BURNILEAKS: Bullying the Burners [Updates]

The post-Burning Man headaches for BMOrg continue to mount. If you believe in karma or physics, then you understand that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you threaten legal action towards the people who create your global following, you should consider the risk that something might come back to bite you in the ass. Such as, your own words, and proof of the motives behind your actions.

At least, that is what’s being threatened, by some Canadian Burners who appear to have little defense left to them but the “nuclear option” of revealing the truth.

chickenookpikThere are as many people at Burning Man from Canada as from Nevada. 20% of Burners are international, and more are from Canada than any other country. It’s 6-7% of the Burner population. Canadian Burners have spent decades building up our culture by throwing burns all across their vast country. Someone has legally owned the Canadian trademark “Burning Man” for many years, and BMOrg are suing them even though they appear to have registered no trademarks of their own in that country. Perhaps they think that Canada is just another part of America?

We covered the beginnings of this dispute earlier in the year: Canada Draws Battle Lines For Burner Culture. As per usual, naysayers came out to accuse us of click-bait and fear-mongering.

Well, fear not, nay-sayers. The Battlespace has now gone to Def Con 1, with this email last night to Burning Man’s Regional Contact mailserv:

stop your malicious lawsuit or WIKILEAKS!

Hi, I’m sure many of you will remember me, I was one of the founding members of the Regional Network, acting as Vancouver RN rep 2001-2006, while also being a member of the Media Team, & working as the first editor of the Regional Contacts section of BurningMan.com.

Burning Man is suing the non-profit Burn BC Arts Cooperative for $35,000 over trademark infringement. I am not involved in Burn BC or any of their events, but I feel strongly that Burning Man is acting as a corporate bully in this situation, attacking long-time community members & artists.

In response, if Burning Man does not drop this frivolous lawsuit immediately, ALL Regionals List & Media Team correspondence, as well as one-on-one communications I had with Burning Man senior staff, including Larry & Marion, will be made publicly available on WikiLeaks, all correspondence from 1999-present, This means that all of your names, the names of persons in your posts, legal issues that were discussed, etc. will be in the public domain. Hopefully this information will help Burners fight trademark infringement cases by showing the evolution of Burning Man’s deceptive practices using volunteers to build corporate brand value under the false guise of community.

Burning Man internal emails were published by Wikileaks before, in the Paul Addis case.

What could be there in 15 years’ worth of correspondence, that could in any way harm this non-profit, which organizes an annual week of dancing and debauchery in the desert? What could be juicy enough that they would send it to Wikileaks? Why should this even be a threat, something to use as leverage against the giant BMOrg behemoth?

It is not for me to speculate – draw your own conclusions. But to all those who accuse Burners.Me of making stuff up and crazy conspiracy theories, consider that this is going on – and it’s nothing to do with us. We just have multiple sources who provided us with a copy of the email, which is the intellectual property of its author. If there was nothing of note in there, why would Burners even make such a threat? The Canadian Burners, who legitimately owned the trademark, and seem to have taken all the right steps legally to renounce their ownership so that there can’t be any dispute, are still getting pursued by Burning Man. For how much? Forty grand. What difference is that going to make to a company that spent $1.43 million on lawyers last year?

vancouver cacophony societyI asked Bhak Jolicouer, who first contacted me about this story, what’s up? 1076 pages of legalese to demand the cash, that’s what up. It seems Burning Man have been busy in their spiteful pursuit, since June when the arts collective formally relinquished all rights to the disputed marks in their territory. This is an example of the “it’s not enough that we win; everyone else must lose” mentality that runs this corporation. Most non-profits I know of, don’t sue other non-profits, then ask their donor community to buy $150 scarves so they can keep this kind of bullying up. In fact, it’s rare to see these sort of tactics from for-profit companies, unless they’re Apple or Samsung or Microsoft.

Bhak says:

Burn BC Founder and Champion of Burner Rights,  Bhak Jolicouer

Burn BC Founder and Champion of Burner Rights, Bhak Jolicouer

Burn BC released our marks “Burning Man” and “BC Decompression” back to the public domain with the attached letter filed on permanent record.

Burn BC has decided to have no further association with the marks, and leaves it up to the Canadian Burning Man Culture to decide who (if anyone) should own them, and how they want to relate as a Culture that developed independently before the 2004 American Marks and the New Brand of Burning Man developed in the United States in 2004. The vast majority of feedback is that no one should own exclusive rights to these terms in Canada. While many people respect what our communities have contributed to the Nevada event, we see that our Burning Man Culture in Canada was founded on an open community model of mutual respectful peers. We had always seen ourselves as independent peers forming independent and self managed Burning Man Communities and independently developed and self managed Burning Man events in Canada.We did this work as peers (not subsidiaries) with no compensation, as a “Gift to the Community”, not as franchises of a corporation.So in response to this kind of input from Burners across Canada, Burn BC released the marks back to the public domain so as not to impede the Arts under Section 13(1B) of the Canadian Trade Mark act.
We deleted our BurningManArts.ca website and removed all references to “Burning Man” from our website.
We released a statement that Burn BC and I (Napalm Dragon), have no more desire to be associated with that name or the American Corporation and it’s 2004 Brand, and will continue fostering our Open Source Culture and Communities in other ways through whatever paradigm emerges next from our culture.Decommodification LLC may have abandoned our culture in favour of Brand Dominance. They are entitled to what they please in the United States with their Nevada event and their American brand. I will seek new ground to express myself unhindered by these politics that are trying to convert a once Open Community and Open Culture into a franchise controlled by Decommodificaiton LLC.After releasing the marks, deleting all references and releasing my statement; I attempted to continue negotiating an out of court settlement. They wanted Burn BC to sign something stating that Decommodification LLC owns these marks.
I told them that if they register with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, then they owns these marks. Burn BC can’t agree to a demand that is not even part of this frivolous litigation. I had asked for a list of marks they own and Burn BC would have agreed not to register those marks, no list was provided.
I thought that was the end of the story as there had been no communication from anyone since late July… until three days ago when 1076 pages of text came in the mail telling Burn BC to respond to a Motion of Default Judgement by 2:00PM Friday regarding a hearing this Tuesday September 23, 2014.I made the same offer yesterday to their lawyer, who was interested in approaching a settlement.
He said he would get back to me by the end of the day.
There has been no response, and again, no list provided.This is AFTER: We released our marks, deleted all references, and removed myself and Burn BC from any online groups or lists that are “Burning Man”.The case has no merit.
But if Burn BC does not participate in the hearing and offers no defence; then any claim Decommodification LLC makes regardless of accuracy or merit will be awarded.It seems they are now asking for damages, claiming Burn BC hurt their ability to control the good will of Canadians, and are seeking legal expenses, and a court order for Burn BC to turn over BurnBC.Org and BurningManArts.ca over to Decommodification LLC.They are looking for damages of $40,000 against the non profit Burn BC Arts Cooperative (Created by a founding member of the Vancouver Burning Man Community, and other long time Burners), and are not content to just let it go. They know full well this will mean the end of Burn BC, and seem content to push frivolous litigation wasting the resources of the Canadian Federal Courts.They had NO need to take it to the courts, as all they had to do was file an opposition with CIPO.
Burn BC had no intention of using any mark that had not been approved by CIPO.
Now we have no desire to use it at all, even as Public Domain under section 13(1B) of the Canadian Trademark Act.If the judge awards damages, Burn BC receives the bullet to the head.I was surprised as anyone with this post by …one of our founding members, he has a great heart and contributed countless hours of service to the free and open community spirit that was our Burning Man Community and our Burning Man Culture.~ Bhak Jolicoeur (AKA Napalm Dragon)
Lover of Chaos and Cacophony, Art and Beauty.Trademark Withdrawl (June 25 2014)

The non-profit Burn BC group suggested that if BMOrg wanted to own the marks in Canada, then they should register them in Canada. Which to me seems like a very good point. Instead of doing that, BMOrg is trying to shake down a non-profit collective for $40,000. That’s 2 tickets in a Safari Camp to them. OK, we get it: BMOrg forgot to register trademarks in their biggest export market for 30 years. Why not simply register them now? Why pursue and punish Burners, when the matter is clearly settled? The answer is “mentality”. The way THEY think about US.

Welcome to the new, non-profit culture we are teaching to newbies and spreading around the globe. Gift us your art, so we can monetize it and sue non-profits.

This case may take a number of twists and turns, if they find enough financial backing from the community to take BMOrg on, there could be all kinds of documents produced in a courtroom under discovery laws. Not to mention the public release of 15 years of correspondence between the two charities and their volunteers.

As always with this blog, comments are encouraged. Anyone from BMOrg is welcome to come here and inform the community about what’s going on, as is anybody else with knowledge of these events. Thanks to our multiple anonymous tipsters for sharing this leak.

