Moderator Manual:Mod EUtrademark

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E.U.Trademark and Copyright Policy

The Freecycle Trademark & Copyright Policy for the European Union, Australia and Canada

[Updated on 27 Nov 2008]

For Immediate Help: Here is how to contact us.

How to Use the Freecycle Trademark

If you are in the European Union, Australia or Canada, the proper logo has an R rather than a TM. The following is an adaptation of the original Copyright Policy with the Registered symbol substituted accordingly as opposed to the Trademark symbol. In short, the following instructions are provided:

If you would like to use a Freecycle(R) with the attribution text, it is located here.

**NOTE** To give your web page that Official Freecycle look, please make sure the Freecycle Logo is a part of your front page description.

The HTML code is as follows for the logo without the registered information:

<img src="" alt="Freecycle Logo" alt='Freecycle Logo' style='border: 0px'>

If you would like to use a Freecycle(R) without the attribution text, it is located here.

The following HTML code is for the Freecycle Logo that includes the registered information beneath it. This registered logo works well for groups that have long front page descriptions and need to conserve space:

<img src="" alt="Freecycle Logo" alt='Freecycle Logo' style='border: 0px'>

Additional Logo information that conforms to the new European guidelines can be found at Photobucket.

To read the full modified text for the new instructions, read on!

We are doing a really good thing here. And, we are also learning as we go, which means there will always be evolution and change. Because the Freecycle concept is unique and amazingly successful, there are many who have and who would try to use it for personal gain and profit.

For that reason, The Freecycle Network is incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and the Freecycle name and logo are both trademark protected. We need to do our best to properly use the Freecycle trademark so that we don't lose the right to it.

In legalese, the use of the term "Freecycle" denotes a gifting service which is officially approved by the nonprofit organization "The Freecycle Network," and one that the public can expect to adhere to certain standards. The Freecycle Network must approve any email list or web site that uses the term "Freecycle" in its name and provides any sort of exchange service. (A relevant point for us to note internally is that we have to demonstrate a "concerted" effort.)

When using the term "Freecycle" please do the following:

Trade name

1) While "The Freecycle Network" is a trade name, it also functions as a service mark -- i.e., a source indicator -- so it is okay to use an (R) or (T) with it.

For example: The Freecycle Network or The Freecycle Network(R)

When used as a trade name (think proper name), the term "Freecycle" may be used in place of "The Freecycle Network" to allow sentences to be more concise.

For example: While The Freecycle Network has been growing by leaps and bounds, Freecycle also remains true to its core mission.

adjective noun or verb

2) In all other cases, the term "Freecycle" must be used as an adjective, never as a noun or verb. For example:

  • 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.)

Attribution Statement

3) Attribution Statement. (This is fancy-speak for a statement attributing ownership of a trademark to someone at the bottom of emails, etc.)

At the bottom or within the body of all official Freecycle web sites, articles, press releases, automatic notices, and group home pages the following trademark attribution should appear (the horizontal lines are nice because they separate it from your content but they're not necessary):


Copyright (c) 2003 The Freecycle Network ( All rights reserved.
Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are registered trademarks of The Freecycle Network, CTM Reg. No. 5722723. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In group email list footers use the following (in this case include the lines to set it apart):


Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are trademarks of The Freecycle Network
in the United States and/or other countries.

To create the footer in your Yahoo group:

  1. Log into the Yahoo and go to the group page
  2. Click on Management on the left
  3. Click on Messages on the right
  4. Next to Subject Tag and Footer, click Edit
  5. Enter the text above in the Footer box (you can create the lines by using a series of dashes (-) or underscores (_) but don't let them extend too far or they'll wrap to the next line in some email programs
  6. Click the Save Changes button

For those with more advanced computer skills here's a couple fancy alternatives to the above method:

a. You can use this image instead of the Freecycle logo on your group page. It still contains the logo but it also includes the statement above:

Freecycle Logo

To use this image, enter its address into the image field in your group description.

