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Getting my drone back from Italy
1441 18 2018-8-2
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yyang
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United States
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On the weekend of July 6, 2018, I traveled to Venice, Italy for a weekend during my study abroad trip and I flew my Phantom 4 in Venice. I was flying it in a quiet area with few people passing by occasionally. After a while, 3 Italian police came by boat and came up to me and asked for my passport and address. They took my drone away and deleted the footage with them in it. I did not know I wasn't allowed to fly a drone in Venice and apologized and said I can delete all the footage that I took of Venice; I will not fly my drone anymore and I will cause no more trouble in Venice since I'd be leaving the next morning.

The police appointed me a public defender lawyer in Italy before I left their office. the officers told me that whether I get my drone back or not or if I'd get a fine would depend on the judge. After I reached out to my public offender lawyer but she never responded to me no matter how much I tried. I've tried reaching out to her by email, phone call, website contact form many times and still no response. I tried contacting the police department but the police department in Venice asked me to email another sector of their department and I explained what happened and I asked if they could appoint me another one who actually would answer my emails or calls. However, another sector of the police dept also did not answer me. So I emailed the police dept in Venice again, and no response.

I am frustrated by this since no one seems to be helping me to get my drone back. I emailed many lawyers from the US Embassy in Italy and only 2 of them responded but the legal fees were so expensive. (€ 1500+) I have many footages on the SD card and it would just be all gone. The police did tell me that they could impound my drone. I do not know if they had impounded or not but I'd still want to get my SD card back with all my footage.

Do you think that there is a possibility that I'd get it back? Is there any cheap way that I can get my drone and footage back? What would you recommend me to do?

Thank you very much in advance for any suggestions.



2018-8-2
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Hellsgate
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Wow that sounds like youve followed the correct channels so far.
The only thing i can suggest is to continue doing what you are doing dont give up.
2018-8-2
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RedHotPoker
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Canada
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Yes, keep hammering your pleas home...



RedHotPoker
2018-8-2
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Labroides
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Australia
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Another example of why using large SD cards and leaving all your work on the card is a bad idea.
Chances of getting it back sound slim.
Get a new one and move on.
2018-8-2
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Cetacean
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Aloha yyang,

     You seem to be between a rock and a hard spot.  How did you get in touch with the lawyers from the Embassy?  Did you file a complaint with the Embassy?  Is there an Italian regulation or two prohibiting drones and drone flight in specific areas?  Was it reasonably available to you as a drone flying tourist?  

     If you totally screwed up by not following clear regulations, then you might have a problem, but if you were caught in a deliberate bureaucratic nightmare, the Embassy is supposed to help you.  This would be in your complaint to the Embassy.  Not much help I know, but it is all I can think of at the moment.

     Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-8-2
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yyang
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Cetacean Posted at 2018-8-2 16:04
Aloha yyang,

     You seem to be between a rock and a hard spot.  How did you get in touch with the lawyers from the Embassy?  Did you file a complaint with the Embassy?  Is there an Italian regulation or two prohibiting drones and drone flight in specific areas?  Was it reasonably available to you as a drone flying tourist?  

Hello,
Thanks for your response. I got in touch with the list of English speaking lawyers that the US Embassy in Italy had by emailing them. I did not file a complaint with the embassy. I wasn't 100% sure if I could fly my drone or not. Some people said yes but with some restrictions and some people said no. The US Embassy in Italy told me that I cannot fly over crowded areas or areas with people or public buildings. I was not doing any of those things. I made sure there were no people around when I started the flight. the street barely had anyone walking around, and there were no public buildings around.
2018-8-2
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Cetacean
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yyang Posted at 2018-8-2 16:10
Hello,
Thanks for your response. I got in touch with the list of English speaking lawyers that the US Embassy in Italy had by emailing them. I did not file a complaint with the embassy. I wasn't 100% sure if I could fly my drone or not. Some people said yes but with some restrictions and some people said no. The US Embassy in Italy told me that I cannot fly over crowded areas or areas with people or public buildings. I was not doing any of those things. I made sure there were no people around when I started the flight. the street barely had anyone walking around, and there were no public buildings around.

Aloha yyang,

     It appears you were acting on the advice of the Embassy.  You need to file a complaint with the Embassy.