 


[Update 9/18/14 5:46pm]

.

the Burner who wrote the email to the Regionals list has responded to our request for comment, elaborating further on their motives:

[releasing]  this info into the public domain will illustrate a long history of highly inconsistent & arbitrary brand enforcement that relies heavily on the discretion of unpaid volunteers [regional reps aka corporate brand ambassadors] who are empowered by BM to make judgements  as to who is & isn’t a “Burner.”  This is often a highly politicized & authoritarian process that creates divisiveness within communities.  Regional reps may abuse their power by targeting community members for punitive actions by BM simply on the basis of their personal discretion, ie, whether or not they like someone.  Plenty of people throwing parties or selling goods & services using the Burning Man name have been given a pass by the brand cops simply because they know someone & can be vouched for as a “good Burner.”  As a regional rep & one of the early architects of the Regional Network, I never would have agreed to donate over 20,000 hours of my time & energy freely over 7 years to the community had I been explicitly told that my role was to be the protector of a corporate brand.  I believed passionately that we were creating an open source arts movement, & by the time I resigned from Burning Man I felt that those feelings had been manipulated by the Org in order to extract free labor in order to build corporate brand value, rather than community.  The idealistic “we’re a community” rhetoric is the key to extracting free labor for the corporation.  In the thousands of emails on the Regionals list, there is little evidence that regional reps have ever seen themselves as corporate brand ambassadors, they generally appear to be more community-minded idealists who believed, like me, they were helping to shape a fluid & organic movement.  It’s a deceptive & duplicitous practice on the part of Burning Man who is using these same well-intentioned volunteers to be brand enforcement police under the false guise of “protecting the community.”
The choice to go after Burn BC was Marian’s, & she had several options & avenues she could have pursued in this case, & she chose the most vindictive course of action.  Bhak & Burn BC have done nothing to damage the brand; for 15 years, Bhak has been adding value to the Burning Man brand in BC & beyond.  She should be compensating him for contributing to the growth of a global corporate brand now valued at several hundreds of millions of dollars
.
[Update 9/18/14 7:17pm]
.
Bhak has a few details he wants to be clear about:

A couple of Corrections.

First paragraph.
NO ONE has ever registered TM rights in Canada. It’s been in the public domain.

We pulled it out and put it back.

There’s no need to continue a law suit, and it’s questionable they have any right to.

—–

We didn’t renounce ownership, we released back to the public domain so no one has exclusive rights to it here.

We didn’t relinquish “all rights” we relinquished exclusive rights.

—-

And the emails Jody wants to release are not between Burn BC and BRC.

They are 15 years of internal BORG correspondence.

.


[Update 9/18/14 9:06pm]

Although Canada did not sign the Madrid Agreement, they did sign the NAFTA agreement which has a clause about trademarks:

Article 1708: Trademarks

1. For purposes of this Agreement, a trademark consists of any sign, or any combination of signs, capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of another, including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, colors, figurative elements, or the shape of goods or of their packaging. Trademarks shall include service marks and collective marks, and may include certification marks. A Party may require, as a condition for registration, that a sign be visually perceptible.

2. Each Party shall provide to the owner of a registered trademark the right to prevent all persons not having the owner’s consent from using in commerce identical or similar signs for goods or services that are identical or similar to those goods or services in respect of which the owner’s trademark is registered, where such use would result in a likelihood of confusion. In the case of the use of an identical sign for identical goods or services, a likelihood of confusion shall be presumed. The rights described above shall not prejudice any prior rights, nor shall they affect the possibility of a Party making rights available on the basis of use.

3. A Party may make registrability depend on use. However, actual use of a trademark shall not be a condition for filing an application for registration. No Party may refuse an application solely on the ground that intended use has not taken place before the expiry of a period of three years from the date of application for registration.

4. Each Party shall provide a system for the registration of trademarks, which shall include:

(a) examination of applications;

(b) notice to be given to an applicant of the reasons for the refusal to register a trademark;

(c) a reasonable opportunity for the applicant to respond to the notice;

(d) publication of each trademark either before or promptly after it is registered; and

(e) a reasonable opportunity for interested persons to petition to cancel the registration of a trademark. 

It seems from this that all BMOrg had to do was petition to cancel the registration of the trademark. They gave the trademark owner a reasonable opportunity to respond. The response? Putting the trademark into the public domain. BMOrg have now registered the trademark and are listed as the trademark owner, so it seems like they got the outcome they wanted months ago. Why continue this pursuit, which some have estimated will cost $100,000 or more just to defend?
J: article 13(1B) of the Canadian Trademark Act would apply… we, in Canada, used Burning Man images and symbols long before they were registered in the USA, therefore those marks can not belong to Decommodification LLC, in Canada
A good point. Decommodification LLC did not even exist when the Canadian trademarks were registered.
Pantsless Santa says:

A very short summary of what happened, with a little info on trademark law and surely many mistakes. This is based on information shared publicly by Bhak and some of the legal filings he shared directly with me a while back. I am an attorney.

1. The BMOrg forgot to register the trademarks in Canada, which is not a signatory to the treaty that makes registration reciprocal in most countries.

2. Burn BC, an unnoficial regional organization and perhaps mostly Bhak’s alter-ego, had been using the trademarks without the BMOrg’s permission but with its awareness for a while.

3. Trademark law: registration is only one piece of the puzzle. If an entity uses a trademark, generally words or a symbol, it can pretty quickly get the right to prevent other people from using it for the same purposes. Example: If I open up Pantsless Santa’s Light Sick and Feather Hut and run the business for a year or two, I will gain trademark rights to that business name and nobody else will be able to capitalize on my success.

4. More trademark law: Trademark registration basically gives you those rights, and even more, in advance. But if someone else is already using a trademark, nobody else can register it. Example: A local entrepreneur named Hairy Larvae decides that he wants to open up his own Pantsless Santa’s Light Stick and Feather Hut, and attempts to register that name as a trademark. He won’t be able to. It’s already my trademark, even though I haven’t registered it.

5. Burn BC applied to register the Burning Man trademarks on the grounds that it represents the Canadian burner community. Part of the argument is based on the idea that the Canadian community as it has developed over the years has a culture distinct from the corporate American TITD. This is an interesting argument and probably has some merit, but it is not pertinent to this procedural and legal account.

6. The BMOrg opposed Burn BC’s registration attempt, as far as I can remember on the grounds that the above argument is bunk (it might or might not be), that the BMOrg, through its official affiliates, already had the unregistered trademark rights (it does, unless – at minimum – the above argument is valid), and that Burn BC does not represent any separate Canadian burner community that might have trademark rights (this is a coffin nail for Burn BC). I apologize if I have this all wrong – I may well.

7. Burn BC “released the marks into the public domain” and withdrew its registration application, I believe with the intent that they only be used for noncommercial/burny purposes. This was a nice gesture, but a. It might not have any rights to release (see above), and b. Trademarks don’t quite work that way – you either maintain control of them or lose all rights to them.

8. The BMOrg is seeking revenge against Bhak for challenging their authority and forcing them to incur a ton of legal fees, maybe as much as $100k worth based on the amount of paper that’s been generated.

9. The BMOrg is acting like a bag of dicks. Bhak’s theories might or might not hold water in court, but he has acted in good faith with the purpose of promoting what he believes are the best interests of Canadian burners. This is not some kind of frivolous power grab. He doesn’t deserve this.

Decommodification, LLC now owns a newly registered trademark in Canada. What will they do with this in 3 years when they “fully complete” their transition?
.
In other news, Billionaire Burner Elon Musk is showing humanity the right way to move forwards, by Gifting his for-profit company’s valuable intellectual property for “good faith” use. This is the future, “the Sharing Economy” that BMOrg loves to tell us they’re an example of.

[Update 9/20/14 11:53am]
Bhak has provided us with more details.
Decommodification, LLC is the party launching the lawsuit, so the legal fees don’t appear to be paid by the charity. The Vancouver Court Docket is here, this matter has been going on for some time with a number of different statements made to the court since April this year.
Bhak explains:
Decommodification LLC does NOT own a registered mark in Canada.
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/srch/vwTrdmrk.do?lang=eng&status=OK&fileNumber=1683813&extension=0&startingDocumentIndexOnPage=1Their application is “FORMALISED” which just means it’s been received and is waiting to be EXAMINED. It takes 12-18 months to reach examination. “Formalised” is just a fancy way of saying “entered in the system” and while it’s being applied for, no one else can file an application for the same.After 12-18 months, if the examiner deems the mark unregisterable they reject the application. If they don’t notice anything, it’s APROOVED which means Decommodification LLC has rights to use it as an official Trademark while it gets ADVERTISED for opposition. But until it’s REGISTERED after the ADVERTISED and OPPOSITION phases, they cannot assign licence to it, and they cannot enforce it, and they cannot transfer, or sell it.

During opposition it gets advertised in a public journal for 60 days at which time anyone can oppose it for any valid reason listed under section 30. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/T-13/section-38.html

Burn BC released it’s marks based on Section 13(1B) of the Canadian Trademark Act.
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/T-13/page-9.html#docCont

Which would fall under section 38 (1B) as an unregisterable mark. It’s kind of like what happens when a mark falls out of trademark into public domain when its “Naked Licensed”, which is generally how it was used in Canada up until around 2009 or so.

…It wasn’t me “Bhak” who registered the marks, it was Burn BC. Burn BC was waiting to see if the marks passed the opposition phase with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. If anyone opposed it, it was clear that no one should have exclusive rights.

If no one opposed, we were going to hand it off to an independent Federal Non-Profit run by Canadian Burners, and I would resign from it and Burn BC, for the sake of integrity, and to get back to just making my Art and raising my two year old son, unimpeded by this ever imposing conversion of a culture into a global brand owned by a corporation.This was offered as a mutually respectful and mutually respectful proposal before any lawsuit was launched. The original idea was that “we don’t care what you do in the United States, you’ve never really cared to be involved with Canada or do anything for Canada” So we will represent ourselves here, and you can do whatever you want there, and we will be nice about it.Coinciding with this was overwhelming sentiment from Canadian Burners that “NO ONE” should own it here. At this point the only reason to continue this law suit is to frighten me (and others) into silence and isolation about our rights to “Burning Man” in Canada over the last 20 years, and the fact that at this point it’s in the public domain here, through a combination of, 

1: never having been registered in Canada,
2: having been used widely under “Naked Licencing”
3: and generally arbitrarily enforced as a Cultural or Community MarkIn consultations with lawyers they all said it’s already Public Domain, and about the only way anyone can register it is if no one opposes any applications with CIPO. In other words someone is trying to issue and enforce in Canada something they have never had Registered Rights to enforce in Canada.So no one was stealing anything. Burn BC was just recognizing our rights as Canadians and the work we’ve done as a Distinctly Canadian Burning Man Culture, and offering an opportunity for Canadian Burners to step up to the plate and defend those rights. But it became clear, that people wanted NO ONE to have exclusive rights to our Culture and Community here. So we released the marks under a section of the trademark act that says “no mark that interferes with the development of the arts shall be registered.

