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Burning Man Responds To EFF's Criticism of Policy 210

Briden writes "Earlier this week, we discussed the EFF's criticism of the Burning Man Photo Policy. Burning Man has now responded at length on their own blog. Here's an excerpt: 'In fact, there are but two essential reasons we maintain these increased controls on behalf of our community: to protect our participants so that images that violate their privacy are not displayed, and to prevent companies from using Burning Man to sell products. We don't remove images from pages just because they criticize us (I've never been involved in taking down an image from an editorial blog criticizing Burning Man, and it's certainly not because there haven't been any!). We're also not at all interested [in] preventing participants from sharing their personal imagery or impressions of the event on third party sharing sites in a noncommercial manner, so long as they observe the concerns about privacy and commercialism. We're delighted to see people sharing videos, stories, and pictures on our official Facebook page, and we know that it, along with Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. are representative of the way many of us share personal imagery in the digital age.'"
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Burning Man Responds To EFF's Criticism of Policy

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  • Re:Public Event (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 15, 2009 @08:54AM (#29075513)

    The previous post answered that. Apparently, there is something over 300 dollars worth of admission fee. This likely is needed now to secure the space for the event, pay for insurance, etc. which means it's no longer a public event, it's a private enterprise. As a private enterprise it's not surprising that they would want to start to control the how images, etc are used. After all, if there is money to be made from images of their event, they would want to be the ones making the money. That's plain human and, further, corporate nature.

  • Re:Public Event (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hizonner ( 38491 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @08:59AM (#29075529)
    1. The people who come to Burning Man are NOT the general public; they're a subculture with completely different attitudes. If your boss happens to actually be at Burning Man, it's pretty unlikely that your boss is the kind of person who will then turn around and decide to fire you for, say, being naked at Burning Man. Same for lots of other people who might give you grief for lots of other things. Yes, it could happen, but it's far, far less likely, and probabilities matter.
    2. You can see who's around you at Burning Man (or in any public place, for that matter), and adjust your behavior accordingly. You can't see who might look at a photograph later.
    3. If you don't happen to notice everybody who's around you in a public place, you expose your activities to the relatively limited number of people who are right there, right then. If you don't happen to notice that a photograph is being taken, that exposes your activities to an unlimited number of people, that number of people can grow in the future, and people can easily pass around a credible record of your activities, rather than just gossiping about them. Again, the probability of harm is much greater.
    4. Burning Man isn't a completely public event, in that the attendees are supposed to agree to certain rules, including privacy rules, which do NOT apply in public places in general.

    I don't necessarily like the BMO's picture policy, because I think it gives them too much arbitrary power. I'm not even sure it's reasonable to try to address these privacy concerns, or similar concerns in similar public or semi-public settings, at all, because it's damned hard to actually have a useful effect without giving somebody too much power. But it's bogus to pretend the concerns don't exist.

  • Re:There's tickets? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @09:11AM (#29075563) Homepage

    I was actually thinking about going to Burning Man this year. It sounds like I already missed the good years.

    There are other festivals that are similar to Burning Man--out in the middle of nowhere and dedicated to radical free expression--but which are still quite unknown. I'm obviously not going to name any, but if you are the sort who is into that sort of thing, you probably have friends who are also into that sort of thing and who know some cool places to attend. Just ask around, enjoy yourself there, and live in the moment without thinking all the time about how you missed Burning Man at its prime.

  • The real reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by __david__ ( 45671 ) * on Saturday August 15, 2009 @09:11AM (#29075567) Homepage

    I remember this coming up a number of years ago when they first put this clause in the ticket sale license. It was discussed to death back then and so it's kind of funny to me that it has suddenly come up again. The (possibly apocryphal) reason that my more in-the-know burner campmates told me way back when:

    The year before a bunch of guys went around with a video camera and tried to release a "Girls of Burning Man" video in the style of "Girls Gone Wild". This was widely viewed as poor form. So the organizers put the clause in specifically to nip that kind of behavior in the bud. They didn't want people (women in particular) to have to worry about unwittingly becoming part of some cheesy softcore porn video.

  • Re:There's tickets? (Score:2, Informative)

    by desmondmonster ( 863068 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:33AM (#29075877) Homepage
    There are serious logistical challenges to building a city in the desert. Organizers must secure permits, hire portapotty cleaners (who come every day), give out art grants, etc, and these things cost serious money. Burning Man isn't spontaneous and people have realized that for 50,000 people to live civilly with each other, there need to be some rules and a modicum of organization. (The "rules," IIRC, are mostly about adhering to the laws of federal park lands, which the playa is.) I've been twice and old timers always say it's not like it used to be...even people who have been there only three times. But they keep going back, because not-what-it-used-to-be is still better than anything-else-that's-going-on.
  • by Civil_Disobedient ( 261825 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:33AM (#29075879)

    I'm obviously not going to name any

    Why not? Don't want to "ruin" a good thing? Bah, says I! I'll name one, then. kaZantip [wikipedia.org] is a somewhat hedonistic music festival held on the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. It's becoming a lot more commercial now (aren't they all?) but it's still a lot of fun if you're into the scene.

    Also, it's filled with beautiful Ukrainian & Russian women that really enjoy their sunbathing.
    Check out the photo gallery for more [kazantip.com].

  • Re:Public Event (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:30AM (#29076147) Homepage Journal

    The Bureau of Land Management would absolutely disagree with you. The Black Rock Desert is public property, through and through. The reason for the hefty fee is for the PERMITS for such an event.

    And I just spent a week going out to various deserts to do meteorite hunting and to watch the Perseids, the Mojave and Black Rock deserts were my first places to go hunting, so I already know the area of which you talk about, as I had to go get a permit for my haul from that desert area from the Bureau of Land Management.

  • by FlyingGuy ( 989135 ) <flyingguy@gmai l . c om> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:33AM (#29076163)

    Such typical responses...

    First of all the photo policy is rarely, if ever used. When it is, it is because some asshole went to the event with primary intent of taking pictures of nude people so they can sell them. That we don't tolerate, period, end of discussion. You don't like it, don't by a ticket.

    Ticket prices? Ever wonder it costs to pay for porta-potties for +-50,000 people and have them serviced twice a day? Go here [burningman.com] and read the afterburn reports, they contain a full accounting of what it costs to put this event on. Give you a hint, it is over 1 million dollars just so people can take a shit.

    And yes, I attended the even for 5 years running, and I worked for the event, so yes I know of what I speak.

  • Re:There's tickets? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 15, 2009 @12:22PM (#29076451)

    Yea well, 20,000 people spontaneously shitting in the same place without porta-potties presents certain logistical problems but I'm sure you have the answer to that.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine