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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Drones: Why Hollywood Needs Washington

The entertainment industry relies on government permission or cooperation in a variety of ways, from film permits to tax subsidies to the use of military equipment in movies.  At The Hill, Brendan Sasso reports on the latest example:
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) revealed in a lobbying disclosure report this week that it had urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow filmmakers to fly unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace. The group had previously disclosed lobbying on the issue in a report last October.

Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the MPAA, explained that putting a camera on an unmanned aircraft can be cheaper, safer and more useful than relying on a helicopter or a crane to get a difficult shot.
"You can innovate in a number of different, interesting ways to shoot a scene [using unmanned aircraft]," Gantman said.
The FAA is currently drafting rules to allow private groups to apply to fly drones. The agency aims to begin issuing private drone licenses by 2015.
Perhaps not coincidentally, The Hill also reports:
Labor unions and Hollywood donors are open to bankrolling Organizing for Action, the outside group that has been formed in support of President Obama’s second-term agenda.
 Even if corporate cash stays on the sidelines, Organizing for Action has a number of donor bases that it can tap for cash, including Hollywood stars and executives.
“While donors are still catching their breath from the election, we expect they will be very generous in support of the president’s ambitious agenda,” said Kevin Ryan with Andy Spahn & Associates, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that works with Hollywood donors.

The entertainment industry was a fundraising juggernaut for Obama during his reelection campaign, and has shown a willingness to make the six-figure donations that are the lifeblood of outside groups.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, gave $3 million to Priorities USA Action, while Director Steven Spielberg chipped in $1.1 million.