Burning Man Responds To John Law Complaint

On January 9, 2007, LaughingSquid.com announced that John Law, one of the original three co-founders of Burning Man, has filed suit against his former partners Larry Harvey and Michael Michael over the ownership of the Burning Man name, image, and likeness. (link: click here)

Maid Marian responds:

On behalf of the volunteers, staff, and board of Black Rock City, I wanted to comment on the lawsuit filed by John Law regarding the Burning Man name, image, and likeness.

First, about this suit. The issue is a legal disagreement between people who’ve known each other a long time, and it will get resolved.

Secondly, about the event. We’ve gotten questions from a number of participants asking “Is this the end of the event?” The answer is “No”. We are moving full steam ahead for Burning Man 2007, and we will be back in the Black Rock Desert this August — count on it.

Finally, about the idea raised in the lawsuit of putting the Burning Man name and image in the public domain. While the concept is interesting, the reality is that we’ve been fighting attempts by corporations to exploit the Burning Man name almost since the first day we set foot on the playa. Making Burning Man freely available to individuals who would only use it to make money would go against everything all of us have worked for over the years. We will not let that happen.

We’ve created a desert oasis free of corporate sponsorship and marketing, a place where interactions aren’t intermediated by commerce. More than that, we’ve created a global community of people who share values of radical self-reliance, self expression, and civic responsibility. Burning Man is more than a place or an event, it is an idea. That idea is worth protecting, preserving and defending, and that’s what we’ll continue to do while we work out this disagreement.

Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing you at the 2007 event.

-Marian Goodell
Director of Communications
Black Rock City, LLC [para_end]

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

One comment on “Burning Man Responds To John Law Complaint

  • al says:

    Here’s our request letter (tuned up my way) with some illustrative attachments. Please feel free to forward this collection of photos with your invitations.

    Please forward to your friends / family you feel may be interested in camping with us. Thank you!

    Hello Friends,

    We’re delighted to extend an invitation to be part of Troy, the physical and cultural home of the Trojan Horse Project for Burning Man 2011. You are receiving this email through your connection with the team of collaborators affiliated with the project, and talk of supporting it in one way or another.

    Please take a moment to review our camp dues structure, payment timeline, and invitation below. Please pass along to those interested.
    If it’s you – fill out this questionnaire to secure your space at Troy – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FQYLWGL. This is a limited opportunity, and there’s much to be done, so confirmed participation is neccessry

    Don’t delay!

    Can’t wait to see you on the Playa.

    We love you!

    ESTIMATED DUES (Per Guest)

    $ 5,000 Benefactor Private party in the Horse, Best views in camp, Private decks, Condo unit, King-size toilet (cleaned daily), Hot showers, Meal plan, Water, Booze, Common shelter
    $ 1,200 Deluxe Private condo unit, Toilets (cleaned daily), Hot showers, Meal plan, Water, Common sheltered area, Camp space
    $ 900 Deluxe Duo Shared condo unit, Toilets (cleaned daily), Hot showers, Meal plan, Water, Common sheltered area, Camp space
    $ 800 Standard Toilets (cleaned daily), Hot showers, Meal plan, Water, Common sheltered area,
    $ 400 Basic Camp space, Common sheltered area, Water

    NOTE: All dues paid in USD are eligible for tax receipts.


    July 15 – Invitation to friends and family
    July 22 – Invitation to Trojan Horse volunteer list
    July 29 – Down-payment (50% of total dues)
    August 5 – Total dues


    2011 promises to be a banner year at Burning Man. Due to the level of art and participation already promised, and the Bureau of Land Management’s unwillingness to lease the Burning Man Organization any additional space, for the first time ever, this event is expected to SELL OUT. Having already announced the elimination of ticket sales at the gate, and closing all walk-in outlets for purchasing, it is clear to us this year will be comprised of the willing… Requiring a community of committed citizens who have planned their trip in advance has some wonderful advantages for our collective experience. In short, it’s going to go off!

    In the spirit of the Greeks, we at Trojan Horse Headquarters have devised a way to help you enjoy a supreme Playa experience, while ensuring the Trojan Horse is fully realized. As with all things at Burning Man, this is a not-for profit experience. Your participation in Troy Camp is a way to collectively pool our human resources, and reasonable expenses for a (plush) week in the desert – so we can all enjoy the extracurriculars without worrying about cooking a meal, or when to sponge bath.

    Our core team has 10+ years of playa experience, and has collectively housed over 1,000 people in the course of our history, in relative luxury in Black Rock City. You want:

    Hot showers? (for standard+ campers)
    Running water to wash your hands and face?
    Meal plans – 3 per day, one hot? (for standard+ campers)
    View decks?
    Sheltered and community gathering spaces?
    High-rise condo sleeping accommodations? (for deluxe or benefactors)
    Views views views?


    This year, please consider letting us show you the softer side of Black Rock City, and check your cares at the gate. Our gift is creating a community where your needs will be met — with style. Our crew of engineers, architects, interior designers and builders is gifting to the Trojan Horse our services towards the infrastructure of a camp for all of its residents.

    Consider what it typically costs to shelter yourself at Burning Man for the week. Then add a premium for all the services we are offering, unique to any other camp, not to mention the friendships and community you’ll foster. Think of the investment in trucks, pump systems, showers, generators, refrigeration, evaporation ponds, lighting, building materials, shade cloth, carpets, sound systems, chandeliers, etc.

    While we’ve raised enough funds from our community to purchase wood, tools, insurance and leased space to build the Horse, there are still many attributes of this interactive art installation that require funding. We hope our gift of a comfortable residential community is a place you choose to be a part of.

    We understand you have a lot of choices with your experience — and we think after 10 years, we’ve come up with a fantastic place for you to call home. We hope you’ll join us, and your dues can be counted on to help bring our Horse to life.

    Support the Trojan Horse — by camping at Troy in 2011.


    PS – We’ve been placed at 5:00 and Birthday


    The Trojan Horse is coming alive!
    Find latest updates on: http://www.trojanhorse2011.com/updates
    Become a fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/trojanhorse2011
    Give donations today

    Douglas Bevans
    Art Director, Trojan Horse Project

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