I've been using Freecycle Brighton for a few years now. Since I blogged about it in 2006, I've successfully used it to get rid of an upright piano, a table or two, a printer, an old drum kit, around 100 chairs, a fridge, a sofa and a few bookcases, as well as obtaining and subsequently getting rid of a bed or two. No idea how I managed to accumulate that much stuff.

Anyway, it seems that Freecycle has not been free from power-hungry leadership, and now the UK groups and moderators seem to be escaping from the heavy-handed control of the Freecycle overlord(s) in the USA.

Or that's the impression I get from the report in the Guardian, particularly the comments section. More on the Freecycling blog and on the Brighton Freecycle Cafe group...

FreecycleBrighton has worked spectacularly well, but it seems to have suffered a possibly serious blow. The Yahoo! group has been closed down by the moderators, and group members were directed to GreenCycleSussex as the new group. At the last count, this has 494 members. But of the 16,000(?) former FreecycleBrighton members, those 3000 or so who signed up through the "official" Freecycle page are still there, freecycling away, quite possibly unaware of all the rumblings that have taken place. And other groups are springing up, such as freebrighton.

Similar action is being taken by many UK Freecycle groups, reconvening under the name Freegle.

All a bit of a mess really. I'm minded to go with the Green Cycle Sussex group for now, out of principle. But if that doesn't work out, then I might (very reluctantly) succumb to the official group, this time out of a different principle.

Update 21 Sep 2009: the Freecycle Brighton group page (also available as www.freebrighton.org) now states explicitly that it is "no longer affiliated with the US freecycle network".

Update 8 Oct 2009: following legal pressure from "The Freecycle Network (TM)", the Freecycle Brighton Yahoo! group has now been renamed FreeBrighton.