Posts in cameras

August 17th, 2012  |  Filed under News, Photos/Videos/Media, Preparation

What’s That? A PUA You Say?

Photo by Karie Henderson, 2002

Burning Man was built on freedom of expression, and participants shouldn’t have to worry that photos or videos of their on-playa activities might appear online (or elsewhere) without their permission.

Going way back (pre-2000), Burning Man has requested that participants intending to record video on playa sign a Personal Use Agreement (PUA) to protect participants’ privacy in Black Rock City. In fact, it was this policy that allowed us to stop Voyeur Video from broadcasting illicit videos they’d recorded of unwitting Burning Man participants in 2002.

Burning Man’s photo policy is spelled out in the online terms and conditions applicable to all tickets: any participant is free to disseminate photos for personal use only, and cannot use them for any other purpose without the written permission of Burning Man.  The PUA simply provides another mechanism to make participants aware of the limitations on photo use, and the distribution of the PUA at Playa Info also assists in this process.

Of course, technology is evolving quickly. Back when video cameras were big and bulky and rare, we asked that each be tagged so people could identify the person taking their picture. Flash forward to 2012, and now just about everybody has a video camera on their person in the form of a smart phone or handheld video camera — so while collecting PUAs has become more logistically challenging, protecting the privacy of our participants is more important than ever. Read more »

January 14th, 2011  |  Filed under Digital Rights

Updated Terms and Conditions for 2011

artistry meets artistry (image by Brad Hetland)

artistry meets artistry (image by Brad Hetland)

[This post is part of our ongoing Digital Rights blog series.]

January 19th is the big day — tickets go on sale for Burning Man 2011, Rites of Passage!

As you take your place in the electronic queue and wait your turn to click for your ticket to paradise, we invite you to pay special attention to something you might otherwise not notice: Burning Man, after spending much of 2010 working with volunteers from Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has updated our Terms and Conditions relating to the use of cameras at the event.

The Terms and Conditions is the standard ration of legal language that governs the agreement between you and event organizers when you use your ticket to Burning Man. The language about image use was the subject of much discussion back in 2009, when the EFF first took Burning Man to task over the language restricting image use contained in the T&C. (If you haven’t yet seen our original response to that blog post, it’s worth reading too.) The EFF – and you – talked, and since we already knew that the time for evolution had come, we listened.

In our subsequent meetings with photographers, filmmakers, participants, the EFF and Creative Commons, and other interested minds, it became clear that the time was ripe to update the Terms and Conditions — not only to update existing policies regarding the personal use of imagery online (specifically accommodating uses like Facebook, photo sharing apps, and the like) but to actually make the language more “human readable” and better describe why Burning Man is such an unusual zone for photography in the first place.

Read more »

July 13th, 2010  |  Filed under Digital Rights

Photography Without Consent: A View From Inside The Ride

[Carolyn Ellis, aka Kali, rode in the Critical Tits Ride for several years before becoming one of the principle organizers of this storied Burning Man tradition. This post is part of the Digital Rights Blog Series.]

I care deeply about camera and privacy issues on the playa.  This has not always been the case.  My first Critical Tits Ride changed all of that – no woman who enters that ride with any degree of vulnerability comes out the other end unaware of the cameras and their misuse.  To ride is to experience, and witness first hand, the cost of photography without consent.

Critical Tits Ride, 2005 (Photo by Cameragirl)

Critical Tits Ride, 2005 (Photo by Cameragirl)

To understand the harm inflicted, you must step inside the body of a woman riding topless and attempt to feel how vulnerable and courageous an act that truly is, even at Burning Man.  My greatest wish, for all who ride, is that they would be witnessed with nothing less than compassion and respect.  As a rider and now member of the CT Crew, I would like to offer a perspective from the “composition material” – those who inhabit the images taken, the riders themselves. Join me, if you would, for a perspective from inside the ride. . . .

It feels fabulous, and I mean fabulous, as a woman to ride topless on my bike!!!  No man can ever understand the freedom of a topless bike ride in a female body.  I was slipping free of the ‘rules’ of my family, culture and government – so well programmed that I thought they were my own.  A collective oppressive cloak was sliding off of my body and being powdered into playa dust by all those goddesses on bikes.  It felt so good and free.  An adventure like this would land me in jail in the default world!!  Here at BRC, it was a lyrical day on a bike.

Read more »

May 12th, 2010  |  Filed under Digital Rights

Cameras at Burning Man: Policies for the digital age

Burning Man is trying to  figure out how to respond to the revolution in digital photography.

