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NOAA Requires License For Photos of the Earth

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the agressive-product-placement dept.

Space 311

Teancum writes "In an interesting show of the level of regulations private spacecraft designers have to go through, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has demanded that American participants of the Google Lunar X Prize obtain a license if their spacecraft are 'capable of actively or passively sensing the Earth's surface, including bodies of water, from space by making use of the properties of the electromagnetic waves emitted, reflected, or diffracted by the sensed objects.' What prompted NOAA to ask for this license came from a visit by the XPrize staff to the NOAA offices in Maryland. What is going to happen when 'space tourists' bring their private cameras along for the ride?"

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311 comments

Absurd! (4, Funny)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about 6 years ago | (#24349759)

As if RIAA and MPAA weren't enough, now this NOAA: Who's come next, AAA?

Re:Absurd! (4, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | about 6 years ago | (#24349953)

As if RIAA and MPAA weren't enough, now this NOAA: Who's come next, AAA?

That's why I'm in AA.

Re:Absurd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350143)

"Sir, you are not authorized to take pictures of that, you're stealing views!"

Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (5, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | about 6 years ago | (#24349765)

Here's the letter from NOAA to the Lunar X participants [noaa.gov] that outlines how this is pursuent to the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 - says it may take up to 120 days to obtain the license - think about that before you take your first picure! ;-)

In the meantime, you can use existing satellite photos to image your house [komar.org] and here's a cool way to get a nifty Earth view. [fourmilab.ch]

Re:Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (5, Insightful)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 6 years ago | (#24349871)

Well then, looks like the winner of the Lunar X Prize won't launch in the US, and probably won't start a business here either.

Re:Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (1)

anotherone (132088) | about 6 years ago | (#24350237)

What, really? Because it might take 4 months to get a permit? I bet that any potential space travel business will have more than a 4 month lead time from conception to launch.

Re:Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (4, Interesting)

ryanisflyboy (202507) | about 6 years ago | (#24350121)

Here is a link to the act itself:

http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sge/landsat/15USCch82.html [nasa.gov]

It looks like the purpose is to protect the commercial interests of private space companies. If all the sudden people are launching rockets and giving away the data for free, that hurts space commerce. The goal here, again, is commercial. They want to create a commercial space enterprise. So while that sector is growing Uncle Sam is going to protect it.

Because they have a policy of being "nondiscriminatory" they have to either charge everyone, or charge no one.

However, one could argue that if your goal is non-commercial this wouldn't apply to you.

This policy probably had good intentions, but is now very out of date.

Re:Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 6 years ago | (#24350263)

It looks like the purpose is to protect the commercial interests of private space companies. If all the sudden people are launching rockets and giving away the data for free, that hurts space commerce. ... This policy probably had good intentions, but is now very out of date.

Saying "if other people make money doing X, we're going to pass a law preventing you from doing X for free" never has good intentions. It can only be a favor to existing commercial interests in return for their lining politicians' pockets.

Re:Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (5, Funny)

yndrd1984 (730475) | about 6 years ago | (#24350389)

Saying "if other people make money doing X, we're going to pass a law preventing you from doing X for free" never has good intentions.

Of course it does! Outlawing designated drivers forces people to use taxis, which helps the economy. Only allowing only professional movers to take furniture in and out of houses prevents injuries to out-of-shape people. And of course, making every babysitter get registered as a state-certified child care provider would reduce the risk of harm to the children, and would also keep for-profit day cares in business, which means more jobs.

See, nothing but good intentions!

Re:Notice from NOAA to Lunar X Prize Participants (5, Funny)

jcwayne (995747) | about 6 years ago | (#24350357)

I, for one, never welcomed our road to hell paving overlords.

Wow (5, Interesting)

jrwr00 (1035020) | about 6 years ago | (#24349769)

Um, Wow i didnt think you could copyright THE EARTH.. What next? The Moon!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349793)

Me own all rights to moon! Pay up or get off my rock! Kids these days...

Naming rights (4, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24349795)

That's the Budweiser Moon© now, they paid for the naming rights.

Re:Naming rights (2, Interesting)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#24350093)

Actually Rolling Rock wants to put ads on the moon but that may well be a joke. http://moonvertising.com/ [moonvertising.com]

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

dattaway (3088) | about 6 years ago | (#24349839)

Um, Wow i didnt think you could copyright THE EARTH.. What next? The Moon!