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-8-2
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maddox
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wow very nice
2018-8-2
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yyang
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Cetacean Posted at 2018-8-2 16:14
Aloha yyang,

     It appears you were acting on the advice of the Embassy.  You need to file a complaint with the Embassy.

Do you mean filing a complaint about the embassy to the embassy or a travel complaint to the embassy?
2018-8-2
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ALABAMA
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yyang Posted at 2018-8-2 16:37
Do you mean filing a complaint about the embassy to the embassy or a travel complaint to the embassy?

Did they take the remote also?
2018-8-2
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yyang
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ALABAMA Posted at 2018-8-2 17:07
Did they take the remote also?

Yes, they took everything I had in my box.
2018-8-2
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ALABAMA
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One of the policemen has probably already taken it home.  Next time take a cheap one and multiple small cards.
2018-8-2
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Geebax
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yyang Posted at 2018-8-2 17:09
Yes, they took everything I had in my box.

Did they give you a receipt? If not, it is theft, plain and simple. I would raise this with the Italian Embassy in the US, and don't let go on it.
2018-8-2
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yyang
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Geebax Posted at 2018-8-2 17:23
Did they give you a receipt? If not, it is theft, plain and simple. I would raise this with the Italian Embassy in the US, and don't let go on it.

They did give me a police report.
I did talk to the US embassy in Italy and they told me that private use is okay, but I can't fly it over crowds or public buildings, which I didn't.
Thanks for your response.
2018-8-2
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Cetacean
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yyang Posted at 2018-8-2 16:37
Do you mean filing a complaint about the embassy to the embassy or a travel complaint to the embassy?

Aloha yyang,

     Your issue is not about travel.  Your issue is about your drone being improperly confiscated.  Whether you are a student, resident alien or traveler, your drone was improperly confiscated.  As a US citizen, the Ambassador is your agent in Italy.  You followed the laws and rules and your drone was confiscated improperly under the laws of Italy and the US.  It is up to the Ambassador to deal with it.

     Your communication has to be directly with the Ambassador's office or their designate after you contact the office of the Ambassador.  They have to hire the attorney, not you.  You are a victim of a crime and the Ambassador has to get your problem resolved to your satisfaction.

     If you accept less than dealing with the Ambassador's office, you will not get the service you need.  That is what the lawyer business they tried to get you to do is all about.  It is called a deflection, an effort to get you to not express your rights under the law.

     Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-8-2
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Cetacean
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yyang Posted at 2018-8-2 17:29
They did give me a police report.
I did talk to the US embassy in Italy and they told me that private use is okay, but I can't fly it over crowds or public buildings, which I didn't.
Thanks for your response.

Aloha yyang,

     Geebax has a good point, get the Italian Embassy in DC in on this and have both embassies working on your problem.  Do not let go.  Drones are not cheap and then there are your memories on the SD cards.  

     You may also want to look for an attorney to sue the Italian government just in case.  Attorneys often work on a contingency basis which means they take a part of the settlement and the settlement covers your loss and all expenses including travel during the legal process.  It can also cover punitive damages if they have lost your SD cards or just for causing this in the first case.

     You might get lucky and get an attorney who wants to travel to Italy!  The attorney works out all the legal issues and gives you your drone back, your drone back plus damages or the cost of the drone plus damages at the end.

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-8-2
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poliq
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Hey everyone, Im a newbiew here and have a qustion: I`m going to upload all my photos from dron to my just created website but I can not decide upon a webhosting provider. I want to use a dedicated server like a kind of the next level of my experience. What do you think it is better to start with the companies which offer shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers, so I can grow within the company with no issue?
I`ve already chosen 2 providers (hostingsource.com. and https://zomro.net/) may be there is anyone using their services. Thanks in advance
2018-8-2
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STRIDE8
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ALABAMA Posted at 2018-8-2 17:15
One of the policemen has probably already taken it home.  Next time take a cheap one and multiple small cards.

Yep.. he's using your drone for sure
2018-8-3
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S.D. Pilot
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Wow thanks for posting this. I'm planning to travel to Venice next month but now don't plan to fly that's for sure. I'll next use the Go Pro for some footage.
2018-8-3
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