Burning Man Belongs to the People, Man


Those of you hip-deep in the world of Burning Man might already be aware that one of the event's early driving forces, John Law, last week filed a lawsuit against the two fellow owners of the Burning Man trademark, Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel.

Law insists his ultimate goal in the suit (which specifically argues that he has been defrauded of his own 1/3 share of the trademark's value over the years since he left the active management of the event in 1996) is to get the trademark out of his hands and those of the other already-feuding pair who helped turn the event from a beach burn to a huge desert festival–Mikel and Harvey were already heading to arbitration in a previous legal battle over compensation from Burning Man as an active institution to Paper Man, the LLC consisting of Law, Harvey, and Mikel that owns the trademark–and into the public domain.

This post from Laughing Squid.com has the best set of links to all the relevant legal documents and subsequent online brouhaha over whether or not the spirit of Burning Man can survive the public domain. John Law's own blog explaining himself here .

Newsweek's Jessica Bennett interviewed me last week for my thoughts on the lawsuit and the state of the Man–and here's their edited transcript of the conversation.

The background and issues are long and complicated, and for the whole decades-long saga and detailed reportage on the personalities involved, consult my 2004 book This is Burning Man, now out in paperback from BenBella Books.