Attribution Paradox

There’s an all-staff mandate issued for the Burning Man event to police default-world intellectual property violations. Clearly, they protect and meter the use of the Burning Man trademark at all levels. They also police the use of copyrighted material at the main event and other sanctioned events.

The impact of this extends most directly to any stage hosted by the Organization, such as center camp, as well as any venue that requires permission to exist, such as theme camps. Performance artists in music and spoken word, for example, are banned from performing anything but their own material. This means cover songs are illegal, as are any renderings of favorite spoken word performances of other artists, even with attribution (giving credit to the content originator).

As a general policy, this makes sense given the artistic roots, codependency, and appreciation for creatives that is probably the most pervasive element of Burning Man culture. But this policy is nuked when the Organization decides it should adopt something that a creator brought to an event.