I'm sorry, but the Moon is a registered trademark according to the USPTO. Seriously. 9482 entries with "Moon"

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

Zadaz (950521) | about 6 years ago | (#24350449)

I'm sorry, but the Moon is a registered trademark according to the USPTO. Seriously. 9482 entries with "Moon"

Though to be fair most of those are innovative new ways to drop your pants. The rest are owned by the Chattanooga Bakery [wikipedia.org] for it's chocolate dipped gram cracker and marshmallow snacks.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 6 years ago | (#24349873)

M-O-O-N, that spells Pepsi®!

Re:Wow (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | about 6 years ago | (#24350051)

You can't; if it was a copyright issue, (a) they'd be laughed out of court, but (b) they could in theory try to make it apply to teams located in any country that's signed the Berne Convention. Which they're not. It's just the Americans they're pulling this bullshit on.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 years ago | (#24350425)

Actually, almost all countries with a space program have a similar rule/law. They want to know who is taking images of potentially secrete spots like military bases or missile silos and what they will be used for. Almost all commercial satellites had to go through this too. The 1992 law is just the recent carnation of it. The previous act which was in 1984 or so maintained that the government owned all private satellites with these capabilities and held the potential to censor images. Before the 1984 act, there wasn't to many commercial satellites with this capability.

This is actually part of the import/export controls on technology (ITAR). Any company under US jurisdiction wanting to mess with a satellite or anything going into space has to deal with it. It isn't hard to do but it does require time and a little amount of effort. The reason NOAA contacted participants of the Google Xprize program is because they didn't seem to be aware of it. But any launch authorization will require a statement to these capabilities and if present, a permit of any part of the company is connected to US jurisdiction.

I imagine as private space flight and tourism becomes more available, the laws will be changed someone to make it a: more apparent and b: to accommodate new demands from these flights and their passengers.

What will happen? (4, Informative)

The Man (684) | about 6 years ago | (#24349783)

Well, in order to understand what will happen with this sort of thing, one first needs to understand why so many banks are headquartered in Bermuda, Macao, Jersey, and Guernsey and why shipping companies are so often headquartered in the Marshall Islands. Once you understand that, you'll know the outcome of US policy on private space travel.

Re:What will happen? (5, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | about 6 years ago | (#24350361)

If Cuba ever gets its act together, it could become the hub of private space.

On what grounds... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349803)

... do they claim this ?

Re:On what grounds... (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 6 years ago | (#24349817)

Presumably it's a case of "because-we-can".

Re:On what grounds... (1)

megaditto (982598) | about 6 years ago | (#24349951)

National Security.

Re:On what grounds... (3, Funny)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 6 years ago | (#24350137)

Same thing.

Secrecy to the nth absurd (5, Insightful)

twatter (867120) | about 6 years ago | (#24349811)

The Space sensing act of when??

Is the US government the only entity that can image the planet from orbit?

What, are they scared I might take a photo of the aliens in Area51?

And what if I'm snapping away at Africa? Australia?

Do I go to jail or what??

Ridiculous.

Re:Secrecy to the nth absurd (1)

taniwha (70410) | about 6 years ago | (#24349929)

just so long as it isn't Israel - half the act seems to have to do with there

Re:Secrecy to the nth absurd (1)

twatter (867120) | about 6 years ago | (#24350113)

But this 'law' applies only to US citizens. Does it not? I understand that from the article.

I don't think the NOAA sent release forms to be signed by Soviet cosmonauts.

I took a little bit time to read the regulation (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c102:H.R.6133.ENR: [loc.gov] ).

It seems this is really not that bad in the sense that it controls access to space-generated data (from weather satellites fr example).

But it also seesm that it's a regulation that is being taken to the nth degree simply because it's there and it never predicted civialan space exploration.

Re:Secrecy to the nth absurd (1)

westfake (1330997) | about 6 years ago | (#24349963)

The Jews doesn't want you to know their secret base.

Re:Secrecy to the nth absurd (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350057)

it's not ridiculous at all.
when you think about it, taking a photo of the earth from space isn't (conceptually) any different from walking into a store a stealing a CD.

Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 (2, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about 6 years ago | (#24349819)

This is because Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 and its implementing regulations require any person subject to the jurisdiction or control of the United States who operates or proposes to operate a private remote sensing space system that images the Earth, and/or establishes substantial connections with the United States regarding the operation of such a system to obtain a license from NOAA.

Blame this, the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 [nasa.gov]

It's a privacy thing. (5, Funny)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | about 6 years ago | (#24349827)

I can totally understand this, If my Florida was flapping in the breeze I wouldn't want people taking snapshots either.

Re:It's a privacy thing. (0, Redundant)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#24349933)

If my Florida was flapping in the breeze I wouldn't want people taking snapshots either.

Cover up that thing with some Bermuda Shorts, will ya? And stay away from Banger Maine.
     

Re:It's a privacy thing. (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 6 years ago | (#24350109)

You could at least wear a New Jersey, too.

Re:It's a privacy thing. (1)

rk (6314) | about 6 years ago | (#24350531)

If I have to keep putting on more clothes, I'll eventually be washingtons of laundry.

Europe is just as bad (1)

mangu (126918) | about 6 years ago | (#24350251)

Have you ever seen how Denmark is kicking the Scandinavian balls?

This is actually for real (5, Informative)

Steve1952 (651150) | about 6 years ago | (#24349831)

This is actually for real. See:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c102:1:./temp/~c1029W3AOE:e25773 [loc.gov] :

SEC. 202. CONDITIONS FOR OPERATION.

(a) LICENSE REQUIRED FOR OPERATION- No person who is subject to the jurisdiction or control of the United States may, directly or through any subsidiary or affiliate, operate any private remote sensing space system without a license pursuant to section 201.

(b) LICENSING REQUIREMENTS- Any license issued pursuant to this title shall specify that the licensee shall comply with all of the requirements of this Act and shall--

(1) operate the system in such manner as to preserve the national security of the United States and to observe the international obligations of the United States in accordance with section 506;

(2) make available to the government of any country (including the United States) unenhanced data collected by the system concerning the territory under the jurisdiction of such government as soon as such data are available and on reasonable terms and conditions;

(3) make unenhanced data designated by the Secretary in the license pursuant to section 201(e) available in accordance with section 501;

(4) upon termination of operations under the license, make disposition of any satellites in space in a manner satisfactory to the President;

(5) furnish the Secretary with complete orbit and data collection characteristics of the system, and inform the Secretary immediately of any deviation; and

(6) notify the Secretary of any agreement the licensee intends to enter with a foreign nation, entity, or consortium involving foreign nations or entities.

Pooh... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 6 years ago | (#24349979)

completely unconstitutional. Not only does it violate freedom of the press, but Congress has no constitutional authority to create such a law.

Re:Pooh... (1)

Steve1952 (651150) | about 6 years ago | (#24350003)

Well they did it. Of course it may be unconstitutional, but since its a "national security" thing, the courts may not want to get involved.

All in all, the license for a few pixel image from the moon should be trivial to get. Just a bit of extra useless paperwork.

Re:Pooh... (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | about 6 years ago | (#24350241)

Of course they have! And the law shall apply to the entire world!

Re:Pooh... (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 6 years ago | (#24350287)

Read again the bit about international obligations. Congress has consitutional authority to pass laws in accordance with treaties that the US has entered into. It's a nice loophole that lets them step around other parts of the constitution if they really want to (just get the treaty negotiated first), not unlike the interstate commerce clause.

Ultimately the Supreme Court may rule otherwise, of course, but getting to that point is not an easy or cheap process.

Not sure what any of that has to do with freedom of the press - that relates to publishing pictures you've already taken, not taking them in the first place. Do you think a press pass is enough to get you into (to use the ubiqutious example) Area 51?

No... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 6 years ago | (#24350405)

You confuse access (Area 51) to free press. If you have pictures, you can publish them. The gov't cannot infringe upon civil rights through treaties.

I can be pragmatic, and recognize that there are many Federal laws which are clearly unconstitutional, yet still exist and are enforced. The entire body of regulatory "law" is one example - Congress has no authority to deligate its powers. That only proves that we are not a nation of law.

