Freecycling

Fighting for freerecyling

A lesson in etym-athingamajig

According to TFN’s Trademark and Copyright Policy there are strict rules on how to cook an egg, oops how to make a cup of tea, oops how to say sorry. Hmm that last one should be pretty close. Actually they say, and I quote:

  • Do not say “I’m a freecycler.” Do say “I’m a Freecycle member.”
  • Do not say “Keep on freecyclin!” Do say “Keep on recyclin’, my Freecycle friends!”
  • Do not say “Freecycling group.” Do say “Freecycle group”
  • Do not say “Please Freecycle.” Do say “Please join a Freecycle group.”
  • Do not say “There are 10 freecycles in this state.” Do say “There are 10 Freecycle groups in this state.”
  • Do not say “freecycle’s membership.” Do say “The Freecycle Network’s membership.”(Note: new groups may use the word Freecycle in their group name/title, but should not be approved with any variations of the word Freecycle in their name, title or description, like freecycler, freecycling, freecycles.)

and more… anyone would think this was Microsoft dictating to its employees how to install Windows NT 3.51 from floppy disk. Please note that in none of the above do they EVER use the TM symbol, which is just appalling. Because what people should do is

  • Do not say “I’m a freecycler.” Do say “I’m a Freecycle TM member.”
  • Do not say “Keep on freecyclin!” Do say “Keep on recyclin’, my Freecycle TM friends!”
  • Do not say “Freecycling group.” Do say “Freecycle TM group”
  • Do not say “Please Freecycle.” Do say “Please join a Freecycle TM group.”
  • Do not say “There are 10 freecycles in this state.” Do say “There are 10 Freecycle TM groups in this state.”
  • Do not say “freecycle’s membership.” Do say “The Freecycle TM Network’s membership.”(Note: new groups may use the word Freecycle TM in their group name/title, but should not be approved with any variations of the word Freecycle TM in their name, title or description, like freecycler, freecycling, freecycles.)

Because the proper word is FreecycleTM.

I mean I ought to know something about this. After all I have practised TM since the year of the World Plan back in 1974 – and that predates Deron Beal’s email by, now let me see 29 years!! Maharishi Mahesh Yogi should be proud of me, still meditating roughly twice a day for all those years. And now at last I can reveal my mantra. When given to me it was “freecycle”. But over time it has modified itself (as it should) to “freecycler” in the mornings and “freecycled” in the afternoons.
I jest of course. Because at least in part this whole thing is a complete joke. I mean if you look at the Internet archives for The Freecycle Network themselves it was TFN themselves who were using words like “freecyclin'”. I mean the pot calling the kettle black or what!

Now so many freecycle groups and individuals and newsfeeds are really happy to talk about freecycle in whichever way they feel is right to them. They also could not be bothered about sticking to what some arsey page on the Internet tells them to say. They just do what feels right to them. That is grassroots in action. HEAR THAT DERON BEAL – THAT’S GRASSROOTS IN ACTION.

I then did a bit more research. I thought to myself, perhaps I have got it all wrong. Perhaps grassroots organisations spend a lot of time and energy like TFN ensuring that balderdash is spelled with an “o”. So I checked out Amnesty International‘s website for their trademark page and I checked out (being a UK person) Oxfam‘s website for similar. Now they may be there, but I could not find them. Nor could I find them on other grassroots organisation websites. None of these organisations bothered themselves with this piffle.

In fact if you do a search on Google for something like your favourite charity and the word trademark I bet you struggle to find anything remotely like the patronising page that TFN proudly boast.

So let me say it again. People love to say the word freecycle. Deron, you do not have to shove it down people’s throats. It really is a good word. Well done that man. You have entered history by creating that word.

To close let us look at the parts of the word “freecycle”. Either it is the joining of the word “free” with “cycle” or it is a play on the word “recycle” with an”f” and an extra “e”. Now if we look at either bases of these, that is the word cycle and the word recycle, well they are both verbs. Honest, they really are. (Actually cycle is also a noun.)

So a verb such as to cycle or to recycle can, as TFN’s trademark and copyright page says end in “ing” or “er” or “ed”. And lo and behold the rest of the Internet picked up on this when they started abusing the word freecycle. The number of results from Google for these words are

  • freecycled – 18,400
  • freecycling – 106,000
  • freecycler – 15,700
  • freecycles – 2,660
  • freecyclin – 89

which shows that anyone and everyone thinks that sticking to the word freecycle with or without the TM is just plain daft. But of course they have not had a Cease and Desist letter sent to them, have they?

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July 17, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle

1 Comment »

  1. Of course you shouldn’t say “10 freecycles in this state.” I’m sure there are MANY more than just 10 “cycles” (bi-, tri-, motor-, and uni-) that people are willing to give away. 😉

    Comment by Sue | July 22, 2007 | Reply


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