Picture: Campfire Detail, Somewhere in Oregon
Every year the Burning Man event is held in the Nevada desert. Every year I want to attend. Every year I read their policy and restrictions regarding photography taken on-site. Every year I think, “What a bunch of hypocrites.” Every year, I’ve chosen not to go for that reason.
“Written permission is required to use any image from the event commercially or publicly; no public use of any image may be made without this written consent.”
Finally, the organizers of the event have put out a call for community feedback regarding their oppressive photography policy. Below is a copy of the e-mail I sent:
To whom it may concern:
For many years I have wanted to attend the Burning Man Event in the Nevada desert. The only thing that has ever stopped me has been the far overreaching statement regarding your ownership of any photos taken while at the event.
For an event that prides itself on the representation of a bohemian lifestyle and attitude, your camera policy and terms of restriction regarding the photos used taken at the event seem to be out of sync. The policy, including the wording, sounds so much like large corporation lawyer speak, and business-suited Wall Street executive heavy handedness, has been impossible to reconcile that difference in tone between your policy and the nature of the event.
To put it bluntly, is that difference in tone that smacks of hypocrisy, and has unfortunately kept me from wanting to attend the event where I would specifically want to do creative and editorial photography. I hope you will give due consideration to changing the camera and photography policy, and simply issue an advisory that it is the responsibility of any photographer wishing to sell photos taken at the event to obtain the proper permissions and releases. if you are wishing to protect the symbol of the Burning Man itself as part of your “corporate” identity, you could always add a restriction that any non-editorial commercial use that advertises a product or service must receive prior permission and or license directly from your office.
I think that kind of policy would be a fair representation between your reasonable corporate expectation, and the mindset of the community that you have established.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration, and if you have any questions are welcome to contact me directly.
If you’d like to send in your own thoughts, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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