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!"