127 comments on “BURNILEAKS: Bullying the Burners [Updates]

  1. Pingback: Victory for the Little Guy! | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Pingback: Burn BC Admits Defeat In Battle For Public Domain | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. Pingback: Quick Update from Canada | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  4. Wow. I followed this link from a FB post made by a friend. I have to say, up front, that I’ve never been to Burning Man. I’ve been to some of the regional events (some were fun and filled with decent people, others were thinly disguised fundraisers to send the party hosts to Burning Man which left a bitter taste in my mouth (they we’re like vampires feeding off of people who could barely afford the Burning Man party, themselves)).
    At the end of this, I have to say that Burning Man seems a lot like the Monsanto of the arts community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s taken me a while to sift through all the clues and evidence. I think it’s why so much of what I was saying before was more a dense rambling of what I know, then what it means.

      With Decommodification LLC refusing to drop it, I’ve been forced to declare it frankly.

      It’s no longer hypothetical rambling.

      I’ve posted a clear, focused explanation on Go Fund Me.
      Please spread it around.

      “Canada is the last public domain of the original Burning Man culture.”

      I think I laid it out pretty well here.

      gofundme.com/f8bo7g

      Like

  5. Hello Folks.
    I’ve posted something to ELLO that pretty much sums things up.
    Enjoy and share.

    https://ello.co/napalm_dragon/post/CXcIh3FgsWuAXtKaLDC4hw

    I am
    one artist defending my right to practice my art and culture that is being
    converted into a global brand exclusively owned by an American Corporation.

    In 1995 I developed a form of art, in relation to a culture here in British
    Columbia Canada. Much of our inspiration was in relation to a free and open culture
    that was not owned or controlled in any way by Corporations. This happened
    because we were not a commodity, and because we’d never really allowed
    ourselves to be named for fear of being turned into a commodity. It was the
    cultural engine that fuelled the free parties in England that the Spiral Tribe
    were involved with, it was the culture that produced the expressions of art and
    fire that have become synonymous with the Burning Man Culture.

    I have documented evidence that shows me and my peers here in British Columbia
    developed a style of fire and in relation to a free and open culture that the
    Decommodification LLC is now claiming was invented in the Nevada Desert.

    The reason this is important is that even if I decide I no longer want any
    association with the American Corporation claiming my culture as something they
    created, I risk litigation for practising my art and culture, because my Art
    and Culture were absorbed under that generic term of “Burning Man”.

    People have said to me “Just don’t use the name, do something else”. But I’m
    not a party head that just dropped in on an event in Nevada that my culture
    descended on in the mid-90’s. I’m not just a person who got my ideas from going
    to that event, created by my culture, who gathered in the Black Rock City and
    called the culture by the same name as the event they created around the
    burning of a man sculpture.

    It’s a different issue for me. I created my own culture and art in BC in
    1995-1997. I never knew about the desert. My art reflected my culture, and our
    attitude of generosity, collaboration, self-reliance, inclusion, and mutual
    respect, completely independently of any guidance or control from corporate
    interests.

    While I have no issue with Corporations and their need to do business as the
    economic engine of Capitalism, what I did in relation to the people I
    associated was outside the domain of corporations, and religions. It was all
    our own. A free and open culture.

    When that culture descended on the desert in the mid-90’s and shaped what we
    came to know until 2003 as the Burning Man Culture, we did so for each other.
    We spent our own money and time doing this for ourselves.

    When we heard that people like us had set up a kind of Temporary Autonomous
    Zone in the desert, we went to meet our peers at a gathering point for our
    culture. When we heard that a city had been set up as a home for our culture,
    we went to that city to express our culture unfettered by pressures imposed on
    festivals that receive Corporate Sponsorship, and Sell Everything.

    This pace was not a festival. It was a
    city, and the event was the burning of the sculpture at the gathering of our
    tribes.

    Immediatism, a core element of our culture as described by Hakim Bey existed in
    a space somewhere on this planet, on a grand scale. The city did not interfere
    with our culture as it went to the desert and associated with cultural peers
    who lit the fire, and sounded the all clear through the explorations of the
    Suicide Club, the Cacophony Society, and Zone Trip #4.

    We helped them run the city, we struck a
    deal. You do what you need to make the city happen, and we’ll pay a tax for
    using this city. Just be honourable, and use any money left over for the
    benefit of the city and the communities who self-identify with our culture and
    bring it to the city.

    This reflected the attitudes of our
    culture. That anyone who makes money on our culture aren’t just using our
    culture as a cheap promotion gimmick like what rave promoters had done with our
    culture.

    I DID NOT get my ideas to Burn from the Desert. I DID NOT contribute to my
    culture before it became known as the Burning Man Culture to build a global
    brand owned and controlled by a corporation.

    I had learned to breathe fire through a hard-core
    heavy metal underground musician who had a band called BLAMO. He used was pure
    fun and pure renegade. He blew up toilets with home-made pyro, for fun. He
    taught me much of his renegade art, because he liked my renegade attitude. When
    he connected me with a circus group called Zero Gravity, I met a woman named
    Jill who’d already been practising her art and culture in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    She had also been involved with a local underground arts scene that burned a wicker
    Bunny on the local beaches, because it was Easter and they’d just watched the
    old wicker man movie.

    The Fire Style started at a show put on by
    Zero Gravity and was the first time traditional fire associated with tribal
    cultures in New Zealand and Hawaii had appeared in North America. What we did
    with it over the next few years travelled down the West Coast and was brought
    to Burning Man (from Vancouver) for the Pepe Ozan Operas at the Nevada Burning
    Man event around 1998 or so.

    We had fun for the next few years, fully immersed
    in the culture that was well developed here. We did it for fun, we had no grand
    design, we just knew it was an amazing experience, and visited many events for
    little or no cash to explore the full scope of this underground experience and
    just enjoy it.

    Somewhere along the way we started Burning
    Sculptures as an expression of our free and open culture. Inspired by
    underground groups in Europe, and as a natural extension of all the fire we’d
    been playing with. Fire wasn’t a thing at the time, we literally made all our
    own torches. We just made it up as a creative self-exploration, and shared it
    openly with mutually respectful peers.

    Then at one event, we decided to dispose of
    some 15 foot tall giant puppets by breathing fire onto them and diving through
    the flames as a performance. The following year I built something with the
    expressed intent of burning. I called it a Baboon Robot, because it just
    happened to look like a Baboon Robot.

    We performed “The Burning or the Baboon Robot”

    My art involved fire and burning sculptures, and it was an expression of my
    culture which would later that year start heading to the desert and adopt the
    Burning Man name.

    By 2001 our culture adopted the Burning Man name. We were the Burning Man Culture,
    and we called ourselves Burners (people who self-identify as the Burning Man
    Culture). It was a widely used term.

    Now an American Corporation is coming to Canada and claiming exclusive rights
    to the very same culture we developed here, took to the desert, shared with our
    peers who were doing the same, and called themselves Burners (people who self-identify
    as the Burning Man Culture), and claiming exclusive rights to the culture we
    developed.

    The American corporation Decommodification LLC knows they did not create the
    culture in the desert. They know it came from somewhere else, and now they are
    claiming that the form of fire that emulated from what was developed here in
    BC, was invented by them in the desert.

    This is incredibly disrespectful to the amazing and talented people around the
    world who fostered, embraced and celebrated this culture, before and after it
    adopted the Burning Man name.

    Now it’s a problem for me as an artist
    expressing my culture.

    Even if I have no desire to be associated
    in any way with the Nevada people, I can’t change that my culture was absorbed
    by the Nevada event my culture created and adopted the Burning Man name as the
    Burning Man Culture.

    This corporation is now trying to convert
    our independent communities and culture into a global brand that they have
    exclusive rights to decide who can and cannot express it. They are laying claim
    to not only inventing my culture, but even the very style of fire dancing we
    created here in Vancouver and brought to the desert around 1997-1998.

    They are claiming every expression of our culture as a proprietary Global Brand
    and Communities they own and control exclusively. Communities that developed independently
    to foster local Burning Man Culture.

    You might say “So what call what you do something else?”

    But, I’m not a party head. I did not get my idea to participate in my culture
    or express an art form now synonymous with this culture from the Desert. I
    created it COMPLETELY independently. Because my culture adopted that name in association
    with all the expressions of that free and open culture, I can’t practice the
    independent art that I developed in relationship to my independent culture
    without fear of litigation.

    I DID NOT get the idea to Burn from Larry Harvey’s
    hat, or Marian Goodell’s corporation. My organisation, Burn BC applied for a
    mark that is in the public domain to protect my right to have free and open access
    to the culture that this new American Brand is based on. Burn BC did so, to
    give it to the Canadian Burning Man Communities so that no one can stop us from
    being who we are.

    This was wrong, NO ONE should have
    exclusive rights to what has become a generic term to describe the people, art,
    and culture that created the Burning Man Culture in Canada, and shared it with
    our peers in Nevada.

    Burn BC has already dropped the name, and they can drop the case. But they’re
    using the case to frighten me and my organisation into complete silence and
    isolation.

    They know they DO NOT own anything in
    Canada. They know Canada has a right to express its culture. It is not my fault
    our culture adopted that name and spent countless hours and resources making
    our culture notorious.

    It’s not my fault that the notoriety of our
    culture and the event that has capitalised on our culture genericised the name
    to describe a type of art and culture. It’s not my fault that in 2004, they
    chose to create a new brand based on our open and collaborative culture of self-identifying
    Burners.

