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Daniel Steinberg

Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 00:34:55 -0700
To: Freedomcycle@googlegroups.com
From: Tim Oey <timoey@gmail.com>
Subject: FG a freecycling perspective
Reply-To: Freedomcycle@googlegroups.com

Hi all,

Please see below for an amusing little story I got from someone who objected to freecycle being trademarked back in the days when I was trying to help it out. I got lots of other complaint emails but this one was more creative than the others. Daniel Steinberg (southbaypen), the original author, has given me permission to republish -- umm -- rather freecycle this piece.

Warning -- there are a few strong words below, you may stop reading now if you feel you may be offended.


>From: "southbaypen" <dss@batnet.com>
>Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 21:03:39 -0000
>Subject: [freecyclesunnyvale] Re: ADMIN: Freecycle Trademark heads up
>   I was freecycling down to the local freecyclers the other day,
>whistling the Freecycled Blues, toting an old toaster to freecycle,
>and hoping to freecycle me a bookshelf, when suddenly a very large
>dude in a suit stopped me short and said:
>   "Hold on there, buddy.  You be violating some serious trademark
>shit, taking the F-word in vain like that."
>   I was taken aback.  "Are you out of your freecyclin' mind?  This is
>a freecycled country, man!  Now get the F-C outta my way!"
>   He tightened his vise-like grip on my arm.  "Now listen up, and
>listen good.  You may think this is a joke, but there's a lot of very
>influential people watching this Freecycle(tm) thing, and they're not
>gonna let some ex-hippie programmer dude who never outgrew his
>Rebelling Against Authority phase screw it up."
>   "Influential people?  What is this crap?"
>   "That's right.  You got people giving shit away for free, you be
>stepping on the turf of every honest businessman trying to make a buck
>selling that same shit.  Pretty soon all you got is folks shuffling
>shit, and the whole country falls to pieces.  Now McScram before I
>scotch tape a xeroxed kotex onto the back of your spandexed ass!"
>   "Hold on.  You're trying to tell me somebody's paying you to watch
>for trademark infringement because they are afraid that freecyclers
>are going to ruin the economy?  I don't believe a word of it.  You're
>going to have to freecycle a better story than that."
>   He looked around furtively, then pulled me in close and spoke
>quickly in a low voice.
>   "All right.  Look, I'll level with you, but this stays between you
>and me.  Don't you go emailing this shit to all your friends."
>   I solemnly drew an X across my chest, saying, "Freecyclers' honor."
>   "Ok listen.  The Freecycle Network(tm) started with a couple of
>groups here and there, and it's grown to over a million members in
>less than two years, with over FIVE million hits on the Freecycle(tm)
>website.  That kind of Internet growth rate makes advertising
>executives cream their pants.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
> Now we've got some very large companies nosing around, trying to
>figure out how to get a piece of this action.  Think about it.
>Building materials left over from big jobs...Home Depot could be all
>over that.  Books and magazines...you think Borders isn't watching
>that?  Baby clothes and toys...don't even get me started!"
>   He leaned into my ear and said in a coarse whisper, "At this very
>moment, Walmart is drawing up plans for a nationwide chain of
>Freecycle(tm) Centers."
>   I pulled away in shock.  "You've got to be kidding!"
>   "It's true.  And you know what that means?  Pretty soon every major
>retailer in the country is going to be trying to jump onto this
>bandwagon, and we've got to be prepared.  That's why we have to
>protect the trademark.  We can't lose control of this now, when it's
>about to be the biggest thing since the golden arches."
>   It was all too much for me.  Deep down in my gut, I knew that if
>Corporate America thought that freecycling was a good idea, then there
>must be something seriously wrong with it, and I wanted no part of it.
> I jumped back on my freecycle, and peddled like hell.
>   "Come back!" he yelled after me.  "There's some serious money to be
>made giving away shit for free!"