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The FAA's drone database encounters turbulence

You know how you're supposed to register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs? Well, that may change.

This sucker is one step closer to regulatory freedom.
Dave Cheng/CNET

Drone owners won a major victory in court Friday, when the United States Court of Appeals said the registration system may not be legal.

It all came form a a lawsuit brought by a model aircraft hobbyist, John Taylor, who hails from Washington, DC -- yeah, the place that doesn't have voting power in congress and whose license plates typically include the phrase "Taxation Without Representation."

"Taylor does not think that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the Registration Rule and require him to register," the court wrote. "Taylor is right."

The drone registration system took flight two years ago, telling owners to pay $5 apiece or face potential criminal charges. Meanwhile, drone sales continue to climb, more than doubling in the past year for example.

The FAA's drone program hasn't crashed yet, though. The FAA may still appeal the ruling. And congress could pass a new law authorizing the program.

It's also worth noting, the decision is specifically focused on hobbyists. Commercial drones, like the famous flying ones from Amazon, UPS and others, fall under different rules.

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