Old timers will tell you that cameras weren’t much in evidence in the early years of the event. But now you can’t help but see cameras everywhere on the playa –  from cellphones and point-and-shoots to expensive and sophisticated digital recording equipment that produces everything from stunningly artistic imagery to high-res but low-rent voyeuristic crap.

And the places that those pictures wind up is changing, too. Burning Man has always said it was fine to share your pictures among your friends and family. But what are friends and family these days, when you might have 1,000 “friends” on Facebook, or thousands of visitors to your Flickr or YouTube sites?

What happens to the privacy rights of, say, a schoolteacher who enjoys the freedom and empowerment of the Critical Tits bike ride? Should she have to worry when she gets back from the desert that her picture will be easy to find on the internet?

Last week, the organization gathered photographers, videographers, artists, event leaders, legal experts, technologists and just plain good thinkers to explore the ramifications of the digital revolution. Are Burning Man’s policies and procedures still up to the task of protecting privacy, preventing commercialization while still  nurturing the creative image-making process?

The discussions were heartfelt, impassioned, informed and on the whole amazingly constructive.
Much more work remains to be done, and a team of people, including the communications department and legal team, are charged with turning the talk into action items.

Here is some of what was said, plus, if you’ll forgive the intrusion, a little of what I think:

Read more »

March 22nd, 2005  |  Filed under Participate!

2005 Spring Volunteer Recruitment Town Meeting & Pot Luck: April 2nd

Burning Man departments will be recruiting volunteers at Burning Man’s Annual Spring Volunteer Recruitment Town Meeting and Pot Luck:

April 2nd at the Swedish American Hall above Cafe DuNord, 2174 Market Street (at 15th Street) from noon to 3 pm.

Swedish American Hall Website

Swedish American Hall Location Map

Plan your bus trip to the Volunteer Recruitment/Town Meeting.

This is an indoor event, no outside BBQ as in the past, but you are encouraged to support your burner community by donating a pot-luck dish, snacks, or drinks to share.

Limited metered street parking. Please use SF Muni (and BART) access via the historic Muni F line.

This just in:
Tickets for sale at Town Meeting: Do you have your Burning Man ticket yet?! If not the Town Meeting is the place to get yours. Tickets will be on sale throughout the town meeting. CASH SALES ONLY! Please come prepared – we will not be able to accept any other forms of payment at this venue.

Join the over 3,000 volunteers who make Burning Man happen: here’s what we’re looking for:

Airport: Construction, decorating, painting, miscellaneous general labor. Construction and setup. Customs Agents to run the Airport gate and box office Airplane Parking Lot Attendants; performance artists.

ARTery: Meet, greet and register artists, help with our daily art tours, assist with the placement of art using GPS.

Black Rock Rangers: Dirt Rangers:  Qualifications: A great sense of humor; Patience, patience, and more patience; Generosity and sympathy; An easy-going attitude; Creative problem-solving abilities; Mediation skills; At least one year attendance at the Burning Man event. Echelon Rangers: Description/skillset needed: Folks with good organizational skills, patience, computer usage skills.

Box Office: If working in our super cool, air conditioned location by the front gate, and being the first person to say hello to participants as they arrive on the playa sounds like fun to you, join the box office team! Our shifts are short and sweet, our job important and fun, and we would love to have you join us!

Center Camp Café: Lighting:  lighting designers, electricians. Décor: artists, creative-thinkers, sewers, glue-gunners, carpenters, metal-welders, painters, fabricators, and furniture-movers. Performance:: a few rockin’ people to help pull together some great performances. Sound:  stage building & wiring for sound, work sound board, manage stage.

Lamplighters: Lighting the major boulevards of BRC every night, without fail. We welcome virgin and seasoned burners alike. You don’t have to camp in our village to Lamplight. One thing is certain though.  We can’t do it without YOU.

Greeters: First Contact between participants and the denizens of Black Rock City. Armed with wit, wisdom and infectious exuberance, the Greeters take advantage of this opportunity by becoming skilled information providers conducting helpful, on-the-fly workshops to carloads of people.

Department of Public Works (DPW): Clean Up MOOPers, Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Riggers, Welders, Certified propane and liquid fuel transporters and handlers, 2-way Radio Operators/Dispatch Operators.

DMV: Bureaucrats are HOT! Join the DMV hotties and help license the vehicles that populate the playa with beautiful and interesting mobile art.

Earth Guardians: Communicate Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and practices to theme camps and artists and the larger Burning Man community, participate in Black Rock desert restoration and education activities.

Emergency Services Department (ESD): Fire Fighters, Medical Professionals, EMS Professionals, Mental Health Professionals, Dispatchers, Communications Technicians, Logistics Managers, Emergency Managers.