Re:No... (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 6 years ago | (#24350523)

No, you confuse access (launching satellites that can take pictures) with free press. The NOAA licensing is not about what you do with the pictures later, it's about taking them in the first place. To the extent that it is restricting what you do with them, that's you voluntarily giving up some rights to obtain access in the first place -- nothing unconstitutional about that.

Not that I necessarily disagree with the rest of your comment.

Re:This is actually for real (5, Interesting)

baby_robots (990618) | about 6 years ago | (#24349993)

It seems like it would be hard to enforce jurisdiction in space when we don't even have jurisdiction 10 miles off our coastline.

Planting the Flag in the New World (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24350257)

It seems like it would be hard to enforce jurisdiction in space

But that's really the whole point you see; extending government jurisdiction into space. Suppose Virgin Galactic builds a space hotel, is it an independent nation? A privately owned holding not subject to any man made laws? What about 100 years from now, I'm sure the governments of Earth would prefer to have control over Lunar He3 resources. [wisc.edu] To do that they need to start slowly establishing authority in space. Next, any space hotel will be declared to be under the control of the home nation of the corporation that builds/operates it. Then that nation just expands it's sphere of influence in the name of security,exploration and manifest destiny. Really it's just a land grab.

Re:This is actually for real (1)

juiceboxfan (990017) | about 6 years ago | (#24350275)

It seems like it would be hard to enforce jurisdiction in space when we don't even have jurisdiction 10 miles off our coastline.

Not sure what you mean by that. Like most other countries we have full control of the waters up to 12 nautical miles [wikipedia.org] of the coast and limited control 200 miles out.

Does this mean orbital psychics need a license? (1)

Invidious (106932) | about 6 years ago | (#24350187)

The question here is what 'remote sensing' means. I think that automatically exempts any hand held camera, but I'm not sure about sensors on a manned spacecraft. The entire bit posted above seems to deal primarily with satellites, or at least that seems to be the intent.

Completely Ridiculous (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#24349837)

This is so utterly ridiculous that I lack words to describe my reaction.

It's not copyright... but it acts like copyright. Sort of.

For the second time in two days, all I can say is: what a crock.

Re:Completely Ridiculous (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about 6 years ago | (#24349967)

It has nothing to do with copyright. The NOAA is a regulatory agency similar to the FCC or the FAA: there to make life more difficult for everybody, while doing nothing useful in the process.

Re:Completely Ridiculous (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350067)

It has nothing to do with copyright.

You must be the stupidest fucktardian cuntwaffle on Earth to respond to a person who says "It's not copyright" by telling them exactly what they told you.

Re:Completely Ridiculous (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#24350267)

Quote: "It's not copyright... but it acts like copyright."

Did you bother to read?

It's fairly obvious to this AC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349845)

...that these regulations are a security measure to prevent amateur space photographers from snapping pics of Area 51 and the like, and then selling those photos to various interested parties and national governments.

Re:It's fairly obvious to this AC... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#24350045)

...that these regulations are a security measure to prevent amateur space photographers from snapping pics of Area 51 and the like, and then selling those photos to various interested parties and national governments.

I thought men in black come into your home at 3am and pixelate all your space photos.
     

Close your eyes! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349851)

That would seem to include eyesight. I guess everyone will need to fly blind.

OK, who gave them copyright of the earth? (1)

spike1 (675478) | about 6 years ago | (#24349857)

Whatever happened to limited copyright?
The earth is BILLIONS of years old, and the only justification anyone could possibly have that it was still in copyright would be if they tried to claim the creator was still alive...

But if that were the case, they still wouldn't own the copyrights... Which-ever one of the religions that got it RIGHT would.

Re:OK, who gave them copyright of the earth? (1)

emilper (826945) | about 6 years ago | (#24350083)

What about the lifespan of the Creator ? Isn't it unfair to have His copyright expire while He is still alive ?

At least He is a person, not a corporation ... even if it seems there are quite a few corporations competing to be His legal mandatories on Earth.

Now that NOAA got religion, I'm waiting for reactions from the other monotheistic Churches.

Copyright of Earth (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 6 years ago | (#24350203)

You can only be granted copyrights on a work you created. Misguided as America may be, they definitely didn't create the earth.

Re:Copyright of Earth (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | about 6 years ago | (#24350317)

You could consider settled areas to be derivative works of art with their own copyright. And although I don't know who worked the first week, I know that on the eighth day the Dutch created the Netherlands.

Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349865)

Get it? Obtain a license... That's hilarious. It is, isn't it? That's a joke, right?

And people wonder why... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349881)

The rest of the world is nowadays inclined to treat american laws with a huge "fuck you".

Seriously, the russians (already doing it) and - god help us all - the british (virgin) are the ones already strongly involved in private space tourism. America sucks so much these days.

NOAA needs new calendars (1)

JavaBear (9872) | about 6 years ago | (#24349883)

The ones they have now are obviously faulty, 1 April isn't due for another 8 months.

Definition of 'land remote sensing' (4, Interesting)

ribit (952003) | about 6 years ago | (#24349885)

Definition 5 from the regulations: "The term 'land remote sensing' means the collection of data which can be processed into imagery of surface features of the Earth from an unclassified satellite or satellites, other than an operational United States Government weather satellite." It appears to only apply to 'satellites'?

Re:Definition of 'land remote sensing' (1)

Mateorabi (108522) | about 6 years ago | (#24350219)

So as long as your orbital trajectory intersects a space body (earth, moon, sun, etc.) you are OK? You are also OK if you have reached escape velocity? Any other trajectory is in orbit arround something in the solar system and hence a satellite of that something. Also, I guess no pictures from the moon, which is a natrual and (one would hope) unclassified satellite of earth.

Re:Definition of 'land remote sensing' (1)

ribit (952003) | about 6 years ago | (#24350269)

Hmmm.. My apartment is orbiting the sun.. Is it a satellite?

Re:Definition of 'land remote sensing' (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 6 years ago | (#24350239)

Definition 5 from the regulations: "The term 'land remote sensing' means the collection of data which can be processed into imagery of surface features of the Earth from an unclassified satellite or satellites, other than an operational United States Government weather satellite." It appears to only apply to 'satellites'?

Well, if you jump and take a picture while in freefall, you need a licence because you are a satellite. Don't forget that your orbit happens to intersect the surface of the Earth...

NOAA claiming ownership? (1)

bobwrit (1232148) | about 6 years ago | (#24349891)

So, NOAA's claiming ownership over the entire earth now. Other Countries aren't going to be happy about this....

Re:NOAA claiming ownership? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#24349965)

So, NOAA's claiming ownership over the entire earth now. Other Countries aren't going to be happy about this....

Hmmm. China reads "Made in China" from space. I wouldn't have expected that.
   

Stupid Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349893)

Last I remembered, space is outside the borders of the US...I'm starting to hate my country more and more...

So, at what distance from the earth's surface... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349909)

...do I need a license?

Obviously, when I'm standing on the ground and take a photo of the ground, I don't need a license. Neither do I need it from a mountain top. Probably not from an airplane or a weather balloon.
So, at what distance does this kick in and can anyone cite the applicable law and regulation?

Re:So, at what distance from the earth's surface.. (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#24350387)

100KM. [wikipedia.org]

Oops, sorry. This is an American story: 62 miles, 241 yards, 11 and 7/8 inches. Presumably, you'd have to be in orbit as well.

easy answer ; (1)

denisbergeron (197036) | about 6 years ago | (#24349919)

What is going to happen when "space tourists" bring their private cameras along for the ride?"
  Easy answer : but the spaceport in a country where freedom mean something and don't take photo of USA, nothing to see, nothing to photography here anyway. Sad but true.

I say screw em (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 6 years ago | (#24349935)

What are they gonna do, shoot down your satellites? Doubtful. They have NO AA.

Re:I say screw em (1)

Chrontius (654879) | about 6 years ago | (#24350439)

Actually, they do have ASAT weapons. Remember the satellite we shot down after talk that the hydrazine tank would impact intact like an orbit-to-surface bomb?

Hm, actually, I'm suddenly detecting a new motive for that shootdown. I for one wouldn't like to give away the results of the first study on my new strategic weapons system... anyone hear about the idea to put kinetic weapons on sub-launched ICBMs?

This is to stop WWIII (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349961)

Think about it and RTFA, this is to stop WWIII from starting, in 1992 things were still very hair-trigger to a launch and annilation of the entire earth, all over some dude with a camera on a rocket, which would be unidentified by the US and USSR. Yet it comes from US airspace, prelude to a first nuke launch is total denial you have launched to beat the 15 minute retaliatory window and pound their nukes in the silos prior to launch.

