photo by George Post (Burning Man 1991)
John Law, one of the original three owners of the Burning Man event, contacted me to let me know that he is just filed suit against his two Burning Man partners Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel, after Michael initiated his own legal proceedings and demand for arbitration. In 1997 Paper Man LLC was formed between the three original owners in order to own and control the name and service mark “Burning Man”, which is at the center of this dispute.
This is a statement from John Law regarding this lawsuit from his blog, which he recently launched in order to have a public voice regarding this issue.
Here is a PDF of Michael Mikel’s demand for arbitration.
Full Disclosure: John Law is one of Laughing Squid’s business partners and a close personal friend, but that relationship is independent of his legal involvement in Burning Man. I met John in 1995 through the San Francisco Cacophony Society and in 1999 he was involved in the formation of Laughing Squid LLC (Laughing Squid’s current business structure) along our third partner David Klass. I’m a big supporter of Burning Man. I attended the event for 8 straight years (1995-2002) and I plan on returning again in the future. The bottom line is that I am staying neutral on this issue. I’m good friends with the three people involved and hope they find a amicable resolution to this situation.
Here’s the original Burning Man service mark that was owned by Larry Harvey, John Law, and Michael Mikel. It was registered on September 12, 1995, canceled on July 20, 2002 and then later assigned to Paper Man LLC in 1997.
Here’s the current Burning Man service mark that was assigned to Paper Man, LLC in 1997, allowed to expire, and registered again to Paper Man, LLC on February 10, 2004.
For more background on John Law’s involvement with Burning Man, check out Brian Doherty’s excellent book “This Is Burning Man”. It provides some great insight on what really went down during the volatile 1996 event and it’s aftermath, which lead to John leaving the organization.
Coverage & Discussion
“Does Burning Man Belong to Everyone?” (John Law)
“Legal battle between Burning Man founders”
(Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing)
“News Flash: BM Founder John Law sues Burning Man” (Tim, Tribe)
“John Law Sues His Former Burning Man Partners”
(Isotopia, Burning Man ePlaya)
“A Fable” (John Law)
“Burning Man’s dirty laundry gets an airing”
(Daniel Terdiman, CNET News.com)
“Burning Man co-founder sues to put name, logo in public domain”
(Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press)
“A Hot Court Fight” (Dan Mangan, New York Post)
“Suit sparks debate over Burning Man” (Mary Anne Ostrom, Mercury News)
“Burning Man Responds to John Law Complaint”
(Marian Goodell, Burning Man)
“BM responses to Law suit” (Jim Graham, Tribe)
“Burning Man’s copyright Nazis” (Paul Boutin, Valleywag)
“Onward” (John Law)
“It’s so empty, itâ€™s full” (Kevin Evans, Tribe)
“John Law Sues Burning Man!!!” (Danger Angel)
“The Smoking Gun” (John Law)
“Heart Burn” (Jessica Bennett, Newsweek)
“Burning Man Belongs to the People, Man” (Brian Doherty, Reason Magazine)
“Burning brand” (Steven T. Jones, San Francisco Bay Guardian)
“John Law speaks” (MetaFilter)
“Burnt Man” (Matt Smith, San Francisco Weekly)
“Burning Man dispute heats up with suit” (Meredith May, San Francisco Chronicle)
“The Burning Man trademark controversy” (Chris Messina, FactoryCity)
“Trademarking a Brand Name to Douse Burning Man?” (William Lozito, Strategic Name Development)
UPDATE 1: There’s a really good comment thread developing on John’s initial blog post. It’s a great place for feedback if you have any for him.
UPDATE 2: Andie “Actiongrl” Grace responded on behalf of Burning Man on the Tribe thread.
UPDATE 3: John has updated his blog with a second post that addresses some of the questions being asked about this case.
UPDATE 4: The story has hit the AP Wire.
UPDATE 5: Marian Goodell, Director of Communications for Burning Man, has posted
an official response to John Law’s complaint.
UPDATE 7: John Law’s attorney I. Braun Degenshein is quoted in the New York Post article.
UPDATE 8: There is a humorous thread on Tribe where people are suggesting alternate names for Burning Man.
UPDATE 9: Kevin Evans made a great post on Tribe that gives a really good historical insight into how Burning Man moved from Baker Beach in San Francisco to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, as well as how “art” became one of the primary focuses of the event. Over the years I’ve often told people about Kevin’s significant contributions to the desert beginnings of Burning Man and now it is great to finally see it in his own words.
UPDATE 11: Newsweek has published “Heart Burn” an article by Jessica Bennett about the “Burning Man” name dispute and lawsuit. In the article she interviews Brian Doherty, senior editor of Reason Magazine and author of “This Is Burning Man”. On the same day the San Francisco Bay Guardian published an article, “Burning brand” by Steven Jones.
UPDATE 13: Chris Messina weighs in with an excellent analysis of the “The Burning Man trademark controversy”.
Steve Jobs announced the new, highly anticipated Apple iPhone during his keynote this morning at Macworld 2007. It’s a touch controlled smart phone, combined with widescreen iPod (music, video & photos) and it is wi-fi enabled, running Mac OS X. The carrier is Cingular and they will start shipping it in June.
What can I say, that is one badass phone.
iPhone combines three products â€” a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, maps, and searching â€” into one small and lightweight handheld device. iPhone also introduces an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting you control everything with just your fingers. So it ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, completely redefining what you can do on a mobile phone.
UPDATE 2: A video of the iPhone introduction during the keynote is now available on Apple’s website.
Here’s more great live keynote coverage from MacRumors.
Jobs made the following announcements:
UPDATE: A video of the keynote is now available on Apple’s website.
These images were just sent to us by Chuck Cirino over at UFO ART in response to the recent sightings of UFO’s over O’Hare Airport. ufoart.net is one of the many side projects that Chuck works on in addition to Weird America and Weird TV.
Whether you are a believer or a skeptic you must agree that UFOs have become a major part of our planets cultural vibration. These photo real works are a result of my dreams and hopes that friendly extraterrestrials will contact us soon and bless Earth with their advanced knowledge and peaceful social sensibilities. When these lucid artworks are framed and hung on your favorite wall or workspace you may feel the same positive resonance I felt when creating them.
– Chuck Cirino
Something tells me that the recently launched “You Park Like An Asshole” website is going to receive quite a few submissions from San Francisco, especially in the “SUV in a compact spot” category. Of course here we also need a “You Drive Like An Asshole” website, but I’m sure that project is already in the works.
Sick of a car taking up two spaces on the street? How about a car too close to yours? What about the car at the mall parked diagonally? Now you can do something about it. Simply download a notice and place it on the car’s windshield. The owner of the vehicle will be informed of their asshole status as well as the proper tips to improve their poor parking techniques. It’s time to put an end to asshole parking, or at least to make fun of it.
They even have a nice parking notice PDF that you can print out and leave with the next obnoxious parker you encounter.