Tennessee Code Title 39. Criminal Offenses § 39-13-902

(a) Notwithstanding § 39-13-903 , it is lawful to capture an image using an unmanned aircraft in this state:

(1) For purposes of professional or scholarly research and development by a person acting on behalf of an institution of higher education, as defined by § 49-7-802 , including a person who:

(A) Is a professor, employee, or student of the institution;  or

(B) Is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the institution;

(2) In airspace designated as a test site or range authorized by the federal aviation administration for the purpose of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace;

(3) As part of an authorized operation, exercise, or mission of any branch of the United States military, consistent with the Constitution of the United States;

(4) If the image is captured for the purposes of mapping;  provided, the image of any person or thing on private property captured in the course of mapping shall be subject to subdivision (a)(6) as an image captured incidental to the lawful capturing of an image;

(5) If the image is captured by or for an electric or natural gas utility:

(A) For operations and maintenance of utility facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system reliability and integrity;

(B) For inspecting utility facilities to determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and after construction of such facilities;

(C) For assessing vegetation growth for the purpose of maintaining clearances on utility easements;  or

(D) For utility facility routing and siting for the purpose of providing utility service;

(6) With the consent of the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image;

(7) For law enforcement purposes, as permitted by § 39-13-609 ;

(8) If the image is captured by state or local law enforcement authorities, or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of state authorities, for the purpose of:

(A) Surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be declared;

(B) Preserving public safety, protecting property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully declared state of emergency;  or

(C) Conducting routine air quality sampling and monitoring, as provided by state or local law;

(9) At the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of hazardous materials;

(10) For the purpose of fire suppression;

(11) For the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or well-being is in imminent danger;

(12) If the image is captured by a Tennessee licensed real estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image;

(13) Of public real property or a person on that property;

(14) If the image is captured by the owner, operator or agent, or a person under contract with the owner, operator or agent, of an oil, gas, water, or other pipeline for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, or repairing pipelines or other related facilities, and is captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an individual or real property located in this state;

(15) In connection with oil and gas pipeline and well safety and protection;

(16) In connection with port authority surveillance and security;

(17) As authorized or permitted by the federal aviation administration for use in a motion picture, television or similar production where the filming is authorized by the property owner and a state or local film permit agency, if required;  or

(18) As a part of a commercial service that has received authorization from the federal aviation administration to use unmanned aircraft or an unmanned aircraft operating under regulations promulgated by the federal aviation administration for commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

(b) An image captured by a state or local government agency, or by a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of such agency, shall be handled in accordance with § 39-13-609 and shall not be used for any purpose other than the lawful purpose for which the image was captured as permitted by this section.


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