But I need to repeat that this is not about us "not letting Tristan sell his prints" - he asked to do something new & unorthodox for us, that to my knowledge was not at all something a "lot" of people are engaging in -- we have only been asked a few times and have rarely ever granted permission, and my understanding of Flickr as a Pro subscriber for several years was that only I could buy copies of my own prints, not others.
And, I communicated then that his request was in an approval queue (decisions on commercial use are not just up to me) along with dozens of other photographers asking for dozens of different kinds of permission for distribution, and that as things became more unorthodox, we were working on some new solutions for such requests, but it was a rare permission level and I'd get back to him.
Then, when it became obvious that there was a bigger issue of solving the sheer volume of approving prints at this new volume and mass distribution/sale level, I started working on how to reanalyze and address this entire area of intellectual property, and how we can move forward with this evolving area of copyright given the circumstances we've set up on the playa for over 10 years to protect our participants. It's a very big change, not something that happens over night, which I've also explained to Tristan several times.
Next, I nvited him to an open forum discussion about this issue that we're trying to organize, with experts in the related fields, Burning Man photographers who sell their work, artists, participants, legal counsel, etc... to try to evolve things to the next level. Unfortunately, I've been sick, such that we've had to postpone that event until after the holidays, but it's a very important discussion to have.
It is not fair to characterize this as BUrning Man not letting you make money on your work or recoup your costs of shooting at the event. It's not about what kind of camera you're using, either - that's not my point. I feel i've been working pretty hard to get to a place that serves you AND our participants better, and I feel like you keep attacking us over our stance, in various forums, and it's very frustrating. Our policies have been clear about commercial use since long before you joined the Doc team, AND I'm working to try to change them to help you.
Look -- it is never good form to say you speak for others who are not present at a discussion, but: I work with hundreds of photographers every year, many of whom have been supported mightily by Burning Man in their efforts to sell their work - yes, Burning Man images. It's at least 1/4 of what I do all day long, and really, I could find you many a shooter who'd attest to the fact that we've been expedient and helpful in an approval process with them selling work in all kinds of ways.
So perhaps part of the problem is the way you keep categorizing us as out to persecute your work- when nothing could be further from the truth. We love your work and I know many others do too. That's not in dispute whatsoever - and I never once said getting good photos at Burning Man is easy! I've seen 'em all, and you're among the best - year after year there are some top shooters who are able to capture the magic, but it's definitely not easy. And it's not cheap.
It boils down to this: We have an overloaded system of personal review and interaction for such sales. That process absolutely requires revision, and so do our licenses. Right now there are conflicting opinions about whether the mass sale of prints counts as "commodification" and how artists' and subjects' rights should be attended to, and our site license's utility may be becoming outmoded in this evolution of digital photography on the web. (See blog post:http://blog.burningman.com/?p=4599
But still, it's BRC, and it's been privately held for years. So should you be able to sell someone else an inexpensive print without asking me, even if I'm wearing clothes, without a model release? What about pictures of my artwork, or a video of my performance? What if you make a "profit" (after all those photography expenses, I mean) - what's the right of the artist if your print of the Temple goes viral and is purchased in the thousands? These are the lingering questions I have since BRC's rules have long offered a process that helped to address some of those questions. Right now,w hat you're asking to do is forbidden by longstanding policies. I haven't said it's not time to talk about changing them -- but you're not giving me much of a chance to work with you on it!
I hope it makes sense that we want to take the time to come up with a better way forward. THat's why I sought to specifically include you in a conversation to collaborate on a solution that works better for photographers like you, Tristan, and still protects our culture in the way we've done for so long.
But it may not happen overnight - and it may have to wait until after Christmas . It's not just as simple as releasing all our former efforts to protect Burning Man into the ether.