    It’s not my fault that they (and their subordinates)
    are now turning around and telling those of us who do not identify with this
    new brand, that we are not really “Burning Man” or not really “Burners” or “Not
    part of the Community”, and insisting that we must adhere to this new brand or
    essentially abandon our culture.

    A culture that existed as a free and open culture, before it went to the
    desert, and before it created the most notorious event our culture has ever
    produced.

    I don’t want to be associated with this new
    brand developed in 2004.

    I want my art and culture that I already
    knew and loved, before it ever went to the desert, and I want to be free to
    express it under any name regardless of what it chooses to call itself in the
    future.

    I want to do this free from the fear of
    litigation, and I want the same for anyone else who hosts Burning Man Events
    that celebrate the culture that adopted the Burning Man name.

    …and I want to retain the truth of my life
    and its relationship to my art and culture. Both if which WERE NOT inspired by
    the event my culture gathered at and created in the Black Rock City.

    I’m begging for help, I’m just one guy refusing to sign away my rights to my arts and culture.

    Because whether or not I want to use that
    name to describe my culture, the media, and people in general now refer to my
    art and culture as “Burning Man” whether or not I like that.

    And now, to say “no it’s not Burning Man”
    is a lie. It’s a lie because the Corporation is claiming my culture as a proprietary
    thing invented in the desert. That they, and their ceremony on Baker Beach is
    entirely responsible for evangelising something they created.

    I’m at the point where I cannot practice my
    independently developed PUBLIC DOMAIN art or culture without fear of litigation.

    Like

    • I’ll wait for the movie. Until then, in spite of it all, anything can be renamed. Moreover, then it will be your own. As long as you use their trademark you will always be compared and associated with that self-serving corporation that profits from the NV burn.

      Here is a little US-Canada trademark story: A US company exclusively licensed their trademark to a company in Canada. The company in Canada did the same thing as the US company, and the US company liked the annual fee and the expected percentage of sales made under their trademark. Know what the Canadian company did? They paid the modest annual fee, but never sold anything under the US company’s trademark, so no percentage of sales was due. And since they had exclusive rights to the US trademark in Canada, they effectively kept the US company out of Canada. True through today.

      …All a way of saying that you should be yourself, not defined by anyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. well Canadian Burners if you want more data for Burningman I have much I am willing to put in the open forum myself. I do not like bullies.
    Inase anyone cares I along with others had stopburningman.org where we brought environmental issues to light. (which have basically been proven true by BLM) Been interviewed by USA today for there national newspaper, ABC and CBS radio in the bay area. And a long live interview in Reno.

    To Burningman i kept every single piece of correspondence I ever wrote, was written to me, copy of every item from the website, ever piece of email I ever received from many many sources. and many many pictures.

    I am not even sure whats inside but I am sure it would make a good read.

    -Rex

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A quote from “the burner” whose threatening to release the memos, stands out..”I never would have agreed to donate over 20,000 hours of my time & energy freely over 7 years to the community had I been explicitly told that my role was to be the protector of a corporate brand.”
    I believe that ‘the burner’ has lost sight of the overall picture here. BMs branding is not just a logo or a placeholder for a name.. it’s an idea. It’s a symbol that’s shared to the entire BM community worldwide. It’s our city’s flag. The Black Rock City and all of it’s citizens own it together. It doesn’t belong to Gerlach or Toronto or Tokyo, It’s Burning Man’s flag. It belongs to whoever chooses to experience BM and live by it’s values in the real world. BMOrg is essentially the government of BM. And like any government, BMOrg has taken responsibililty for protecting our flag from being exploited or used in a way that alters what the symbol represents. The image of the man is sacred to millions of people, precisely because BMOrg protects it.
    For 7 years, I’ve worked alongside a very prolific sculptor, who shows his incredible creations at BM every year. I’ve never been paid a dime to help. Not once. How exactly does that give me the right to copyright one of his logos??. Am I the “protector of his brand”? fuck yes I am. I respect and love everything about my involvement with those projects, and the one of the ways for the Sculptor to maintain his identity in the public sphere and continue to attract the funding and opportunities that make his sculptures possible, is through his branding.
    So yes, I think that Burner is the protector of the ‘corporate brand’. We all are.
    Our “free labor” hasn’t been “extracted”..we volunteered it and that’s probably the most basic BM principle.
    The moment that the BM organizers and it’s various representatives lose sight of that, the BM project fails and the “global corporate brand value” will cease to exist.
    I truly hope that Burn BC community doesn’t have to pay all that money, but if BMOrg was actually the monster with “several hundreds of millions of dollars” as “the burner’ puts it, I bet their lawyers would probably be trying to get much more money than $40K..

    Like

    • I agree that the Burning Man logo should be a flag, and Burners anywhere should feel free to fly it at their events. This doesn’t seem to be the way Decommodification, LLC and BMOrg see it, though. I wish you were correct.

      Like

        • But if they take a picture of it and post it anywhere, they can expect to get a call from the BOrg lawyers. In fact, I would bet that if there was such evidence of it being used at an event, the laywers would love to come after them. After all, they have to justify their $1.4 million a year in fees. 🙂

          Like

          • Rex, I doubt that is what whatswhat had in mind when he said, “…it’s an idea. It’s a symbol that’s shared to the entire BM community worldwide. It’s our city’s flag. The Black Rock City and all of it’s citizens own it together.” Unless there is a whole D&D-burn thing I have been missing …that is other than ripping off burning a combustible man thing.

            Liked by 1 person

    • “Our “free labor” hasn’t been “extracted”..we volunteered it and that’s probably the most basic BM principle.”

      What if I got you to volunteer to help build a house that I said was for Habitat for Humanity, and then I sold it (because I owned the property) for a tidy profit to an investor who then rented it out at market price to a middle-class family? Would your labor have been extracted under false pretense? Or did the volunteering thing suffice as an end in itself?

      Want to volunteer to mow my lawn? I am setting up a non-profit corporation to accept donations to help train unemployed people how to paint… my house.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I volunteer for projects that I have faith in, projects that make me and others better people. The moment I feel exploited, I guess that’s when I’ll throw in the hat.
        In regards to BM, I’m not trying to say that they aren’t walking a fine line, because I think that they are. There was a moment on burn night one year, when I had the overwhelming feeling that I had just given 3 months of my time to Disneyland. It was truly disheartening. BUT the feeling passed, I still have faith and I’ll probably be there again next year.
        To answer your question Nomad, If you led me to believe that i was building a house for Habitat for Humanity, and it turned out that I wasn’t …I would sue the shit out of you and make sure that Habitat for Humanity knew what you were up to so that they could sue the shit out of you too. Yes, I believe my labor would have been extracted under false pretense. Can you explain how that relates to burners volunteering to make a better event for eachother? Which I think is why i help make sculptures and why regional reps help organize regionals…

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I think what people don’t understand is that the application that Decommodification LLC just filed with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, is only FORMALISED.

    That means it will be 12-18 months before the CIPO even looks at the application.

    Additionally, what I think people don’t understand, is that if this application goes through unopposed (meaning no one even tries to oppose it), then those of us who have been participating in our culture (even before it was called the Burning Man Culture), will be shut down for doing things that are “Similar in Nature”.

    Regardless of whether or not we came up with the ideas of THE BURN completely independently of any knowledge that there was a desert event also celebrating our culture.

    I support Burners who want to subjugate their communities as property of the American Corporation. That’s their choice to do so, and to be bound by ten proprietary expressions of our culture at the Nevada Event that use to embrace, foster, and celebrate our Open Source Culture.

    For those of us who don’t, and who have openly celebrated, promoted, and fostered our Distinctly Canadian Burning Man Culture, or any other version of that Burner culture, if we do not recognise that any exclusive registration of a trademark in Canada means that there is no choice to associate with our culture except by subjugation as a subordinate community controlled “directly or indirectly” by the American Corporation Decommodification LLC…

    We are not only surrendering our own rights, we are imposing exclusive control of the rights of all Canadians who sincerely celebrate an open and dynamic community and culture to an American Brand, owned and controlled by a disinterested American Corporation.

    Any vitriol on the part of local people believing they have greater rights to dominate, control, and impose exclusive access to our culture, is misguided.

    ~ Bhak Jolicoeur AKA Napalm Dragon
    Instigator of the Vancouver Cacophony Society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bhak is absolutely incorrect about the effect a successful registration would have on “Canadian Burning Man Culture.”

      All the BMOrg could control with trademark registration are the words “Burning Man” etc. used in conjunction with burner-type activities. There is simply no theory of law in use anywhere, ever, that will allow a trademark to prohibit any particular type of activity! That is not what trademarks do. It is not what they are designed to do. Some types of activities can be regulated by patent and copyright law, but nothing related to this controversy.

      If the BMOrg (through Decommodification LLC) manages to register these trademarks in Canada, Canadian burners will still be able to do WHATEVER THEY WANT without infringing a trademark just as long as they don’t use the words “Burning Man,” the Man logo, etc. to promote their activities!! That is the worst case scenario here. For Canadian burners.

      Like

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  13. I am curious, whom is sueing, and whom is paying cash towards the lawyers? The BMOrg, as within this conversation, is most obviously, Larry, Marian, and the other four former BRC LLC owners, they own Decommodification LLC, they are the board members, and officers, and directors, within control of the Burning Man Project, and most are upon the board of the Black Rock City LLC, owned by the Project, and whom does business as Burning Man. Is Decommodification LLC sueing, or, perchance, the Burning Man Project upon the behest of Decommodification LLC, or Black Rock City LLC, or ?

