Quick Update from Canada

One of our readers asked us today on Facebook what was going on with the lawsuit between Decommodification, LLC, a for-profit US company which did not exist before 2010, who are trying to use the term “Burning Man” in Canada for money-making purposes; and Canadian arts collective BurnBC, who are fighting as best they can for usage of the term to remain free in the Public Domain in their country, where they argue it has been for at least 20 years.

Artist Napalm Dragon reports:

image: Napalm Dragon

image: Napalm Dragon

Not much to say right now.
The only thing that’s happened is that the judge is deciding if Burn BC can defend itself.
She’s going to make a decision at some point, (could be days or months).
If Burn BC is not allowed to self represent than Burn BC has 30 days to find a lawyer or it goes to default judgment.
Decommodification LLC has lowered “damages” to a lump sum payment of $2000.
I doubt they’ll ever see a penny.

So yeah. 

Nothing much to say other than Decommodification LLC is coming off like an arrogant bully pushing frivolous litigation through the courts to intimidate me into signing a ridiculous settlement agreement I will never agree to.

Sounds like Decommodification LLC have backed off a bit on their financial demands, but aren’t prepared to let this case go – even though they have finally got around to applying to register their trademark in the jurisdiction. Their application for a trademark has not been granted yet, and could still be opposed.

Napalm Dragon said recently on Ello:

lawsuit docs

Does this look like a reasonable attempt to reach a solution? Or corporate bullying?

What changed. What was the thing that took it out of the hypothetical and made it real.
The court case. www.gofundme.com/f8bo7g
The trademark wasn’t being used to protect “the community” it was being used to suppress it.
In the court documents, Decommodification LLC makes false claims, including that basically it owns all the Burning Man Communities.
A hypothetical possibility was made real by Federal Court Documents.
That’s what changed.

Since Decommodification/BMOrg are only seeking $2000 (down from an earlier claim of $40,000), money is not the objective – and neither is protecting the trademark, since they’ve now filed an application for it like they should’ve done in the beginning. So what is the point of continuing? To me it seems punitive, and somewhat petty. What is this lawsuit actually “protecting”? Who benefits? Who’s paying?

david-vs-goliathIf you want to help the little guy Burners against the corporate machine in this David vs Goliath battle, please support them here: Burning Man is Not A Commodity. Every little bit helps, no donation is too small.

Previous coverage of this story from Burners.Me:

Embattled Burners Ask Community For Support

Canada Draws Battle Lines For Burner Culture

Help Canada

Burnileaks: Bullying The Burners

South Bhak – Burning Man and South Park S18 Connection Again

Back In The Day

6 comments on “Quick Update from Canada

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

  2. Pingback: BMOrg Hath Spoken | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. I think you are all brainwashed into believing that spending all that time for a corporation is cool thanks for letting me know that you are not very kind at all the whole community seems very fake & money driven I have heard that they started out with electronic music cause they didn’t want bands or any other form of music electronic music is not organic & neither is Burning man they are more like Monsanto use, abuse, then get rid of them. wake up don’t party with the evil corporation

    • You’re right in different ways. There is a lot of group-think amongst Burners. It comes on strong after the second year, Sophomoric Megalomania, AKA ‘drinking the Kool-Aid. That ‘brainwashing’ begins to wear off about the 5th year, if you’re lucky. Then you begin to see dosed-up you were. There’s a lot of thinking amongst Burners that they’re better than people who don’t go to Burning Man; that they have some kind of duty to spread the word about their utopia.

      There’s more fakery than ever. People go out to the event to ‘play Burning Man’ for a week. Soft-core mainstream personality types pretending to be anarchists/free spirits. They take selfie pictures of themselves with such intensity that it seems the act of taking pictures of themselves is more important and significant than the moment itself. I suppose it’s all to update that Facebook page to get ‘likes’ from their internet friends. A sort of narcissistic compulsion that is running rampant on the playa and off.

      Electronic music has always been a part of Burning Man. So has bands and other acoustic instruments. But it’s over-the-top now. The techno audience factor is huge out there. Thousands of people staring at a DJ booth doing the white-man’s overbite; women dancing on top of anything for attention. The overabundance of techno music has turned too many people into mere spectators/audience members.

      Yes, the corporation is evil, in the sense it lacks compassion and integrity in pursuit of money. I suppose not unlike most corporations. It doesn’t deserve its lofty reputation as a sort of instrument for transformative experiences amongst the ticket holders. The actual level of organization and effort of the corporation is something similar to the production of a low-budget (under $5 million) independent film. They’re not saints and they don’t rise to the level of professionals, either civic or business. Your average small town government and its infrastructure departments would run circles around the buffoons who run Burning Man.

  4. I know you all love the Burner community. But at a certain point, you should realize that your continued participation in the Nevada burn is de facto cooperation with the corporation that does this to your fellow Burners – your participation is tacit approval of BMorg’s tactics.

    My last straw with the Nevada burn came many years ago, and it was extremely difficult decision after investing 10 years of my life within the community surrounding the event. I lost many friends as a result of ending my participation. You will too, sadly. But what is that compared to maintaining the integrity of your own personal principles?

  5. Larry’s best mate, of many decades, priorly commented upon the ‘Back On the Day’ post, utilizing the name ‘Just for the Record’, of which, I am of the belief of his comment being the official BMOrg position upon this issue, coordinated with Larry, and of others. Kudos to the BMOrg for changing the amount of cash from $40,000 to $2,000, it was honourable, of them, to do so. In addendum, kudos to ‘Just for the Record’ upon his numerous years of labours for Burning Man, and of building the Man:
    emphasis added


    This whole battle over copyrighting the name is not hard to call. If it was in the public domain, it would no doubt be exploited by anyone that wanted to make a buck or two by plastering the name on their product; a baseball cap to girls gone wild videos. I totally get the desire to protect the name and think its a good thing. I don’t buy into the idea that the copyright is used to exploit those who feel motivated to participate/contribute. I also don’t believe it thwarts the culture, you can say your event is like, inspired by or even predates burning man, you just can’t call it that.

    BurnBC is fine, burningmanBC, sounds affiliated to me, guess it wasn’t, by both parties anyways… sorry it came down to using lawyers and the legal system to come to an understanding… though I don’t believe they are really planning on collecting on this debt incurred. If he’d made the change when they requested it… oh well… guess thats what money is for… end rambling… way too much ballyhoo on all of this already here…bla…

    …It’s one thing to request or start a petition for putting the name in the public domain and another to attempt to force it… I think that’s what happened here…?’

    At the present time, it is down to the points of the arguements, of both sides, as it should be.

    Now, might the troll, whom presented this query, in actually read your responses, burnersxxx, in a fair manner, in place of solely stating of what he desires to believe …

Leave a Reply