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Fly a drone? Less than a month left to register, or pay big fines

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File: A drone is flown for recreational purposes in the sky above Old Bethpage, New York on August 30, 2015.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
A drone is flown for recreational purposes in the sky above Old Bethpage, New York on August 30, 2015. A new FAA registry that requires owners to sign up is nearing.

Drone-owners have just about a month left to register their craft with federal authorities or face some hefty fines.

Drone-owners have just about a month left to register their craft with federal authorities or face some hefty fines.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the registry, which has a Feb. 19 deadline, will lead to better tracking of unmanned aircraft and ensure public safety. But the move has drawn criticism from some, including the Academy of Model Aeronautics, who called it "an unnecessary burden" for its "more than 185,000 members who have been operating safely for decades."

The showdown could prompt legal challenges.

"This will be the hottest story of 2016, I think, with regards to drones," said Gregory McNeal, professor at Pepperdine University's School of Law, who noted that at least 10 states across the country are either considering legislation on drones or putting in place new laws in the coming months.

The FAA has put together a list of frequently asked questions on the new regulations here.

For more on these regulations, listen to the audio attached. 

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