    The Project, at present, owns the 501(c)3 Black Rock Arts Foundation, and has changed the BRAF from a 501(c)3 towards a department within the Project, ‘Black Rock Arts Foundation, which is now a subsidiary of the non-profit Burning Man Project, is joining forces with Black Rock City’s art department to create one program called Burning Man Arts.’ Must not, by appearances, Bhak give the Project, not Decommodification LLC, the burningmanarts.ca name, in despite of Burn BC Arts Cooperative utilizing the name prior to the Project utilizing the name, and, in despite of the website being removed? Is it the Project, or is it Decommodification LLC, that is making attempts towards preventing Bhak, or Burn BC Arts Cooperative, of utilizing the burnbc.org name, in despite of no trademark owned, nor permitted to be owned, upon the term ‘Burn’?

    $40,000, upon 1076 pages of documents, most certainly is appalling.

    Like

    • Of what I would be most interested, within any papers, within the regionals representatives group, might be of the manner of which they coordinate the social media statements of their representatives upon contract to the BMOrg, purposed towards them stating the desired cool aid message, all the while, making appearances towards all occurring upon the same message separate of the others, while hiding they are representatives, upon contract, of the BMOrg. In addendum, I would be most interested of the secret contract of the regionals representatives, pledging of loyalty towards the BMOrg, and of not permitting disagreement, in public, of policies of the BMOrg.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, the public contract for Regional Contact is right here: http://regionals.burningman.com/main/becoming-a-regional-contact/letter-of-understanding/

        I don’t have access to the “secret contract” where RCs agree to become living organ donors for Larry Harvey, but the public contract is damning enough. It’s pretty clear that (among other functions) RCs are supposed to serve as trademark police for BMOrg. On the other hand, I don’t think any of the RCs I know see protecting BMOrg’s trademark interests as an important part of their role.

        It’s worth noting that the contract on the Burning Man website hasn’t been updated to reflect the current organizational structure. The posted contract is between the RC and Black Rock City LLC, but makes mentions of trademarks that are now owned by Decommodification LLC, not BRCLLC. Perhaps the secret contract has been updated, but the RCs I’ve recently asked told me they haven’t had to sign anything new. Or maybe the secret contract forced them to lie about having signed the secret contract. There’s no telling how deep this goes.

        Maybe the BMOrrg hasn’t quite figured out what to do with RCs and regionals yet, and that’s why the contract hasn’t been updated? If the nonprofit Burning Man Project is doing anything at all, it really seems like it ought to be the entity handling the contracts with RCs (but the Project doesn’t own the trademarks).

        It wouldn’t surprise me at all if BMOrg is waiting to update the contract until they figure out how to monetize RCs/regionals. It would surprise me very much if they are successful in doing so. That’s another rant, but it strikes me that none of the people here shouting “BMOrg is coming for the regionals” have ever been to one, or have any idea how they function (“secret contract” my ass). Regionals will be fine. BMOrg can’t shut them down, or shake them down for cash (provided nobody is trying to doing something deliberate to engage with them like Bhak is/was doing). The regionals can walk away from BMOrg whenever they want to.

        Like

        • Andrew, you might not believe of this, but, I am much obliged for your responses towards my comments, I appreciate moving towards the truths of the matters at hand. Kudos, to you, upon whatever you might have contributed towards awesome regional Burner parties and towards Burner culture. There need to be more regional Burner parties, I wish the BMOrg desired a more bottoms up crowd sourced manner of throwing the regionals Burner parties, permitting the parties to flourish, in the place of their selected representatives must be within control, in the place of their top down control of bottoms up crowd sourced events, such as the Burn on the playa, and permitted a fair wage to be paid towards the awesome Burners whom throw the parties, and permit paid donations towards awesome Burners whom provide the entertainment that attract the crowds.

          Much obliged for your statement of there are no secret contracts, and of your pointing towards a contract, in despite of might it be out of date. Thus, by appearances, it is more groupthink, led by the BMOrg. With the delays upon updating the regionals contracts, deterniming of what the Burning Man Project is purposed towards other than providing a shelter for their tax levies, posting their ’10 principles center’ upon their website, the missing of true communication, and the missing of inclusion, with the awesome Burner community upon matters of importance, it is most apparent that Larry, Marian, and the others, do not desire to engage the awesome Burner community.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ABP, first off, I have to disagree with you about paying burners or entertainers who throw the parties. Your expectations on this have been poisoned by BMOrg, In my area, nobody is making money on the regionals. The directors of our non-profit and the people who produce our main event receive no compensation. Everybody, even the directors and producers, has to buy a ticket in order to attend the event. And absolutely-everybody-buys-a-ticket is typical for many other regionals. We are generous with art grants; grants account for around half our event production budget, and could be higher (we have more money available to give than there are grant applications). No artist at our event is paying out of pocket, or fundraising on kickstarter, but we only fund artist’s costs, we do not provide wages or donations beyond cost. I’m pretty sure burnersxxx, and maybe you, ABP, would rather have an event with world class art, and artists who receive fair compensation beyond costs. As for me, I much prefer an event where nobody is compensated beyond expenses, and everybody is an equal participant. The art may not be as good, but the community is better.

            Secondly, regionals ARE bottom up crowd sourced events. There isn’t any ongoing top-down control by BMOrg. BMOrg isn’t even proactive enough to find out when our “official” regional is happening to list it on their calendar. We could probably not throw an event next year, and they wouldn’t even notice (I’m pretty sure BMOrg’s count of ~60 official regional events includes some that are no longer happening). My local regional had to go through a little bit of BMOrg scrutiny, and be vouched for by an RC to be accepted as an “official” regional. But there aren’t any ongoing audits of our operations by BMOrg, let alone any control of our event (and I’m not sure if we”d have retained our official status if they’d bothered to look at how we handled event insurance the last few years). The non-profit that is the organizational structure behind our event was created by the community and is not affiliated with BMOrg.

            Being “official” has, at present, no costs. But the benefits aren’t very impressive either. We can make some use of BMOrg trademarks. We could bring a representative in to offer Ranger training. We could have our event listed on BMOrg website (but we haven’t even bothered with that for several years). That’s about it. If BMOrg want to charge us (or any regional) to be “official”, I don’t see anybody agreeing to that. We can scrub the use of a modified BM logo from our website’s style sheet. We can remove our only mention of “Burning Man” (which occurs in the phrase introducing the “10 principles of Burning Man”). If it comes down to it, we don’t even need Larry’s words for the 10 principles themselves; various unofficial regionals have gotten by with 5 or 7, some official regionals have 11, and NoWhere has 10 principles that are clearly inspired by Larry’s, but which use none of his words. Avoid BMOrg’s intellectual property, and there’s nothing they can do to stop an arts and community focused non-profit from holding a camping event with a burn/burner flavor (burn and burner are not BMOrg trademarks). If you scratch the surface of the regional scene, there are a whole bunch of unofficial burns. In my state, there are two official burns and three unofficial. The unofficial ones have been loosely associated with the non-profit that throws one of the official ones, but they don’t use BMORG intellectual property, and aren’t seeking any BMOrg recognition.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Andrew, kudos to you, and to your awesome mates for throwing the regionals parties. But, the one statement within my prior response, that you went off upon, was not purposed towards what you responded towards.

            When the BMOrg is taking over $40 million of cash towards their pockets within their cash out, and remaining in control, they must pay people a fair wage and exhibit fair play towards the people whom contribute mightily towards the parties. There is no item preventing the BMOrg from paying the coordinators of the regionals parties five thousand or ten thousand dollars for their awesome efforts, the BMOrg might licence any Burner to throw a Burn, and burn a man, for solely $1, no item is stopping the BMOrg from doing so, other than greed for cash towards their pockets, and greed of control, towards their egos. No item is preventing the BMOrg of gifting thousands of tickets towards camps providing of sound, mutant vehicles, and others providing of entertainment for the numerous spectators at the burn upon the playa,

            Jody, of the Canada burners, stated of he donated 20,000 hours over 7 years towards the BMOrg, and he did not sign up to be a ‘brand manager’ towards their cash out, many of the regionals parties, as you state, are not occurring, or are not associated with the BMOrg in due of their policies of control, the BMOrg threatens any Burner, not within their control, whom is to burn a man as within of their Burner community party. Why do your awesome mates believe they must throw their parties and not state that it is a Burn other than the BMOrg’s desire of top down control?

            I heart what the awesome rocketgirl stated within a comment upon a separate post ‘As a long time volunteer, I used to get staff passes each year, in other words, I got a free ticket as a reward for working on some very difficult and important issues on th playa. However, 2 years ago I dared to speak out in a plublic forum on what I thought were hypocrasies. I was approched by a BMorg rep who told me that as a art of the org I was not allowed to speak negatively about the Org. Even though my posts contained the disclaimer “this is my perosnal opinion” I was warned that my opinions could be construed as Burning Man official speak, since everyone knew I was a part of the org. What did I do? I gave up my golden ticket and stepped away from my role in order to maintain my freedom of speech. BMorg does not allow dissent, not while yo are on “the payroll” or getting gifted things like tickets, which allows you to come to BRC and work your ass off all week.’ This is of what I referred towards as the ‘secret contract’, stay upon the cool aid message, or STFU, or else. Free speech is not to be tolerated by the BMOrg.

            Liked by 1 person

          • ABP, I wish all the BOrg faithful minions would read Rocketgirl’s story as you quoted. Perhaps they would stop patiently waiting for the BOrg to speak up and explain everything and make all the bad go away. …Of course if they read her statement, they would rationalize that it was all false. The BOrg is working from the cult playbook, and is bringing up a good second place to the Scientologists in managing how much internal info gets out, and how much the faithful are allowed to have opinions.

            Like

        • “The regionals can walk away from BMOrg whenever they want to.” But all regionals are not created equal. Some are very independent, while some have management that firmly stick their head in the ground when confronted with what the BOrg is doing.