This is a launch from anywhere, especially the sea where our offensive sub fleet is.

Re:This is to stop WWIII (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350139)

Think about it and RTFA, this is to stop WWIII from starting, in 1992 things were still very hair-trigger to a launch and annilation of the entire earth, all over some dude with a camera on a rocket, which would be unidentified by the US and USSR.

The USSR was dissolved in 1991. Geez, how old are you??

He is Anonymous Coward (2, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about 6 years ago | (#24350199)

He is timeless.

Uhm ... say what? (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | about 6 years ago | (#24349981)

What makes taking a photo at 200 km different than taking it at 2km? Why the hell would you need to obtain a license from NOAA just because you go above some arbitrarily defined altitude?

However you put it, it's rather difficult to "actively or passively sensing the Earth's surface, including bodies of water" at any distance without resorting to the "use of the properties of the electromagnetic waves emitted, reflected, or diffracted by the sensed objects".

And what makes the Earth so fucking special in the first place? Why not add these requirements to other objects in an orbit around a star?

from the Government sucks department... (1)

OpinionatedDude (1323007) | about 6 years ago | (#24349983)

Between this and the guy getting arrested for shooting his malfunctioning lawn mower...I think maybe it's time to pack up and leave this silly country. Is Australia or NZ this screwed up yet?

Earth is flat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349991)

Earth is flat. They just don't want you to take photos to prove it.

"No Mr NOAA sir I wasn't TRYING to photograph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24349997)

Area 51."

Space is International territory (1)

jonfr (888673) | about 6 years ago | (#24350005)

Space is by definition a international territory. As such the laws that NOAA sites don't apply in space (they do in the U.S but not in space). Furthermore this would never stand up in court if they where to test it, that is my opinion. But I am not a lawyer and I don't live in the U.S.

U.S don't own space, even if NOAA seems to think so.

Re:Space is International territory (4, Informative)

Dredd13 (14750) | about 6 years ago | (#24350403)

Space is by definition a international territory. As such the laws that NOAA sites don't apply in space (they do in the U.S but not in space).

True, but a US citizen/corporation can be punished (whether this is "morally right" or not I am not debating) for actions they take outside the country.

For example, if a US citizen travels to Cuba and spends money "in Cuban jurisdiction", the law forbidding the spending of money in Cuba is not "in effect" because the US doesn't run Cuba, but when the US citizen gets back on home soil, you can bet that los federales will want a word with them.

It's only a matter of time before Americans begin getting busted for "driving too fast" on the Autobahn, or "inhaling illicit materials" in Amsterdam.

But, if you're a US citizen, these are the laws you've allowed yourself to be subject to, stupid as they are.

Dont excuse me NOAA (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24350123)

Cruise agencies, bus companies, airline companies do not require licenses or royalties for photos that are shot by their customers.

you cant either. probably the underlying reason is NOONE CAN COPYRIGHT/PATENT EARTH

so cut the crap.

Once again (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#24350179)

We have government appeasing big business interests, nothing more. This is similar to private weather companies trying to restrict access to weather satellites. Somewhere in Slashdot there is a story about it.

And the Russians and Chinese said: (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 6 years ago | (#24350195)

BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!

We. Don't. Think. So.

RS

In the Soviet States of America...... (5, Insightful)

budword (680846) | about 6 years ago | (#24350207)

All Soviet jokes aside, anyone notice how much the United States is resembling more and more the old school buffoons of the USSR ? It was illegal to possess accurate maps in the old USSR, to protect state secrets. Now we have the US claim you need a license to take a picture of the earth. It's just a 21st century version of screaming, "Papers Please". I for one, don't hail our old overlords.

How much? (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 6 years ago | (#24350223)

I agree that the whole concept of applying this to Lunar X-prize entrants is ludicrous, but if the law is on the books then NOAA has to at least pay lip service to it.

The question is, how much does the license cost? Back in the day, you needed an FCC license to operate a CB radio, and you still do to operate some bands/power levels of GRS radios (walky-talkies). But the license was just a registration thing - send in your application (I don't even recall it costing anything, maybe a couple bucks) and they sent you your offical license and call sign. Perhaps the NOAA "remote sensing" license -- at least in this case -- will be similar.

