We thought it might be helpful to share Burning Man's approach to intellectual property (aka "IP") with you, and how our collective IP can be used in fundraising, in case anyone still has any questions.
There are Three Topics we will address:
- Gifting of items containing Burning Man Logos or images
- Use of the words “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City”
- Personal Use of Photographs taken at the Burning Man Event
1. Gifting of the Trademark
Burning Man has federally registered symbols depicting The Man and words like "Burning Man," "Black Rock City," "Decompression," "Burnal Equinox," and "Flambe Lounge" as trademarks of Burning Man. We do this so that we can protect these symbols or words and make sure that third parties cannot use these items for commercial or other unwelcome purposes, or otherwise associate themselves with us, causing confusion as to Burning Man's involvement. This also helps us preserve the Decommodification and Gifting Principles that are an important part of our culture. While Burning Man protects its trademarks from unauthorized use by third parties, Burning Man always encourages the community to incorporate and use the trademarks in their art and projects on the Playa.
To This End and in keeping with the Gifting principle, Burning Man permits the use of Burning Man’s trademarks (Man logos and images) on items to be GIFTED both on and off the Playa.
Items with the Man trademark can be gifted at fundraising events as a thank you, note of appreciation or recognition, or as a reward in return for some achievement, contribution, or lampoon. (Example: keychain with trademark for guests of your fundraising event or lighters with the trademark for your theme camp crew)
Projects with Kickstarter Campaigns (or similar fundraising tools) have permission from Burning Man to gift items at various price tiers that contain Burning Man's trademarks or photography. (Example: Donate $15 to our Kickstarter and get this “gift” mug with the Man symbol- OK)
Not OK However:
You cannot sell any items with Burning Man’s trademarks. This includes vending online in peer-to-peer resale spaces as eBay or Etsy. (Examples: selling a Burning Man logo t-shirt for your theme camp on eBay or selling earrings with the man symbol on Etsy- Not OK!)
2. Use of the words “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City”
Now, a word about words. You may use the term “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City” as part of descriptive text, but do not use these words as the central adjective (or only adjective). Burning Man does not want people confused about who is sponsoring or producing the event. See the examples below.
"A Fundraiser for Camp Forgotten Monsters at Burning Man." Or
"A Fundraiser for the John Frum Institute Art Project at Burning Man,"
"Burning Man Fundraiser for Camp Forgotten Monsters.” or
"Burning Man Fundraiser for the John Frum Institute Art Project."
Nuanced, but different. Two Fundraisers doing art events.
3. Personal use of Photographs.
Anyone who comes to the Burning Man event is allowed to take photographs for personal use. This means it is absolutely ok to share these images with friends, post these images on social networks, print personal copies and share your media in informal presentations. However, as soon as the use of media taken at the Burning Man event expands to non-personal use, you need advance permission from Burning Man. See examples below.
Posting images from the Burning Man event on Facebook to your personal account;
Gifting your friend a lovely photo from the event.
Posting your own images from the Burning Man event to your Theme Camp Fundraiser Page or website.
Not OK However:
Selling images captured at Burning Man in any manner.
If you want to sell or post photos professionally, you must work with email@example.com for permission to shoot, record and distribute images you take at the event.
Given the kinds of questions that have been raised, and the uses we allow for fundraisers, hopefully we have answered any questions you may have regarding Burning Man's approach to intellectual property.
But if you do have any more questions, please feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again, VERY much, for all the wonderfully mind-blowing stuff that you are doing! We wish you a very successful fundraising season ahead!
Thanks to everyone on the IP team for their help and vigilance.