          The best example of a “regional” (I HATE THAT TERM AND ALL IT IMPLIES) break-away is Figment. They are amazing, have spread to many cities, and are much better Burners than the BOrg. Starting every discussion with, “What are you bringing?” is the single best goal for these events, better than all of Larry’s Tin Principles(TM) put together.

          Another example is the Lost Horizon Night Market, best described as Burning Man Truck Farmers. Like Figment, no charge to attend, though tip jars are permitted.

          Burning Man has inspired a lot, but it is the efforts of the Burners, not the BOrg that have done this. The BOrg are just the people who thought they were in control. Other than the cult followers and “best party in the world” crowd, they control noting but a patch of desert for a month out of every year.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Figment and Lost Horizon seem like awesome events, I’ve been wanting to go to both since I first heard about them. And, they seem like the way forward. Just put on your own show. Of course, it’s undeniably influenced by Burning Man, which is fine and, I think, the whole point of Burning Man, in its purest form. Inspire and motivate.

            A lot of this is, I think, coming to terms with the fact that we won’t see something as impactful as Burning Man again in our lifetimes. Larry & Co. hit the jackpot, all these other events are directly inspired by that, and that’s fine. Granted, aspects of Burning Man culture were swirling about, but they really weren’t crystallized until the Cacophony folks met Larry and his crew and something happened. Would Burn BC have been doing there thing if there never was a Burning Man? Probably, in one form or another. I HIGHLY doubt it would have taken the form it has, but that’s purely speculative.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. No comments from the BMOrg about any of these problems and I am beginning to realize they they probably could not care less what people are saying about them. They know BM is huge and next year the demand will be higher than ever with more virgins buying a higher percentage of tickets which will probably cost $500-$900 as the BMOrg rake in more cash money than ever before.

    I wonder how long can they operate under the current model?

    How much longer can they force people to pay for a very expensive ticket AND tell them that they have to give, volunteer and be a good citizen once inside? The BM model worked fine as long as ticket prices were low, but as people pay more and more for a ticket they are probably going to feel less and less like they should be giving more once inside. What will happen as more and more people realize that the BMOrg is making a huge profit on mostly volunteer efforts?

    How much longer will the army of volunteers (all those great 5-10+ year veteran burners) be happy to work for free when they see the profit numbers (65,000 x $300 = 19 Million Dollars, simple math, low numbers)?

    How high can ticket prices get?
    How much longer can BM continue as it has?

    Like

    • Tickets were $390 this year. While not cheap, still a pretty good deal for what you get, especially when compared to other festivals. The aftermarket scalping is what drives up prices to those you mention. I believe something should be done to mitigate this, most likely non-transferrable tickets tied to an ID, which can be released back into the system if the ticket holder decides not to go, wherein that ticket would go to the next person in line on STEP. It would make the gate line a bit longer, but I think that’s a worthy price to pay.

      Like

    • I can only speak for myself, but this 17 year veteran is no longer willing to lumber through every application hurdle, raise funds for an art project designed and built by the people of our camp, come to the event and work and build and tear down and get a green on the moop map…. I was more than happy to do it all, and run the camp too. but I’m no more willing to be a pawn with the double standards and dishonest business model currently espoused. No one cares though. For sure there are plenty of people, some in my own camp, who say, who cares, it’s the best party on the planet. So they won’t miss me, that I know. Just like Walmart doesn’t miss my bucks, neither will BMorg or the new inhabitants of BRC.

      Liked by 1 person

      • to thine self be true rocketgirl,
        You have my respect and my thanks for all of your contribution over the years. Thank you for that. The world is a better place because you are in it.

        Like

      • Yes, and with your departure, that’s how the event morphs into its evil doppelganger with waning community responsibility in light of money being the new coinage. The default world wants to be everywhere, and now has taken over the NV burn. It would be one thing if it happened against the efforts of the BOrg, but in this case they were the salesmen. Sure, people will persist, as you point out, but it will be the other burners – those there for the party not the community.

        Liked by 1 person

    • How high? we know that people will pay $13,000 for a spot at Burning Man. So I think the answer is, very high. As long as they keep promoting Safari Commodification Camps.
      How much longer can it continue? Indefinitely. Jumping the shark did not end Happy Days.
      Is it still a counter-culture event? Not when mainstream political pundits are giving interviews and speeches there.
      Plug-n-plays aren’t going to destroy Burning Man, but ending the sound camps will.

      Like

  15. A little background on where the actual BM logo came from. I once asked the powers-that-be who was it that designed the logo, used everywhere by the Org, a major part of their branding efforts, internally and out in the world, which they fight vigorously to defend in courts and memos and threats, and which they franchise out to approved regional groups. It turns out they didn’t even create it themselves! I was told that some person had drawn it on an envelope sent to the BMorg way back when. (which may have contained payment for tickets, I don’t recall exactly). The Org saw it and liked it and started using it (and now “own it”) – but never asked the person who created it for permission to use their art as the BM logo. (or to even thank them!)
    Maybe that person’s name had gotten lost or misplaced, but it’s “funny” to think that even their logo was created by a participant. (which they have then monetized).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. After reading the letters and armchair analysis, it seems clear that BMOrg isn’t seeking revenge but rather trying to recoup money spent protecting a concept that is being damaged by a people like Bhak (who btw is himself the one condoning ‘revenge’ by not publicly distancing himself from his cohorts’s threat of releasing private correspondence between regional reps and BMOrg., which in itself is inviting more legal action) The real damage done to this point, is that many many many $$$ intended to build another city in the desert, have been wasted on courts and lawyers fees to protect the sanctity of a symbol. It’s Bhak’s actions that have led to this moment. It does suck that he may have to cough up 40k, but that’s what happens when you step into the business world recklessly. If he wanted to file for trademarks on such a well known symbol, then he should have sought out legal counseling to be sure that he wasn’t going to get sued.
    There is an easier way…don’t associate your burn with the big fella. Make up your own logo. Take the lessons and principles we’ve all learned from the big fella and reapply them to spawning something new and great. Personally, I’d rather be a part of a grassroots event than a BMOorg replicated or sanctioned one anyways.

    Like

      • It’s no secret that BMOrg vigilantly protects their logos. I would find it hard to believe that Bhak didn’t realize he was stepping out onto thin ice when he tried to trademark it himself. From my little vantage point, it seems like it was bad idea.

        Like

        • Bhak is most likely enjoying the attention. Most citizen ‘leaders’ fancy themselves as little Larrys, and there is no bad attention. BMorg wont get a penny out of him and he knows it. Jody may release the emails and that’s somewhat exciting, but I’m afraid there will be no smoking gun wherein one the the founders explicitly (in non code term fashion) states how to exploit volunteers for their labor in exchange for some kind of meaningless status like a dot whatever email address. They wouldn’t be that explicit, and short of something like that, that the regional KoolAid drinkers will never get-it until they get it served to them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • In the 15 years that they’ve been emailing with BMOrg, he could have popped the question “is it ok if we use the burningman logo for our burn?” It makes me think of a burner going into a stranger’s camp and grabbing his friend a beer out of the strangers cooler…that isn’t an act of radical inclusion or any other insinuated burningman tenant..it’s just stealing, even if the intentions were radically good.
            Lil Larrys and regional KoolAid drinkers..lol A++

            Liked by 1 person

    • “Don’t take on a bully because they will ruthlessly crush you like a bug, while proclaiming to the world how they’re the good guy”
      Seems like there are plenty of ways this could’ve been resolved, without the vindictive element.
      Mark my words, in the next couple of years we will see “franchising” – ie Regionals pay fees to the mother ship. This is their biggest international market, they are just now waking up to the necessity of protecting their IP there. Is that because the directors have just recently created their IP monetization vehicle? Well, that’s who’s doing the suing. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, yet again.

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      • While forcing the regionals to pay tribute wouldn’t surprise me at all, you have it wrong on the trademark stuff. The BMOrg (or, rather, its lawyers) simply neglected to register the trademarks in Canada. It would have been very easy and inexpensive. They aren’t “waking up” to anything.

        Like

        • if not, then why only register the trademark in July 2014? They’ve been harping on about regionals since 1998. It seems that this move should be seen in the context of their new, global ambitions.

          Like

    • Not unless they actually try to collect from the guy… Even then, he has a ton of credible local detractors who will make him out as the villain whether or not they intend to.

      Liked by 1 person

    • How does that get us back to the previous radical counter-culture event that the BOrg promised to protect and then nefariously cashed in? We have to just find a better name than “regionals,” and spend our time and efforts there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The punks don’t like to be punked. I can’t imagine what a person is thinking in trademarking “BurningMan” no matter what country they are in. If you know anything about the Org, you know they will go after you. So I can only think he was conscious about what he was doing. But regardless, continuing to go after the guy, after the issue is resolved, is bullying. but then they wouldn’t back down until they drove Paul Addis right into jail for 4 years and he was a former friend. Sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. is $40,000 all it costs to release the Wikileaks stuff? Because I’m ready to put up a kickstarter to see it happen…

    As for “the guy” he is probably presenting his side of the story and leaving some stuff out just like everyone else does. But can this please be the thing that blows up in the LLC’s face and makes it so we take our event back? Please?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on The Morning Bleat and commented:
    This quote really sticks out
    “Welcome to the new, non-profit culture we are teaching to newbies and spreading around the globe. Gift us your art, so we can monetize it and sue non-profits.”

    Reports like this make me not want to attend or be part of it. It seems the founders have lost touch with the original intention.

    I was involved in an art project where I would have donated over $400 worth of silk. Donated. Gifted. When I inquired about possibly having a photo of the art project I was verbally attacked by a troll in one of the forums about their photography policy

    It doesn’t seem like a very good idea to ask people to build a community based on gifting , volunteer their efforts, then be so territorial to the point of wrongly threatening lawsuits against those who helped create the community and regionals. Or maybe I’m just too bewildered to think straight.

