Trademark, Logo, and Attribution Statement

For Immediate Help: please contact your GOA.

Click here to access our professionally designed brochures.

Here is how to contact us for permission for printing and use of our trademark.

Copyright and Trademark Policy

How to Use the Freecycle Trademark

The following guidelines are for all countries, unless otherwise specified. If you reside in the United States, you can find specific instructions here. If you reside in the European Union, you can find specific instructions here. If you reside in Canada, Australia or New Zealand, click here.

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.

The Logo


The Freecycle logo is here.

Alteration of the actual logo is not permitted

If you use the Freecycle logo, it must include an (R) symbol or ® and appear exactly as it does on It is however perfectly 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

Third-party use of the logo

Official permission is required for each individual instance of the logo about to be used by anyone other than ourselves.

Whoever is proposing to use the logo needs to receive direct and specific permission from In each and every instance that the logo is to be used, please ask the reporter (for example) to write in person to Help team, requesting permission to use the logo. Any subsequent use by the same person for the same purpose needs to be authorized once again.

This may sound frightful, but is a formality with which they will be familiar and takes very little time.

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 pages, articles, press releases, automatic notices, cafe groups and group promotional pages the following trademark attribution should appear:

© 2003 The Freecycle Network (R). ( All rights reserved.
Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are trademarks of The Freecycle Network in various countries.

General Trademark Usage Guidelines

  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 a ® with it.
    For example: The Freecycle Network®
    When used as a trade name (think proper name), the term "®" 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,® also remains true to its core mission.
  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."

Usage in Email Addresses

Email 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. Example:

Usage on local promotional pages, in 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 2). 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.

  1. In HTML, use this HTML code: "Freecycle & reg;"(remove spaces and quotation marks) 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.
  7. In emails, use the (R) version rather than the superscript (R) for proper display

Unauthorized use of the Freecycle trademark or logo

There are no groups outside of's own site that are authorized to use the Freecycle name for reuse/swap/recycling activities. If such a group uses the word "Freecycle" or some derivative, it is most likely a violation of trademark law. Please contact your GOA if you see a group that has done this.

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 ® mark or trademark attribution? No. Having the trademark attribution in email list footers is enough.

Where are the most common places that "Freecycle" use should be checked?  All websites and emails will have the logo and attribution statement. It is only non-Freecycle websites, and emails and flyers that need to be checked for trademark compliance.

Are modified local logo graphics with our ® 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 ® are not covered or obscured in any way).

What about our Facebook pages? Do they have to be ® compliant as well? If your page 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. Send an email to your GOA.

Where can I find the official logo?

How do I go about getting a special logo made for my page? Glad you asked! Please contact the Graphics Team at Graphics Team

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