Herbal voices from everywhere are being heard. The Change.org petition has reached 7,500 signatures. Each signature is a single voice supporting Tradition Not Trademark. Together these voices make a strong statement. We can all toast to 7,500 signatures on Sunday for the world wide Toast to Tradition. Looking forward to seeing your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
On Sunday, March 9th let’s all celebrate Fire Cider. Make a toast to tradition! Share and post your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Don’t forget to tag Tradition Not Trademark on Facebook or use #freefirecider elsewhere!
All for good,
Heather for FreeFireCider
Click in to a livestream radio show TODAY (Feb 24th) at 2PM EST on WGXC Radio 90.7 to hear Nicole Telkes discuss the Fire Cider trademark controversy. You can call in with a question or comment using the following number 518-828-0290. A recording will be available and posted shortly after the live airing. UPDATE: the archived recording is available here!
Then head on over to the Roots, Runners and Rhizome’s Facebook page to thank them for the opportunity to spread the message about this movement by liking their page or posting a comment.
Not too long ago, the Willimantic Food Co-op posted a photo of their beautiful make your own Fire Cider merchandising display. This display was made possible because of the support that the movement has been given from the herbal community far and wide! Inspired by this, we pulled together some lovely printable materials for each of you to distribute in support of the movement. These materials can be provided to retailers to share with customers, use in displays, or given away at check out. Individuals and schools can use these by adding them to community bulletin boards, sharing them with associations they are involved in, or passing them out at conferences and meet-ups – the possibilities are endless. Please, use them freely and often. They are a good way to start the conversation with your local store or other individuals, if you haven’t yet already. In addition, continue to voice your opinion to stores near you, be sure to check out the resources page for a sampling of boycott letters.
Posters, Flyers and Recipe Cards
Make Your Own Fire Cider Recipe Cards – lovely little cards with a basic fire cider recipe. You can hand them out at farmer’s market, leave them on a table as part of a store display, or just give them to all your friends! Print these 4×6 cards at your local photo lab, be sure to ask them not to resize the file. Or you can print the PDF version of the Recipe Card from your own printer.
Make Your Own Fire Cider Poster – can be displayed in local stores, farmer’s markets, classes you teach in your own kitchen: anywhere! Includes a recipe as well!
Free Fire Cider Poster/Flyer – an 8.5×11 poster/flyer with information about the trademark we’re fighting and why the trademark is a problem for the future of herbalism.
Of course, as important as Fire Cider is to us, there is a much larger issue at stake here.
At the very foundation, the issue is really that we live our lives – our vocation, our calling – in service: in service to community, to the plants, to the earth. This doesn’t really translate well in a culture that is being whipped into ever more of a frenzy of seeking fame and wealth at the expense of others, of community, of the earth.
And so as we continue to fight to free Fire Cider from trademark restriction, it’s a good thing to take a minute to reflect on this larger, deeper truth. Do you like to write? Do you keep a blog? If so, then here’s a topic for you:
How can we live our tradition of service to community, to the plants, to the earth, in a culture that values fame and wealth at the expense of these things?
I would love to hear all of our voices writing – and speaking and drawing and singing and expressing on this topic!
Send us your stuff! Links to your blog, your YouTube, your .mp3, your whatever you make to express it – we’d love to share it!
Yesterday, the Free Fire Cider and the World Fire Cider Making Day Event pages were taken down by Facebook. Facebook cited that Amy Huebner, owner of Shire City Herbals, had registered a complaint that these pages infringed on and otherwise violated their rights.
Information from The US Patent and Trademark Office states:
“A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art.” link
These pages were not violating Shire City Herbals’ trademark because they were not selling or promoting goods. Shire City Herbals holds a trademark – not a copyright. Rosemary Gladstar authored the copyrighted recipes and has not expressed issue with these pages. It is clear that these pages should be reinstated! Owners of the pages have filed disputes with Facebook.
Take Action: Clearly Shire City Herbals is feeling the pressure of the herbal community. It is important to stay strong, stay positive, and continue to move forward.
1. Email Amy – respectfully disagree with her about her current actions on Facebook and ask her to free the Fire Cider trademark: email@example.com
2. Contact Facebook and register a complaint
3. Get involved: See what you can do at our Take Action page!
4. Keep informed about the latest developments and events right here at freefirecider.com!
Free Fire Cider and Fire Cider Pages and even our “World Fire Cider Making Day Event” have been taken down by Facebook. Facebook has cited that an Amy Huebner (who just happens to own Shire City Herbals) said that these pages violated their infringement of her rights. We have been warned that if we start another page I may be blocked from using facebook entirely. That doesn’t stop anyone else from starting “pages” and citing the “Fire Cider” page as an infringement on our intellectual property.
Do what thou wilt and we will continue to boycott, we don’t need facebook to do it!
What facebook said:
Letter regarding removal of Free Fire Cider Page.
We’ve removed or disabled access to the following content that you posted on Facebook because a third party reported that the content infringes or otherwise violates their rights:
Page: Fire Cider
Facebook is not in a position to adjudicate disputes between third parties. If you believe that this content should not have been removed from Facebook, you can contact the complaining party directly to resolve your issue:
Notice #: 263156903851500
Name: Amy Huebner
If an agreement is reached to restore the reported content, please have the complaining party email us with their consent and include the original reference number. We will not be able to restore this content to Facebook unless we receive explicit notice of consent from the complaining party. Please note that the complaining party is not required to respond to your request.