    The hypocrisy against even burners themselves has become too hot to handle. What I once marveled at for being a radical art and community project is quickly turning me off from any future participation.

    Regionals. But better change the name. Is setting a wooden man on fire now going to be an infringement as well?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A very short summary of what happened, with a little info on trademark law and surely many mistakes. This is based on information shared publicly by Bhak and some of the legal filings he shared directly with me a while back. I am an attorney.

    1. The BMOrg forgot to register the trademarks in Canada, which is not a signatory to the treaty that makes registration reciprocal in most countries.

    2. Burn BC, an unnoficial regional organization and perhaps mostly Bhak’s alter-ego, had been using the trademarks without the BMOrg’s permission but with its awareness for a while.

    3. Trademark law: registration is only one piece of the puzzle. If an entity uses a trademark, generally words or a symbol, it can pretty quickly get the right to prevent other people from using it for the same purposes. Example: If I open up Pantsless Santa’s Light Sick and Feather Hut and run the business for a year or two, I will gain trademark rights to that business name and nobody else will be able to capitalize on my success.

    4. More trademark law: Trademark registration basically gives you those rights, and even more, in advance. But if someone else is already using a trademark, nobody else can register it. Example: A local entrepreneur named Hairy Larvae decides that he wants to open up his own Pantsless Santa’s Light Stick and Feather Hut, and attempts to register that name as a trademark. He won’t be able to. It’s already my trademark, even though I haven’t registered it.

    5. Burn BC applied to register the Burning Man trademarks on the grounds that it represents the Canadian burner community. Part of the argument is based on the idea that the Canadian community as it has developed over the years has a culture distinct from the corporate American TITD. This is an interesting argument and probably has some merit, but it is not pertinent to this procedural and legal account.

    6. The BMOrg opposed Burn BC’s registration attempt, as far as I can remember on the grounds that the above argument is bunk (it might or might not be), that the BMOrg, through its official affiliates, already had the unregistered trademark rights (it does, unless – at minimum – the above argument is valid), and that Burn BC does not represent any separate Canadian burner community that might have trademark rights (this is a coffin nail for Burn BC). I apologize if I have this all wrong – I may well.

    7. Burn BC “released the marks into the public domain” and withdrew its registration application, I believe with the intent that they only be used for noncommercial/burny purposes. This was a nice gesture, but a. It might not have any rights to release (see above), and b. Trademarks don’t quite work that way – you either maintain control of them or lose all rights to them.

    8. The BMOrg is seeking revenge against Bhak for challenging their authority and forcing them to incur a ton of legal fees, maybe as much as $100k worth based on the amount of paper that’s been generated.

    9. The BMOrg is acting like a bag of dicks. Bhak’s theories might or might not hold water in court, but he has acted in good faith with the purpose of promoting what he believes are the best interests of Canadian burners. This is not some kind of frivolous power grab. He doesn’t deserve this.

    Liked by 1 person

      • As far as I know, nobody ever tried to register the trademarks until Burn BC did this summer. That application is what triggered the BMOrg’s legal action. The question in this case, if it went forward, would have nothing to do with previous registration. It would be about whether the Burn BC had unregistered trademark rights to the Burning Man trademarks. (In the absence of Burn BC, the BMOrg would have those rights.)

        I don’t think that Burn BC has those rights. In order to have them, Burn BC would have to show that the Canadian burners using the Burning Man trademarks were doing so as part of Burn BC, not in association with the regional network or as unaffiliated human beings. In other words, Burn BC can’t simply step up as the representative of people unaffiliated with it.

        If Burn BC couldn’t get past that hurdle, none of the other arguments would matter. The very best that could be accomplished would be preventing the BMOrg from registering the trademark, which would be pointless for reasons that have nothing to do with this case.

        NAFTA Article 1708 seems only to set minimum standards for trademark registration. It definitely isn’t relevant to the procedural account above – don’t forget that Burn BC withdrew its _formal_ claims.

        Don’t get distracted by legal theories. They don’t matter here. Items 8 and 9 above are what’s relevant.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So Burn BC was using the trademark unofficially, the BMORG was aware of this and was cool with it, but then Burn BC registered it and that’s when BMORG filed the lawsuit? You know, that makes sense to me. If this is truly the case, them I’m on BMORG’s side, as long as they drop the lawsuit now that Burn BC dropped the trademark registration.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The BMOrg is and was never cool with this. I am not sure exactly what Burn BC was doing, what unaffiliated burners were doing, and what the BC regional was doing… I am not part of that circus.

            Liked by 1 person

        • And using Elon Musk as an example, as you do in the update, he’s open sourcing his technology, which is awesome. But he’d sue the shit out of, say, a Canadian car company using his technology that went ahead and registered the Tesla name. I think that analogy can be applied to the Burn BC case.

          Like

          • This is an apt analogy as far as trademark law is concerned. And registration is not the issue, these trademarks were unregistered in Canada – but probably still real trademarks – until this summer.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting, thank you for your update counselor

      “”8. The BMOrg is seeking revenge against Bhak for challenging their authority””

      Now I have this weird image of several members of the BMOrg rolling around on their big wheel tricycles, wearing mirrored sunglasses and hitting burner’s knees with their batons while screaming you will respect my authoritah!! http://tworiversblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/respect-my-authority.jpeg

      Liked by 1 person

    • they filed this trademark claim in July 2014. Bhak withdrew his claim of ownership in June 2014.

      So, exactly – what’s this really about? They have control of the mark in Canada now, surely that was their objective. As I said, winning is not enough to satisfy them. Shades of past legal stoushes that ended tragically for the victims…

      Like

  20. Ah lovely Burners.Me style assassination reporting again. Failed to mention any of the myriad treaties which co-mingle U.S. and Canadian intellectual property law (NAFTA for instance). Failed to provide links to any of the legal documents, which would have been easily obtained from the parties, and likely available online. Failed to provide anything at all from the other side of the story.

    Just BORG boogeymen sketched out with innuendo and insinuation from a bunch of people who already have an axe to grind and no knowledge of the law….or journalism, apparently.

    Like

  21. I agree with Oz that I would like to see some clarification here. Burn BC Arts Cooperative has 745 members, yet the Victoria, BC and Vancouver, BC regional pages have 1200 and 3400 members, respectively. Napalm Dragon cannot and does not speak for all burners in Canada or even BC – not even close.I didn’t support his fight for the trademarks and I didn’t like being lumped into that fight as a Canadian burner.

    That said, the org won when Napalm Dragon gave up the trademarks. Trying to destroy a regional just to punish him is appalling. We as burners pay (in cash, blood, sweat, and tears) to throw their party, to line their pockets. The org has nothing to gain here – BC Burn is peniless. They are using pissing in their own well by being bullies.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I don’t” get the whole cooperate logo protection in the first place. Granted, I haven’t gone to the burn for several years but my memory is that cooperate logo’s were to be covered or detourned in some way. In general the association with a well known cooperate logo was frowned upon. First timers were even advised of this in the guide. And now the BORG is afraid that it’s precious logo will be miss used? PSHAW!!!!! Sham on you Larry and Marion. You have forgotten what it”s all about! This is (partly) why I burn in my own way now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does seem that they have forgotten.
      I would not be surprised to see the BMOrg hire a big time PR firm to come in and handle damage control. There seems to be too many serious issues surfacing for them to handle, from what looks like the abandonment of the 10 principles to favoritism and cronyism to now bullying people who spent a lot time doing good for BM and more.

      I suppose this is a repeat of an age old story of good intentions and pure beginnings becoming bastardized over time by the lure of piles of gold.

      Liked by 1 person

    • If the BMORG didn’t copyright the BM logo and name, and fiercely enforce that copyright, then you’d see “Burning Man” attached to all manner of bullshit. I’ve got my problems with the BMORG, but how they’ve handled the Burning Man name is not one of them. I think they’ve done as well as could be hoped. If it went the John Law/Chicken John (hi) route and kept it in the public domain, the event would not have lasted as long as it has. To some, that would have been a good thing, and I get that. But for me, I’m glad it didn’t go that way.

      Like

      • I disagree that it would’ve killed the event. Instead, there would be a blossoming global culture of local Burning Man events – which BMOrg has said is their goal since the late 90’s. It is the stated mission of BMP on their home page. The Nevada event would still be sold out, but the global world of Burners would be growing exponentially.
        The problem with their current expansion plans is it seems to be based on control. If someone wants to relinquish control to another organization, they will look at how effective that organization is at operations, and how much integrity they have. BMOrg don’t have a great track record of helping build up the regionals – we don’t have one above 10,000 yet. I know Burners who could get 10,000 people to a party with a single Facebook post.

        Like

        • You have a more optimistic viewpoint on humanity that I do, then. We complain about how commercial Burning Man has gotten, and rail against people who use the name to promote their business. What do you think it would look like if the BMORG had no legal recourse in those cases? If businesses were free to slap “Burning Man” on products, advertisements, movie tie-ins, etc.? The identity of the event would have become diluted to the point of meaninglessness years ago. We would have never even gotten to the point where regionals started sprouting up.

          Like

          • again, I disagree. We’re at that point now, and Regional growth is stifled by the organizational structure and parameters. I think Burner culture could’ve become something significant, that could spread further in the world than this small monoculture, with proper stewardship. As just one example, take Star Wars – it is older than Burning Man and still has a cult following. They’ve had massive monetization, but also wise commercial stewardship of their culture. There are now hundreds of millions of fans who’ve never even seen the original “Star Wars” movie but still get the acculturation of the Force, Jedi, the Empire, etc. Has this “diluted the identity to the point of meaninglessness?”

