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Quiznos mocks techies at Burning Man, may be hit with lawsuit

Technically Incorrect: The organizers of Burning Man are considering legal action after a Quiznos ad mocks burners and allegedly misuses the annual festival's intellectual property.

The mockery is quite deep and all-encompassing. Quiznos Toaster/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

When people take themselves quite seriously, there's always the potential for umbrage.

So if you, say, make an ad that mocks the living daylights out of these serious people, that umbrage can become sue-age.

This may be happening with respect to the just-concluded Burning Man -- the annual festival so many techies go to in order to appear less human -- and an ad that offers little respect to its attendees and ethos.

Created by sandwich chain Quiznos, the ad is a touchingly glorious send-up of wandering into the desert to find your true dusty self.

"I just saw a Google exec fire-jousting with P. Diddy," says one of the neophytes being inducted into the Burner ways.

"It's become a place for rich people to check off their bucket list," muses another.

These are no ordinary neophytes. They are characters, you see, from " The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," a sci-fi movie where there are "unimaginable" obstacles and where there is the potential of glory. (There is also the potential of poor reviews.)

Can this be said of Burning Man? Is there a danger of, as the wise one who speaks to our heroes says: "You kids won't last a day out in Playa without subtle exposure to corporate influence."

It is, indeed, said by some that Burning Man isn't quite the pure, natural celebration of dust-to-dust that it used to be. Can it be that Katy Perry just went to wear a fur coat and fall off her Segway?

What to make, then, that the organizers of Burning Man are reportedly threatening to sue Quiznos?

As the Reno Gazette-Journal reports, Burning Man is upset not because it believes the jokes are hurtful, mean and therefore spiritually illegal. Instead, a Burning Man spokesman told the Gazette-Journal that the ad includes theft of intellectual property.

You might imagine that the freethinkingness of Burning Man means that we're all in this together, sharing and caring without any thought of material enhancement.

It seems, though, that this may stretch to any inclusion of the very thought of Burning Man in a corporate attempt to make money, even if it involves mere humor.

Neither Burning Man nor Quiznos was immediately available for comment.

However, the Burning Man spokesman told the Gazette-Journal: "We are pretty proactive about protecting our 10 principles, one of which is decommodification. We get a quite a number of requests each year from companies wanting to gift participants with their product or to capture imagery or video of their products at the event, and we turn them all down."

It appears that Quiznos may not have approached Burning Man to discuss its plans to take a rise out of the flaming festival.

Decommodification is a noble pursuit. Burning Man claims to take this to an evangelical degree. Its Web site says: "Our principle of Decommodification ensures our landscape is not cluttered with corporate plugs (and we encourage you to cover logos on anything you bring with you!)."

You mean no one is wearing any North Face, Patagonia or Nike? It must be terribly discombobulating for first-timers.

Still, one wonders whether Burning Man would have been quite as upset if the ad didn't make its very core seem like risible babble.

The question is whether legal action might make the annual tech-ridden festival look even more silly. To some, that might be quite a feat.