Keeping Wayward Drones is Illegal (in Italy, anyway)

In a welcome contrast to the current posturing of the American media right now, the police in Bologna, Italy have affirmed that drones still have the same legal protections as any other personal property, even when trespassing.

A local aerial photography company was demonstrating their microdrone at the University of Bologna (presumably beyond line of sight without FPV) when it lost GPS signal and performed a failsafe landing on an unnamed student's terrace. The student then made the unfortunate decision to put the craft up for sale on an Italian auction website for €1000, a crime which could earn him a year in jail.

Property laws are similar throughout the western world, but I suspect that the owners of this supposedly $40000 drone got more help from the Italian postal police than I would get from my local police if I lost my cheap foamy. Despite that, I think I'll make a "keeping lost property is a crime" sticker for it, just in case one day the threat of jail time encourages someone to help reunite me with my plane.

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Comment by Josh Potter on March 4, 2013 at 7:57am

That seems to be the bar for most US states.  Keeping stolen property is a crime, however if you see a drone lying in the woods you have no obligation to report it.  

Comment by Jonathan Price on March 4, 2013 at 4:06pm

Many people, even a few members here, seem to think you can do anything you want to anything or anyone on your property. You can't support that idea with the law or common sense, but people seem to think the rules don't apply when they're angry, as evidenced by the "Shoot Down A…Drone … Be A Hero" article I linked in the intro above.

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