Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 00:34:55 -0700
From: Tim Oey <email@example.com>
Subject: FG a freecycling perspective
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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>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
> 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!"