U.S. considers drone licenses for film and TV producers

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[June 03, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. aviation authorities said on Monday they would consider allowing the film and television industry to use unmanned aircraft, or drones, for the first time.

Seven aerial photo and video production companies have asked for regulatory exemptions, facilitated by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a release.

The agency cited "tangible economic benefits" that could result from the move, but said it would act to make sure safety issues associated with drone use were mitigated.

Media companies are among the commercial groups not allowed under current FAA rules, but tens of thousands of drones are already in use in the United States, often flouting federal restrictions, for a wide range of tasks from farming to film making..

Their use has raised privacy and safety concerns. The FAA last month highlighted a case where a drone nearly collided with a passenger plane near a Florida airport.

The FAA has issued a number of exemptions, including to law enforcement, and has said it is "working aggressively to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace."

(Reporting by Ros Krasny and Alwyn Scott; Editing by Bill Trott)

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