            Like

  23. I am happy to call Napalm a friend. We had our disagreements at first over Burning Man, Cacophony, and trademarks, but over time I’ve found that he has been right. And he’s made me a better person for it. He truly has his community in mind and he has earned my support.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The BMOrg is being a bully and they should drop the lawsuit, no question.

    However, two wrongs don’t make a right. Burn BC does not represent Canada, British Columbia, Vancouver, or any large group of Burners. It represents Bhak and his cronies.

    As a member of the Vancouver Burning Man community, I have to say that Burners.me jumped into a thorny issue without knowing a lot of the context within the relevant Vancouver Burning Man community.

    What do we think of Burn BC (the organization that registered Burning Man in Canada) and the person who largely runs it, Bhak Jolicoeur?

    Opinions of course vary, but the simplest thing would be to say that he’s been a figure at the centre of a LOT of controversy of the past 10 years or so.

    Bluntly, Bhak and Burn BC does NOT represent Vancouver Burners. Burn BC is a dead organization with few members and no recent activity. It has died primarily due to allegations of misconduct by the organization, and people getting tired of working in a group that they felt misused them (sounds similar to the allegations against the BMOrg, no?)

    There is no large public mandate for Bhak or his organization to forge forward to manage the Burning Man brand in Canada.

    We didn’t ask him to do this. And we don’t want him to. In fact, he would be the LAST person the community at large would give that trust to.

    The BMOrg should drop the lawsuit if Bhak has dropped the registration, no question.

    However, Bhak and Burn BC have been poking Burning Man with a sharp stick for a number of years and it should be no surprise that when Bhak and Burn BC pushed into the legal sphere by registering the Burning Man trademark in Canada earlier this year the BMOrg decided to fight back.

    Burn BC simply isn’t the right group to act on behalf of a much larger community. It gives itself more credit and mandate than it actually has.

    Like

    • their claim is that the Canadian trademark was registered prior to 2004, the year Burning Man registered their own trademark in the US

      Everyone is distancing themselves from Bhak, Bhak is distancing himself from Jody, so who is Jody speaking for then? Do Canadian Burners think Burning Man should respect Canadian law in Canada, or not?

      Like

      • Should Burning Man respect Canadian law? Well, they will have to. And so will Burn BC. Because the courts are going to decide! Isn’t that how this works?

        As for who Jody is representing? I believe he has stepped forward in defense of Bhak, but is also concerned about the rapid corporatization and monetization of Burning man (as are we all!)

        However, Jody’s offer to release emails shared with Burning Man seems to be somewhat specious. As a threat, I doubt it will stop Burning Man from pursuing it’s case, and relatively irrelevant to the suit between Burning Man and Burn BC.

        Liked by 1 person

    • So, two wrongs don’t make a right, but three do?

      I am waiting for the tort class action lawsuit from all the Burners that the BOrg lied to and mislead, simple fraud to extract free labor and participation. And it sounds like a lot of the grounds will soon be in Wikileaks. It is all control of information to manipulate people: wrong when China does it, wrong when the BOrg does it. But you know what, unlike the BOrg, China did not say they were founded on freedom of expression.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi, I’m the “Burnileaks” person. Here is a letter I recently sent out:

    Hi.

    When I resigned my position from BM in 2006, I apparently was not removed from the Regionals email list. I have access to 15 years of Regionals list archives.

    My thinking is that by dumping this info into the public domain it will illustrate a long history of highly inconsistent & arbitrary brand enforcement that relies heavily on the discretion of unpaid volunteers [regional reps aka corporate brand ambassadors] who are empowered by BM to make judgements as to who is & isn’t a “Burner.” This is often a highly politicized & authoritarian process that creates divisiveness within communities. Regional reps may abuse their power by targeting community members for punitive actions by BM simply on the basis of their personal discretion, ie, whether or not they like someone. Plenty of people throwing parties or selling goods & services using the Burning Man name have been given a pass by the brand cops simply because they know someone & can be vouched for as a “good Burner.”

    As a regional rep & one of the early architects of the Regional Network, I never would have agreed to donate over 20,000 hours of my time & energy freely over 7 years to the community had I been explicitly told that my role was to be the protector of a corporate brand. I believed passionately that we were creating an open source arts movement, & by the time I resigned from Burning Man I felt that those feelings had been manipulated by the Org in order to extract free labor in order to build corporate brand value, rather than community. The idealistic “we’re a community” rhetoric is the key to extracting free labor for the corporation. In the thousands of emails on the Regionals list, there is little evidence that regional reps have ever seen themselves as corporate brand ambassadors, they generally appear to be more community-minded idealists who believed, like me, they were helping to shape a fluid & organic movement. It’s a deceptive & duplicitous practice on the part of Burning Man who is using these same well-intentioned volunteers to be brand enforcement police under the false guise of “protecting the community.”

    The choice to go after Burn BC was Marian’s, & she had several options & avenues she could have pursued in this case, & she chose the most vindictive course of action. Bhak & Burn BC have done nothing to damage the brand; for 15 years, Bhak has been adding value to the Burning Man brand in BC & beyond. She should be compensating him for contributing to the growth of a global corporate brand now valued at several hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Bahk has been trying to wrestle (steal) control of the burning man scene in vancouver for years. Every year it’s another bit of bullsh*t from the guy. He can’t get along with the rest of the burners, so he keeps trying to take control of the culture that we built. This is not about freedom of speech, this was about him trying to take control of the logo and identity. He has fraudently used the BM logo on his site several times and tried to represent the official burning man presence in Vancouver even though none of the official regional contacts will have anything to do with him.

    Don’t worry, he won’t actually be able to come up with the $40k, this is about shutting down burnBC once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Bhak is control obsessive and dishonest about his real intentions. His efforts with Burn BC and attempts to register ‘Burning Man Canada’ is clearly an attempt to take advantage of their current intellectual property as his own, for one country. Bhak may seem like he has the community at heart, but in the end, he just wants to profit from an existing (and potentially profitable) vehicle.

      Like

      • I couldn’t agree more about your character assessment of Bhak (AKA Napalm Dragon)

        But what you fail to realize is that the “official” Burning Man reps for this area (Vancouver) are the exact same way, they just know how to shut their mouth. The current and some of the past reps are the most manipulative lairs I’ve ever encountered. They have only person intentions at heart, and do the exact same thing as the founders, extracting free labor from all the newbs to promote and create there brand of BurninVan.

        Like

        • I highly disagree with your judgements of Bhak. I was in the Vancouver community from 2007-2010 and I camped with Bhak in 2007. I don’t know of the missteps you spoke about, but he has strong morals regarding the open art culture. He has tried to organize community driven events that I participated in, create opportunities for participation and lost money in the process.

          As far as the trademark, I do not know the intentions, but his approach may be very similar to what BMorg does: secure the rights in the legal sense, and enforce it in a way that projects BM from corporate misuse. Leaving it unregistered is actually pretty dangerous in the long run. As comparison, better to patent and idea and give free license for proper use, like the Seat beat from Volvo or the patents Tesla has released for public use.

          Initially, Bahkt told me that he started Burn BC because of a fundamental moral disagreement over how a substantial event in the community was handled. I think there was little cooperation for a couple of years, but things were better after that. I’ve never seen him stress over control, only over consent, inclusiveness and fairness.

          Liked by 1 person

  27. Im not defending the org. I dont know what’s going on. As a burner from BC Canada, this guy Bhak (Napalm Dragon) doesn’t speak for me and I’m getting quite tired of being associated with him. He runs a nonprofit “burn bc” and its his nonprofit that’s in the midst of all this. Most bc burners frankly dont care. He’s been airing his controversy around our local lists and facebook groups for ages, going on about our rights to own our culture. Five years of being involved with a regional event and ive never noticed a problem. I have no idea what this guy is on about.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I am having trouble seeing how a good regional would need anything from Burning Man. Just spin it off and call it whatever you want. If it is any good people will participate. Leaking personal emails is a very dirty tactic. Not cool at all.

    Like

  29. Do the regionals register with the BMORG or something? Do they have to be officially affiliated somehow? Seems like there can be a middle way, here. In my opinion, the ferocity with which the BMORG protects the Burning Man name is a good thing, but in this case, it might be misplaced.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. They should open a website for donations, collect the measly $40,000, give to the (proven over and over now) blood sucking greedy BMOrg and then release the document on wiki.

    This would mostly be meant as a fuck you message to the greedy pigs who run BM. The jig is up. Enough with the bullshit where they want everyone else to volunteer while they rake in millions of Dollars cash, scalp their own tickets, break their own rules, sell $17,000 tickets to spectators who fly in and fly out so these posers can “Oh yeah dude, I was at the burn this year, it was awesome”, etc etc etc.

    Again, thanks to burners.me for being here to share and share with this type of information.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seems to me that their case is very strong, and their actions would look commendable to a jury. Getting BMOrg into the court room could let the defendants get a real intimate look at internal emails, not just the more public ones mentioned in the threat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great point burnersxxx, take it to court, teach the BMOrg to “be careful what you ask for”

        I am very disappointed in this.
        If I understand this situation correctly the Canadians gave them the naming rights (or gave them up) and agreed to not not use them anymore and still the BMOrg wants to suck out this relatively small amount of money? (Small amount to the BMOrg but probably large to the Canadian group)

        This seems like the BMOrg being malicious and petty.
        And now I wonder if it is the lawyers talking for the BMOrg.

        The BMOrg should to come out of their tent and start answering some of the recent questions. If this is a misunderstanding it would make me feel better.

        I understand how fucked all attorneys are. I have never yet had a positive interaction with any attorney. On the occasions I have had to hire an attorney for a problem, it turned into having 2 problems, the original problem and then a new problem with the attorney, usually trying to over charge me.

        LOL- I wonder if the BMOrg ever tried to get their attorneys to “volunteer” like they do everyone else? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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