Burning Man is a private event held on public land. As a participant or member of the media, you must be aware of your rights and responsibilities. Burning Man is committed to preserving the uniquely creative and noncommercial character of its culture. To that end, we ask all participants, including members of the media, to exercise and respect certain rights and responsibilities. Below you will find the following important information:
- Personal vs. Professional Use
- Photo & Video Rights and Responsibilities
- Professional Media Use Rights and Responsibilities
- BLM Commercial Filming Policy
- Media & Press FAQ
For any media-related questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Burning Man, you don’t have to be getting paid to be a Pro. “Professional Use Media” is used to describe pretty much any media project that is intended for public distribution.
Personal Use Media:
Burners are welcomed to use photos, videos, and audio recordings obtained at the event for their personal use, which includes:
- Sharing with your friends and personal social media networks.
- Displaying on personal websites—as long as the websites do not sell any products or services, and do not pretend or appear to be an official Burning Man website.
- Posting to your personal accounts on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr—as long as the posts aren’t commercial in any manner and the accounts aren’t used for purposeful promotion. You may not directly monetize any media through paywalls or advertisements.
Even if your images and videos are for Personal Use, you must read, understand, and follow the Photo & Video Rights and Responsibilities. Every burner with a camera has a responsibility to be respectful to the community and its members!
Professional Use Media:
If you wish to use any photo, video, or audio from the event for any non-personal use, you must apply as Professional Use Media for the Burning Man event. We require this registration process to protect the privacy and other rights of participants and to prevent commercial exploitation of Burning Man.
Non-personal use includes:
- Publishing photos in a printed or online book, magazine, or newspaper.
- Using footage in a professional quality video.
- Displaying images on a non-personal website or in a gallery show.
- Using imagery in a documentary or TV show.
- Distributing media to any third-party group or publication. This includes offering photos for publication, or making any commercial or promotional use of event media.
A general rule of thumb for whether a use is non-personal: Is the event imagery being used for financial gain, OR being widely distributed beyond your personal network of friends and family? If either of these is true, please apply as Professional Use Media by contacting email@example.com. You are also responsible for obtaining clear and informed consent from the subjects in your photos. If your image violates the privacy or other rights of another participant, you should not display it in any public manner. If you did not pre-register as a professional shooter at the event, you may apply for permission later if you or someone else wishes to make non-personal use of your images. But you must obtain our written permission before the use is made.
To learn more about shooting for professional purposes (press, books, fine art, documentary film, etc.), visit Media at Black Rock City.
- You have the right to express yourself and create art as a photographer, videographer, and/or audio artist.
- Unless you have prior written permission from Burning Man, you may only use photos, videos, or audio obtained at the event for personal use.
- You are responsible for respecting the participants you wish to record and seeking their permission before photographing or filming them. If you are asked to stop filming, you must do so immediately. You have the responsibility not to interfere with the immediate experience of other participants.
- The Burning Man symbol, the phrases “Burning Man” and “Black Rock City,” the design of the Burning Man (aka “the Man”), as well as other key city infrastructure are protected by trademark and/or copyright law. In keeping with the principle of Decommodification, these trademarks and copyrights may not be used for any commercial or third-party purposes without Burning Man’s written consent. Click here for more information on Burning Man’s approach to intellectual property.
- Our Ticket Terms and Conditions cover our media policies in depth. By using your ticket to enter the event, you accept and agree to these policies. Failure to comply with these or any other media policies is grounds for eviction from the event and may bar entry in future years.
- Anyone who plans to shoot video or photography at the Burning Man event for non-personal use must apply with Burning Man before filming and sign a professional use contract. “Non-personal use” means any use that is commercial and/or widely distributed beyond one’s personal network of friends and family. You can start the process here.
- All members of the media—and anyone else who plans to make non-personal use of event imagery—must check in at Media Mecca upon arriving in Black Rock City.
- If you fail to register or receive approval for your project, but you record event imagery for your project anyway, you are trespassing. Trespassers have no rights to any use of event imagery, and Burning Man reserves the right to take any necessary action against trespassers.
- Professional use contracts are required to sell any imagery from the Burning Man event. We do not permit online sales, or the sale or distribution of photos or videos via stock agencies.
- Before professional use contract holders can publish any event imagery, they must obtain written permission from an authorized member of Burning Man’s Communications Department. Such written permission may be subject to restrictions, including granting Burning Man a license to display your imagery in Burning Man communications.
- Burning Man forbids the making of profit from the documentation of nudity at the event without the express written permission of the subjects and Burning Man.
- You must use model releases for all recognizable individuals. We may ask for verification of these releases before granting permission to use an image or footage commercially.
- The copyright of a design, written work, artwork, or performance is owned by the person or group who created it. You must ask permission before capturing such artwork and performances and obtain signed model/property license(s) or release(s) from all appropriate parties.
Burning Man’s Communications Team supports the creation of video content for the purposes of documentation and creative self-expression. If you intend to film in Black Rock City, you must submit an application and make sure your project is in line with Burning Man’s policies.
In line with the Principle of Decommodification, Burning Man does not allow commercial filming activities in Black Rock City.
The Bureau of Land Management also has policies related to filming in the Black Rock Desert (and elsewhere on BLM land). If you intend to film in Black Rock City, it is your responsibility to read, understand, and comply with the BLM’s policy, located on their website, here.
Specifically, BLM policy states:
“A permit is required for all commercial filming activities on public lands. Commercial filming is defined as the use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording, or other moving image or audio recording equipment on public lands that involves the advertisement of a product or service, the creation of product for sale, or the use of actors, models, sets or props, but not including activities associated with broadcasts for news programs. For purposes of this definition, creation of a product for sale includes a film, videotape, television broadcast or documentary of participants in commercial sporting or recreation event created for the purpose of generating income.”
To learn more about BLM policies, please review the following web pages:
If, after reviewing this information, you believe your project might require a permit, contact BLM’s Black Rock Field Office, Lands and Realty office:
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
5100 East Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Phone (775) 623-1500
The Burning Man Communications Department carefully reviews all film and media proposals. If we believe your project is being “created for the purpose of generating income” it will not be approved.