FAA test site.”

James concentrates his law practice in the areas of federal criminal defense, regulatory compliance and civil litigation. He is the founder of Bonelaw’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) focus, the first of its kind in the region.


Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit
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