Exodus: Instead of spending time sitting in line trying to get off the playa, volunteer with Exodus and help make others trip out more pleasant. Come to our table and see how you can get involved with thisfun crew.

Gate Staff and Perimeter: directing traffic, tearing tickets, vehicle searches, perimeter patrols for fence crashers outside our city.

Playa Info: Oracles:  Helping people by answering questions while relaxing in the shade. Directory: Theme and personal camp registration. Inputting data to update the new arrivals and locations of personal campsites. Helping people find their friends, family, lovers or theme.

Recycle Camp: Carpenters, experienced domes builders, collecting, crushing and bagging the cans and “Recycle Camp Evangelicals”.

Technology and Web Teams: Network engineers, system administrators, python programmers, Zope/Plone developers, HTML coders, CSS wizards, database jockeys, web scripters, graphic designers, information architects, project managers, writers, content editors, image jockeys, and and user experience gurus.

This is your opportunity to meet the behind-the-scenes superstars who make Burning Man happen, and to become one yourself! As you may know, Burning Man is a volunteer-driven event, with over 3,000 participants pitching in to make the event happen.

Meet the project managers and volunteer coordinators who bring it all together. Ask questions and sign up to learn more, or to jump right in! From building our city with the DPW on the Black Rock Desert playa, riding the “edge of chaos” with the Rangers, greeting new arrivals, supporting art at the Artery, to SF office and technical help, lamp lighting, fielding questions at Playa Info, or erasing any trace after the event, there are many opportunities to fully participate in the Burning Man project. It’s a great way to meet people, and to feel more connected to the “burner” community. This meeting is open to the public. Check it out!

Learn more about volunteering for Burning Man.

Visit the Town Meeting Archive for photos and/or audio of past town hall meetings. To stay up to date other Burning Man events, make sure to join the Jack Rabbit Speaks Internet newsletter for happenings and news leading up to the big event.

January 9th, 2005  |  Filed under News

Your Feedback, Our Ears And Eyes

Many thanks to everyone who sent comments to feedback(at)burningman(dot)com! We have received over 100 responses from participants. The Board Members, Senior Staff, various other production staff members and volunteers have read these emails and forwarded many to the appropriate Departments. We are in the planning stages for 2005 and are considering the great suggestions.

Because of the overwhelming number of responses, we cannot reply directly to everyone. Depending on the nature of the feedback, some participants may receive a direct response. Because, many comments touched upon similar issues, we are able to address these issues generally below.

DMV Registration
Many folks commented on the DMV registration process and related safety issues. First, the organization would like to apologize for any inconvenience that participants experienced this year. Second, please rest assured that the DMV registration process will begin earlier and the DMV department will be modified to reflect the needs of the mutant vehicle community and all other participants in 2005.

Acculturation of Newcomers
Yes, there were a large number of newcomers in 2004. As a result the event experienced some serious challenges, such as trash in the porta-potties, and some reported a dilution of the sense of community experienced by seasoned Burners. Some people perceived less evidence of unique self-expression, such as large scale art and costumes. We are in the process of discussing the numerous solutions that many of you proposed. We are considering many changes in an attempt to acculturate newcomers in 2005 and we will be asking for your support. In the meantime it is important to remember that we were all newcomers to Black Rock City once. It takes time to learn how to be a responsible participant at Burning Man. If many of this year’s newcomers return in 2005, they will come as veterans with a year’s worth of planning and inspiration under their belts.

Art
Several participants perceived less art on the playa this year. Inclement weather prevented some artists from completing their work and there were a few no-shows. Burning Man has already begun to address this issue. A proposal for more funding by our organization is in the works for 2005. Stay tuned.

Fall Town Meeting
It is our feeling that the annual Fall Town Meeting is no longer meeting its intended purpose. Accordingly, we received several emails with suggestions on how to reinvent this forum. Before discussing this further, a background of this meeting is given below.

Initially in 1997, Burning Man created the Fall Town Meeting to address some heavy issues that the organization was facing. In 1998 the same forum was used as a very successful way of exchanging ideas and recruiting volunteers. Out of it, the Spring Town meeting was created as a volunteer recruitment event and the fall Town Meeting was reserved for discussion and feedback. The Spring meeting has flourished, but the Fall meeting has served only a smaller group of Bay Area participants.

Burning Man staff decided it was time to reexamine the purpose and format of the Fall Town Meeting. The following issues surfaced:

  1. The core Burning Man community is no longer restricted to the Bay Area; but rather, is global.
  2. Many of the same basic questions and concerns are raised at the Fall Town Meeting repeatedly every year, so it yields little in the way of new information.

