Fighting for freerecyling

When is a noun, not a noun

When the word is freecycle. Someone who started the trademarking initiative off really got their knickers in a twist about the English (whether US or UK or whatever) language. They “decided” that the word freecycle was a noun.

Until that point derivatives that The Freecycle Network (both centrally and across all groups) had been propagating were verb forms such as freecycler, freecycling (as in Keep On Freecyclin’), freecycles and freecycled. These verb forms roll off the tongue so exquisitely that any search for these across the Internet will yields 1000’s of hits. However when their trademarking initiative started verb forms became a banned thing.

But in fact almost every single one of the newswire pages linked to from the official freecycle network pages, whether in the USA, or the UK or indeed any country – almost all the newswire articles refer to freecycle as a verb. So in linking to these news articles The Freecycle Network is going against its own noun definition.

I will just give you one example running from today’s home page for TFN, here in the UK. At the bottom right corner in their newswire links is an article entitled Online Freecycling club sees pig fly off to join new owner. If you look through the official TFN newswire archives they are full of links to news articles that are clearly in trademark infringement (according to TFN definition) and really instead of being posted as official news articles on behalf of TFN they should have a Cease and Desist letter sent out. (For your benefit in case this particular link goes, here is the original article.)

This official support for freecycle as a verb is not a new thing inside TFN. It is something they have done from the very first days even before they started their newswire, but since then it has grown exponentially.

I understand that TFN cannot be held responsible for the words spoken by journalists. But these news articles often are quoting what are we are lead to believe are bona-fide trademark compliant groups. Not only are the groups allowed to promote freecycle as a verb in whatever way shape or form they want, but also TFN officially propagates all that on its newswire.

I will go so far as to argue that the search terms used by TFN to research and build up its newswire include all the verb forms.

If TFN was truly serious about its trademark claims then should it not send Cease and Desist letters to each and every one of their news feed articles where a trademark infringement occurs?

Further to that, surely shouldn’t Deron Beal, the father of TFN, make sure that his own freecycle group and website are in order first? If you look at this TFN official newswire page then you will see that even in Tuscon there exists at least one ‘freecycler’. This is not even an old article – this one is very recent, viz 29th June, 2007.

In fact, since the official website for The Freecycle Network is fighting a law suit in which Tim Oey is accused of encouraging propagation of the word freecycle in verb forms, surely there is a contradiction here. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

September 10, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle, trademark

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