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US lags as commercial drones take off around globe

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government bars commercial use of drones, no matter how seemingly benign.

But already, photographers, real estate agents, moviemakers and others are hurrying to embrace the technology.

The use of commercial drones is starting to spread to countries where authorities have decided the aircraft presents little threat if operators follow a few safety rules.

U.S. officials say rules to address the special safety challenges associated with unmanned aircraft need to be in place before they can share the sky with manned aircraft.

But final rules could be years away for small drones, which are defined as those weighing less than 55 pounds.

The drone industry and some lawmakers worry that the United States will be one of the last countries to gain the economic benefits of the technology.

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