Our Shilldabeast is shilldabusted. As much as I hate hippies, I hate people who take a giant dump on the floor of other people’s houses as Julia Allison did at Burning Man.
TRADEMARKS: The names “Burning Man”, “Black Rock City”, and “Decompression”, as well as the Burning Man symbol, the design of the Man, the design of the city’s lampposts, and the city layout design are all protected by trademark law. They may not be used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without obtaining written permission from Black Rock City LLC. In order to preserve the “Man” image for use in gifting and as an affinity symbol for our culture, we do not license this image to third parties for commercial or outside purposes.
IMAGE USE: In order to use any image or video taken at the event in a widespread public application (beyond friends and family), you must pre-register and request written permission from Burning Man. This applies to printing photos in a magazine or newspaper, hanging a picture at a gallery show, or using imagery in a documentary or TV show.
If you didn’t register as a professional shooter at the event, that doesn’t mean you can’t request permission later if someone wants to use one of your images publicly, but you DO need written permission to keep yourself out of hot water and help protect the Burning Man community from future violations. As a general rule of thumb, remember: it’s not just whether the image is being used for financial gain – it’s really about whether the image is being distributed purposefully beyond just friends and family. For the purposes of personal imagery, social networking sites such as Flickr, Facebook etc. are deemed “personal use” until and unless such sites are used for the purposeful promotion or distribution of images with the expressed intent to publicly display them beyond one’s immediate network. You are responsible for obtaining the permission of your subjects in your photos where their faces are recognizable, and if your image violates the privacy of another attendee, you are expected to attend to its removal.
If your use of an image will extend beyond the friends and family in your network, you should request permission by contacting press (at) burningman.com. If you are interested in shooting for professional purposes (book, fine art, documentary, film), visit this page for more information.
PROTECTING OURSELVES: While we are humbled by and grateful for all of the interest in Burning Man, we are not interested in becoming a brand used to sell goods, services or unaffiliated events. Our community’s work and creativity would be diminished if this extended culture were reduced to a “lifestyle” brand like MTV or Abercrombie & Fitch. Most members of our community are very appreciative of the fact that we don’t allow commerce at the event, but we are also very vigilant about our role in the commercial world outside of the event, and how our culture fits into culture at large. Our position on commercial use is not a statement of idealism. It’s simply a way to enjoy what we’ve created together, in a way that is best insulated from commodification by the outside world.
ENFORCEMENT:Our Media Team monitors the use of our trademarks and the use of images/imagery from Burning Man all year long. We regularly monitor stock photography sites, eBay, Burning Man regional lists, and a host of other public/online venues, in addition to Google Alerts and other news tracking tools. Burning Man participants are also helpful at keeping a watchful eye on the internet and other outlets and notifying us of any unauthorized uses.
Our interest in this level of protection is more than merely moral or philosophical; when it comes to trademarks, we are also legally obligated to consistently enforce our trademarks from violation in order to retain them. If we don’t, we may find we cannot get legal protection in the case of an egregious violation later – to retain a mark, one must be vigilant in protecting it. For example: we routinely police local promoters who advertise small “Burning Man” parties on fliers without our permission; therefore, we will also retain the right to enforce it if a large promoter like MTV ever to advertise a “Spring Break Burning Man Party.” We are legally compelled to be consistent about the use of our marks, even if it’s just a small party to raise funds for your camp.