Bye-bye TFN…MarinFreecycle is now affiliated with FreecycleForever.org

Great news!

MarinFreecycle is proud to now be affiliated with FreecycleForever and the work they have done to promote freecycling through a Creative Commons-ShareAlike platform. This is the group that was founded by ground-floor freecyclers who removed themselves from The Freecycle Network (TFN) in 2003-2004 after “TFN intimidated or deleted thousands of freecycling groups by convincing Yahoo it had trademark rights to the word “freecycle”. Which TFN did not have!

As many of you know, there was a dust-up recently between myself and TFN after I posted a tip-jar here at my blog. Since I’ve operated MarinFreecycle independently of TFN from its inception July 2004, their telling me to resign was non-binding. In a recent Admin to the group I sent links to the recent court case that TFN lost with FreecycleSunnyvale when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that TFN had not exercised control or management over FreecycleSunnyvale. In our group’s case, that applies as well, as it does I’m sure with hundreds and perhaps thousands of other freecycle groups, who may not even realize it yet, and if TFN has their way, they would not share the full truth of what it means. (It has seemed to me for a very long time, that TFN has mainly been interested in collecting people from all over the globe in order to boast of their numbers, use them for advertising purposes, and also to use them to vote in various web fundraising contests sponsored by corporations like Pepsico, of which I’ve chosen to not post on MarinFreecycle.)

As of this past weekend, TFN removed the link from their aggregate site to us. So that those who try to find us through them can only post at their website. There’s no cause for concern yet. Our membership of 6600+ is strong, and we still have new members signing up. And there are wonderful resources we can tap into! You can spread the word with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and I’ll do my part in reaching out to alliances developed over the years.

Let me end this entry with how it started — introducing you to  FreecycleForever.org. Please bookmark their url and when you have a moment check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freecycle-Forever/177374375622601. And you can now find our own MarinFreecycle page on Facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=66270231937

An exchange of words with freecycle.org (TFN)

I figured that my installing a tip jar and announcing it to the group this past Tuesday noon would receive some blowback, but it appears I’m now a target for freecycle.org. For years I’ve run an independent group. All they do is provide a link to our group from their website (much like an aggregate website does), and that’s it. They have no control over our site whatsoever. Our rules are modified to our community. Now they are using my tip jar as an opportune moment to change that. Could it be that their aggressive stance is directly related to them losing a 5 year court case this past November in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to FreecycleSunnyvale, in which the court said:

“The Freecycle Network  (an organization focused on the free recycling and reusing of goods) had lost control of its trademark FREECYCLE due to naked licensing.”

This is not common knowledge, and freecycle.org has done its best to not call attention to it. If you want to know more, download the court’s opinion at http://tinyurl.com/49aeccr and/or read summaries at http://www.wileyrein.com/publications.cfm?sp=articles&id=6546 (short version), http://www.theiplawblog.com/archives/-trademark-law-naked-licensing-and-the-freecycle-case.html (long version)

That’s the background on the court case. Back to the tip jar… Tues evening I received the below email:

Good Evening Nicole 🙂
Nicole, one of the founding tenets of Freecycle was that everything on the Freecycle site was “Free”.
We set up Freecycle to apply this tenet to our volunteers. Freecycle is and has always been free in terms of compensation. All our “Owners and Mods” in effect, donate their time and energy to the operation of their group and to Freecycle on the whole.
We believe all our “Volunteers” are as passionate in our believe in recycling as the original founders.
It has been brought to our attention that you have set up a link on your group to solicit donations to help operate the Marin County group.
This is in violation of the founding tenet as stated above.
We believe it would be in the best interests of the group if you resigned as owner of the Marin County Freecycle group.
Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have.

Joel
California GOA
california@freecycle.org

I haven’t asked Joel any questions. I don’t think he’s interested in answering them. I can only interpret their note to me less than 6 hours after my tip jar manifesto, as an attack on my character and an excuse to try and exercise control over our group. My email reply to them today was:

Joel — Your email indicates an assumption that you control and manage MarinFreecycle.
You don’t.
MarinFreecycle and MarinCountyFreecycle, have been independently owned, operated, managed, and moderated by me since July 2004. The extent of your involvement has been providing a link from your site, which you can remove if you choose to. I hope it won’t come to that, and that we can work things out in an amicable way.
If you would like to continue discussion about this subject at my blog, you are welcome to. I don’t mind the light shining on it. In fact, I think that members might be interested in this exchange.
Nicole
MarinFreecycle
Owner/Moderator

I wanted to inform group members of this issue,  so I am posting it here and as an Admin note at our YG website. I’m serious about shining the light on this.

Adjusting car mirrors to eliminate blindspots

Turns out the way that I’ve had my outside car mirrors set all these years is totally wrong! I admit this has nothing to do with recycling — but it’s something I learned only recently and wanted to share. I’m driving a smaller car now, and making the adjustment from riding higher up has been a challenge. Saw a consumer tip about this at the Diamond Certified site, and checked it out. Wow — what a difference!

Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo_TyC8TY4o for a 2 min video on how adjust yours. I did mine, and while it took a bit to get used to not seeing my car in the view, I’m really happy with the results, and feel safer with a better field of view now that I’m driving a smaller car.

Pondering plastics recycling

A company in Turlock, CA makes headway on the plastic recycling front. Read about it here:

http://www.modbee.com/2010/12/21/1482071/shaking-up-bottlesturlock-plant.html

http://bwnews.us/2011/01/02/turlock-moves-to-recycling-forefront/

More info on the challenges of recycling plastics:

Where does plastic go:   http://5gyres.org/

And older post worth a look:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/sep/20/environment.china

Wiki – all about plastics:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic#Biodegradable_.28Compostable.29_plastics

E-Wasting Away in China:   http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3373/e_wasting_away_in_china/

Plastic news:   http://www.plasticsnews.com
Their China blog: http://www.plasticsnews.com/china/english/chinablog/

What will get you banned from MarinFreecycle?

I think this is self-explanatory, but over the past 6 years there have been dust-ups between individuals that have warranted a hard & fast rule in place so that everyone knows what they can’t do as a member. If you’re a new member, you need to remember and practice this, and if you’ve been a member since last month or 6 years ago, you need to remember and practice it too.

Harassing other members will not be tolerated in this group. Here’s a partial list of things that will be considered harassment and will get you banned from the group:

  • If you receive an item another person gifts to you, and you are not happy with the item for any reason, and continue to contact the person about it — it will be considered harassment.
  • If you continually send emails to a member after the member tells you to not contact them anymore — it will be considered harassment.
  • If you send repeated emails, IMs, or texts to another member expressing and inferring your opinion is superior (on any subject), and theirs as inferior — it will be considered harassment.
  • If you bully or stalk another member for any reason — it will be considered harassment.

And:

  • If your email address or Yahoo handle is not family friendly — it will be considered harassment in general, and will get you banned.