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Aerial footage and photography professionals have been dealt a heavy blow in Sweden. The country’s Supreme Administrative Court decided that drones equipped with cameras are now to be categorised as surveillance equipment, whose use require a special license.

Although a court had previously ruled against such categorisation of drones in the past, this decision has now been overruled. Users wishing to use camera drones in public spaces must now apply for a permit and pay a fee, just like with any other surveillance camera. Applying and paying does not, however, guarantee that the permit will be granted. To put it more clearly, the Swedish drone ban means you can put the new GoPro Hero5 on the Karma gimbal stick and you’re good to go. Mount that on the Karma drone, however, and things quickly become illegal.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Sweden, an industry group, reports that around 5,000 jobs could be in danger due to the new restrictions.

According to, different countries have taken various measures in response to the ever-increasing use of drones of both enthusiasts and professionals alike. For example, Dutch police were reported to have been training eagles to pick flying drones out of the sky around sensitive areas such as airports. In the US, the FAA recently released new regulations for drone operators, and in Europe there still isn’t an cotenental overarching set of rules, as they vary greatly from country to country.

But Sweden’s example sets a precedent with a particularly constraining set of rules.