Burning Man family squabble


By Steven T. Jones
The Burning Man world has been roiled by a legal fight among its three founders: Larry Harvey, Michael Mikel, and John Law -- the latter of whom left this event in 1996 but this week filed a lawsuit seeking millions in compensation and/or the placing of Burning Man's name, logos, and associated trademarks in the public domain. Laughing Squid broke the story yesterday and has lots of great links to Law's suit and the discussion threads on Tribe and Law's blog. You can also find M2's lawsuit, which was a precursor to the current fight, here.
(although you might need to go here first to get the plug-in).
I've been talking to all the principles today and will write about this in our next print issue, so I'll reserve comment for now. But suffice it to say this is a fascinating story that illuminates the roots of Burning Man and could have a major impact on its future. While some have cheered Law's suggestion that "Burning Man belongs to everyone" and that placing it in the public domain returns it to the people, the reality is that it could lead to the commercial exploitation of the event by any heinous corporation that wanted a little counterculture cache.
BTW, tickets for this year's event, with its hopeful Green Man theme, go on sale next Wednesday. See you in the long cyberline.