In order to address these issues, we solicited feedback from participants. After reviewing the suggestions, we have decided that the Fall Town Meeting is no longer automatically warranted each year. The need for this meeting will be evaluated on an annual basis. Should the meeting be held, it will be done in a way to involve the community as broadly as possible. This could likely include pre-event outreach as to the purpose, and a webcast or teleconference for remote participation.

In lieu of the meeting, the Burning Man organization has set up several feedback mechanisms for all participants to utilize in expressing ideas and feedback. The first of these is the feedback(at)burningman(dot)com email. This year the feedback email address remained active until December 31, 2004. Next year the feedback email will go live immediately after Burning Man 2005, and stay active through December 1, 2005.

Additionally, next year there will be a “Feedback on 2005″ topic on the Eplaya (Burning Man’s BBS) where participants can not only provide feedback, but also, have a dialogue with staff and other participants.

Furthermore, Burning Man staff members are interested in meeting with participants and hearing their thoughts in person during their increasing number of trips to meet with Regional groups year round. We are currently working with Regional groups and will continue to do so to set up meetings with participants when Board or Senior Staff members travel. If you would like to find out more about our regional groups please visit http://regionals.burningman.com.

January 29th, 2004  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Supports Local Community Service Organizations

Black Rock City, LLC Donates Funds & Technology to the Northern Nevada Community

January 29, 2004 Reno, Nevada. – Black Rock City LLC, the organization that hosts the annual Burning Man event, has donated more than $32,750 in proceeds from ice sales at the 2003 event to community service organizations in Northern Nevada. “We are pleased to say that this year we are donating more funds than in prior years—and to more organizations,” said Marian Goodell, Director of Business & Communications.

“Donating proceeds from ice sales to local organizations is in line with Burning Man’s principles of fostering community and supporting the arts without turning to corporate sponsorship” said Larry Harvey, Founder and Executive Director of Burning Man. “Ice sales allow participants to sustain themselves in the desert for the week long event without burdening the local roads with trips into town. Moreover, local community service and artistic organizations benefit from the proceeds.”

This year Black Rock City, LLC is making donations to Friends of the Black Rock, Reno Crisis Center, Nevada Museum of Art, Nevada Outdoor School, Gerlach Medical Clinic, Gerlach High School, Greater Gerlach Improvement District (GGID), Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department, Gerlach Senior Citizens, Empire 4-H Club, Pershing County Chamber of Commerce, Pershing County School System and Lovelock Lion’s Club. Additionally, Black Rock City, LLC will be providing unlimited wireless Internet access for Gerlach residents in the near future.

For thirteen years, the Black Rock Desert outside of Reno, Nevada, has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man event. The annual art event, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, has grown to attract more than 30,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-two countries worldwide. Based on corporate accounting and participant survey data, the organization estimates that it contributes $10 million annually to Washoe County, including real estate taxes, vehicle and equipment rental, and the money that its participants spend on groceries, supplies and lodging on the way to and from the event. The organization also contributed over $600,000 in 2003 to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for land use of the area where the event is held.

For more information please contact:
Ray Allen, Executive Project Manager
Black Rock City, LLC
(415) 865-3800, ext. 137

ray(at)burningman(dot)com

June 12th, 2003  |  Filed under News

Permits in Washoe County

We’ve been walking on air since the meeting on June 10 at the Washoe County Commissioners’ chambers. (See “Burning Man Files Suit Against Washoe County, 06.06.03, below.) More than sixty Burners showed up and shared their heartfelt, articulate, passionate, and convincing thoughts for more than two hours on why the Commissioners should reconsider their decision to uphold the appeal that put a halt to our permitting plans for the work ranch. In fact, everyone was so convincing that two of the Commissioners who voted against us at the May 13 meeting, Jim Shaw and Jim Galloway, both accepted our challenge and agreed to come and tour the Ranch .

We’re confident they’ll make an informed decision and agree to support our permits. And, they’ll have that chance on June 24, since the issue has been put back on their meeting agenda for that day. (More to come on meeting details and how you can participate) Our thanks to the more than 250 of you who sent an unprecedented number of letters to the Editors of the Reno Gazette Journal supporting Burning Man’s rights to use our property. No more letters to the editor are needed – they have heard our message loud and clear! Thanks, too, to everyone who showed up at the meeting! Stay tuned for the next installments.

Check out these related news items:

Reno Gazette Journal
Reno Gazette Journal Editorial
KOLO TV channel 8
KRNV TV channel 4

KTVN TV channel 2