We strongly encourage you to review the content you have posted to Facebook to make sure that you have not posted any other infringing content, as it is our policy to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers when appropriate.
For more information about intellectual property, please visit our Help Center at https://www.facebook.com/help/370657876338359/.
The Facebook Team
The saga of Fire Cider continues….
I wish to thank you all for your ongoing support. It’s been amazing to see how many people have mobilized over this issue and who are willing to support free ownership of Fire Cider. To me this issue is larger than just fire cider. However, in this moment it is most important that the name “Fire Cider” be returned to its rightful owners, the herbal community, many who have been making, using, and selling Fire Cider longer than Shire City Herbals has been in existence. When I first made Fire Cider, named it such, and taught hundreds of other people how to make it through my books, videos, classes, and conferences, I never imagined for a moment that anyone would think they could claim it as their own, or worse, deny others the right to sell it.
I believe in trademark laws, and I believe in supporting the success of small and large ~ yes, large ~ businesses as well but only if they demonstrate the ethics and integrity that have been part of the herbal community and movement since it was seeded in the early 1970’s. But, this is clearly a case where a company claimed ownership of something it neither created nor named. In fact, we have written documentation, including copyrights that Fire Cider was in existence in the 1980’s.
I read Shire City Herbals’ recent response to why they feel they have the right to keep the name they trademarked. Though I thought their letter was well written and very tactful, I also found it very interesting how they have rewritten the story in their best interest. In ‘their story’ they become the victims and the herbal community becomes the bullies who are trying to destroy ‘the small business that puts food on their table’. Though, yes, sadly there have been accusations and less than positive messages hurled from both sides, Shire City Herbals fails to mention the thousands of thoughtful well written emails/letters supporting their business but requesting they drop the trademark and suggesting viable win/win solutions.
They have also failed to mention that when they sent out the cease sales letters, that it meant that other small companies who counted on the sales of Fire Cider to put ‘food on their tables’ no longer could do so. And further, they failed to mention that there are companies who have been selling Fire Cider at farmers markets, local food stores, online, and through their catalogues far longer than Shire City Herbals has been in business. What happens to these companies when they get their cease sales letters?
It was interesting to read in an earlier email from the Shire folks that Dana had learned to make Fire Cider from his grandmother, who he claims fed it to him as a small child. Dana has stated on his blog that he learned about the name Fire Cider from his roommate who was studying at the Southwest Institute for Healing Arts. That the name came from the “herbal underground”. If he did learn about it in his studies than they knowingly trademarked something that wasn’t truly their own.
Finally, in ‘their story’ they claim they are the protectors of the name Fire Cider and trademarked it so that other larger companies wouldn’t grab it. This seems to be one of their main arguments for holding onto the name. I appreciate that Shire City Herbals feels protective of ‘their’ name and wants to protect big companies from grabbing the trademark but we propose that there is a wiser, fairer and better option, one that benefits everyone, not just their company. From their lenses, they become the crusaders for herbal medicine bringing the knowledge of fire cider and its benefits to the masses, ignoring the hundreds of people that have been doing this quite successfully before them. No one denies their success, but they are following in the footsteps of a huge movement started long before they sent out the first announcement of their company or trademarked their first product.
Perhaps this whole discussion is tied into the intellectual property rights of the herbal community, much like the property rights of indigenous people? Who has a right to ‘own’ these formulas and claim title to names that have been used by thousands of people? What’s the future of popular products/names like Zoom Balls, Kava Chai, Healing Salve, Kloss’s Liniment, or even Elderberry Syrup? Will they too get claimed and tied up in private ownership? It’s an interesting and challenging process. Let’s do what we can to get Fire Cider back so that other companies can sell it in their local farmers markets, local stores, online and in catalogues. Shire City Herbal folks can of course continue as well, but should do so under a trademark of their own unique name like Shire Fire Cider or whatever they choose.
In addition to addressing the issues with Fire Cider, let’s do something bigger. Let’s do what we can to create a legal safe haven, or an ‘Herbally Owned’ trademark (thanks to Sara Katz for this one), where we can safeguard Fire Cider and other popular ‘public’ formulas so this doesn’t occur again. All of this time and energy is well spent, I feel, if we can intentionally create a way to ensure that all herbalists will have equal access to our herbal traditions now and in the generations to come.
This is a great wake up call! I have appointed a core team that I entrust to lead us through this, we continue to need your support however you are able to give it. Let’s go for it, together!
With you in herbal ways,
> Contact your local stores to inform them of your thoughts on this issue. We are asking people to continue to communicate their concerns in a direct and respectful manner.
> Submit any information you might have through the centralized submission form http://bit.ly/1dHUjtO
> Continue to share the petition http://chn.ge/1nKmS2o
> Volunteer your time and expertise http://bit.ly/1fxN5eF
> Watch this page for the most up to date official information
STAY TUNED FOR:
> Public information available regarding any new developments in legal action.
> Information on details regarding a potential fundraising campaign.
> Printable materials to provide to your local stores, including recipe cards, fliers and takeaways.