So, it looks like the people who founded Freecycle have registered the name as a trademark.
The most galling bit is that on their site they state that:
We are a big grassroots movement but a tiny little nonprofit organization with a staff of one so defending our trademark takes many hands and hearts.
Quick tips: only use it as an adjective (Freecycle group, etc.) and never as a noun or verb, or morphed into another word (freecycler, freecycling, freecycle the couch, etc. are no-nos).
Argh! Memo to fools: if the commoners start using the name of your website as a verb, you have won! Do you really think that Google object to people saying 'I googled for "monkey" and got 10 billion results'? Of course they don't. I repeat, if you become part of the language you have won.
The Freecycle community survives by hippyish goodwill, if the centre goes corporate all that you'll get is a load of different groups called different things. People will still call it 'freecycling', and refer to themselves as 'freecyclers'. In my mind, at least, this is in the language now.
Is the true intent of Freecycle (tm) to encourage recycling? If so, what better tribute to this than to give some new words to the language to describe the process of giving stuff away so it doesn't go to landfill? I can't imagine any reason to register and defend the trademark, other than to maintain the exclusivity of a particular coordinating body, namely freecycle.org .
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