I can see some need for regulating (thus licensing) high resolution imaging satellites of the sort that put earlier generations of spysats to shame -- and I imagine the application for same requires all sorts of details about resolution, bandwidths, orbital parameters, download frequencies and encoding, and security measures to ensure that the pictures you took of $SENSITIVE_SITE don't end up in the wrong hands. And I can see charging a hefty price to someone who can probably afford it (satellites aren't cheap) for processing the paperwork.

But if NOAA is charging more than a token fee to process applications for something like Lunar X-Prize, (and the up-to 120 day turnaround is not encouraging), then write your congresscritters to (a) put the squeeze on NOAA to lighten up, and (b) amend the 1992 Act to bring it into the current millenium.

[Meanwhile, I'm pleased to note that my satellite which does remote sensing exclusively by gravity waves and neutrinos needs no such license. ;-) ]

Woah, learn something new every day (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 6 years ago | (#24350231)

I wasn't aware that the NOAA owned the Earth, maybe that's why aliens aren't coming and checking us out, they can't get a currency exchange for their buckazoids to get the outrageous license.

NOAA is the good guys (5, Informative)

daemonburrito (1026186) | about 6 years ago | (#24350243)

This is law, and is totally out of the control of NOAA.

I've done a lot of work with NOAA and NOAA datasets and this sort of thing happens a lot, because of businesses who believe that "the government should not be in the business of distributing data". Predictably, they lobby congress. FWIW, I've witnessed NOAA passively resist this bullshit as much as they can.

BTW, if you find this sort thing disgusting (as I do), stop going to weather.com and accu-weather. They are the worst offenders. Every couple of years they try to shut down NOAA ftp servers so they can be the gatekeepers of taxpayer-funded data (like maps).

This law, in particular, is a piece of a strategy that didn't work in the early 90s, thanks in large part to career people at NOAA. They got this law passed, but they weren't able to shut down the ftp servers.

Please don't blame the NOAA people. Blame the businesses like weather.com and accu-weather, and blame a bribable congress.

Tourists are OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350281)

The law actually excludes handheld cameras. "Small, hand-held cameras shall not be considered remote sensing space systems" (15 CFR 960.3 Definitions).

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350283)

I say do what you want in space. What are they going to do, seize your spacecraft?

Play the game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350307)

Lobby the Government to reduce their funding.

Lose the tinfoils hats... (3, Insightful)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | about 6 years ago | (#24350313)

Even for Slashdot, this is an overreaction. This is nothing more or less than a country having a law on the books that, read literally, applies to a situation that nobody envisioned when the law was originally written.

When you read the law in question, it was meant to regulate satellite operators from giving space images of sensitive American installations to not-so-friendly people. Seems pretty reasonable not to want the ABC Satellite Company to give high resolution images of military facilities to the Russians and Chinese, doesn't it? Unfortunately the way it was drafted it also applies to space tourists.

The law isn't stupid, it's just broader than anyone realized at the time Stupidity would be actually prosecuting anyone for taking a few snapshots out the spacecraft window without a license.

My hometown still has a law on the books that cars aren't allowed to scare the horses travelling down Main Street. Anyone want to get up in arms about that one while we're at it?

Re:Lose the tinfoils hats... (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24350461)

The law isn't stupid, it's just broader than anyone realized at the time Stupidity would be actually prosecuting anyone for taking a few snapshots out the spacecraft window without a license.

I think they realized exactly what they were doing..

DMCA anyone?

a quote from the post above yours.

This law, in particular, is a piece of a strategy that didn't work in the early 90s, thanks in large part to career people at NOAA. They got this law passed, but they [private services like accu-weather] weren't able to shut down the ftp servers.

Eh, not all bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350395)

The only section of the law that makes any sense is the part about publishing orbits and notifying the government of orbital deviations... but those notifications should probably be going to NASA.

The NoAA can suck eggs (1)

ourcraft (874165) | about 6 years ago | (#24350411)

Thanks very much. Talk about blind arrogance.

Next step (1)

MRB Constant (1333473) | about 6 years ago | (#24350421)

The next step is to require you to get a license to use Google EarthTM.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350479)

I think I speak for us all when I say, WTF!?!

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