It was the law. Then it wasn’t the law. Now, it’s the law again. Welcome to very important installment of ZDNet’s DIY-IT Drone and Robotics Discovery Series. This article could save you thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention prison time.

Here’s the story

Responding to the growth in drone use throughout the United States, in late 2015, the FAA began to require anyone flying a drone that weighed between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds to register with the agency.

This was in addition to the requirements for commercial drone pilots, who were (and still are) subject to what’s called Part 107 licensing. If you want to fly a drone for money, the FAA requires you to pass a licensing test to demonstrate your knowledge of both legal requirements and aircraft handling.

Even though the recreational registration only required providing some basic personal information and paying a five dollar fee, recreational drone operators considered the registration rule restrictive and anti-freedom. Hobbyists were not amused. They fought the law.

On May 19, 2017, the case of John A. Taylor, petitioner v. Michael P. Huerta, as Administrator, Federal Aviation Administrator, respondent, on the Petitions for Review of Orders of the Federal Aviation Administration was decided in the favor of recreational drone operators.

The FAA’s registration requirement was in conflict with Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This was the rule preventing the FAA from creating rules or regulations regarding model…