If you want to record that special holiday island or picturesque bay from the air using a drone you will have to report to the authorities fifteen days in advance and pay the required state fees. And if you fail to notify the correct authorities then you could face a fine of up to 25,000 Kunas, or just over 3,000 Euros.
In a country strangled under a pile of red-tape this new law has to be near the top of the pile classified as “unworkable.” The new regulation states that any recording from a drone has to be agreed with the State Geodetic Administration a minimum of 15 days before the event.
A complicated form has to be completed, including a map of the planned filming, focal length and length of planned flight, and this process has to be repeated every time you want to use your drone. Footage from the drone flight then has to be submitted to the State Geodetic Administration for approval before the film, and or photos, can be used.
The reason it takes a maximum of 15 days to be approved is that a commission made up of representatives from the State Geodetic Administration and the Ministry of Defence, will meet twice a month. To say that this process is unworkable would be an understatement. A drone operator in Croatia commented for the website ICTbusiness.info that “If you are working for a foreign media outlet, as in my case, you do not have these 15 days or advance nor have the time to wait to be approved. You need the news to be published on the same day.” He added that with this new regulation the State Geodetic Administration is breaking all European laws on competitiveness and equality of competition on the market.
According to the regulation some media outlets can still record with drones, television stations with national concessions can publish footage without prior permission, however these rules are not completely defined.
How this new law will be operated with tourists to Croatia is unknown. Visitors will now be required to apply for permission to film from a drone before they even come to Croatia. “How will you punish a tourist to Croatia who brought a drone on holiday, recorded a video of our beautiful coast, published on YouTube and then this same video is shared by other state run organisations like the Croatian National Tourist Board,” commented the editor of ICTbusiness.info.
And as the price of drones is tumbling and more and more tourists are taking to the skies to film and subsequently promote Croatia this new law seriously hinders this free publicity.
“This is all the result of some ancient laws back in the times of the former Yugoslavia in which for security reasons and because of state paranoia nothing could be recorded from the air,” concluded the editor of ICTbusiness.info.
Speaking to the Dubrovnik Times a drone operator from Dubrovnik commented that “how is it possible for to react in time when we will have to wait 15 days for an answer, we will all lose business because of this new law, it is just madness, it wouldn’t look out of place in North Korea.”