Posts Tagged ‘ court case

Bye-bye TFN…MarinFreecycle is now affiliated with

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 Please bookmark their url and when you have a moment check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook at And you can now find our own MarinFreecycle page on Facebook too:

An exchange of words with (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 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 has done its best to not call attention to it. If you want to know more, download the court’s opinion at and/or read summaries at (short version), (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.

California GOA

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.

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.