Its address is:

The logo without the attribution text can be found at

b. You can use the following HTML code in your group's description to create the attribution statement exactly as above:

<center><hr width="600"><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica">Copyright (c) 2003 The Freecycle Network (<a href=""></a>). All rights reserved. <br> Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are registered trademarks of The Freecycle Network, CTM Reg. No. 5722723.</font><hr width="600">


4) The term "Freecycle" in text must always be capitalized to set it off from the surrounding text.

Example: Freecycle groups are great!

5) Local groups need to use the official Freecycle logo. It must include an (R) symbol or and appear exactly as it does on

It is okay to put adornments around it and behind it. Never put anything over any portion of the logo or otherwise obscure the basic form of the logo or the symbol.

6) E-mail addresses with the word "Freecycle" in them.

One should consider using something explanatory in addition to the word "Freecycle" in their e-mail address or ID for clarity's sake.


7) On your local Yahoo group sites, articles, press releases & automatic notices: The first "prominent display" or introduction of the mark (i.e., the first time you use the term Freecycle in a document) needs to be distinguished from other text with an (R) or ®.

This is in addition to the above attribution statement (the footer-note statement in point 3). So, a Freecycle group site should have an (R) or by the logo at the top and an (R) or by the first use of The Freecycle Network (or of the word Freecycle, whichever comes first).

The other instances of Freecycle can be without an (R) or ® marking, though it is still important to capitalize or color them to show they are not just common words.

A Sample Freecycle Group has been created to demonstrate how a group should look once it's set up properly. Please feel free to join and check out the group description and files. It's not a live group.

  1. In HTML, use this HTML code: "Freecycle&reg;" (without the quotes) to create this: Freecycle®
  2. For plain ASCII text documents, in email, and in files in a Yahoo group, use "Freecycle(R)" (without the quotes).
  3. For other documents, use any method available to create the (R) superscript or ® symbol.
  4. There's no need to use the ® mark more than once per document.
  5. Do not use the ® mark in email addresses, email subject tag lines (such as [freecyclemytown]), group names, or URLs.
  6. . Do be sure to include the footer in item 3 above, whenever possible. TIP: If you are sending an email and wish to add the ®, it makes sense to use the (R) version rather than the superscript (R) symbol (even if you know how to generate the ASCII version) because many email programs will not display it right to the recipient.


8) OPTIONAL: For further information about trademarks and how to use them properly, see:

Questions and Answers:

Is it okay for individual email addresses or URLs to include the term "Freecycle"?
Yes, but please make sure the word is accompanied by something explanatory, like FreecycleMytownMod.

Do personal emails about Freecycle need to use the (R) mark or trademark attribution?
No. Having the attribution in email list footers is enough.

Where are the most common places that "Freecycle" use should be checked?

  • Group description/home page (Management / Description and Appearance / Description - Edit) Group email footer text (Management / Messages / Subject Tag and Footer - Edit) Group welcome message (Management / Membership / Welcome Message - Edit) All automatically sent notices -- especially the Freecycle Etiquette document Press releases or other stand-alone documents </font>
  • Flyers

What changes should I make to my group's Freecycle Etiquette document?
Make sure all instances of Freecycle are used as an adjective or trade name. Look at the main [/faq/manual/man_guidelines Freecycle Etiquette] link for good examples.

Are modified local logo graphics with our (R) still okay?
Adding graphics around the mark is fine and fun. We do need to leave the mark itself unaltered (so you're OK as long as the logo and TM are not covered or obscured in any way).

What about our cafe sites? Do they have to be (R) compliant as well?
If your cafe is in any way connected to Freecycle®, yes. Especially if the word "Freecycle" is in the name, or mentioned in the site.

Use the same rules as for official sites.

I want to have someone look at my site, and tell me what I have to do.


I want someone to come in and fix anything that needs to be fixed.
Here is how to contact us. Please specify which option you are interested in. (have a look or come in)

Where can I find the official logo that is required for my site? OR (with attribution statement)

How do I go about getting a special logo made for my site?
Glad you asked! [?menu=manual&view=man_logo Click here] for brand-new instructions on this!


Copyright ® 2003 The Freecycle Network ( All rights reserved.
Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are registered trademarks of The Freecycle Network, CTM Reg. No. 5722723.