The English translation of the letter sent by Boiron threatening the Italian blogger

After the publication of my news piece on the British Medical Journal about the Italian blog blogzero.it threatened by Boiron Italy, that ignited an International Streisand effect, several colleagues all over the world wrote about the issue, and some asked for an English translation of the letter.

Here is an informal translation of the threatening letter sent by Boiron Italy to Italian blogger Samuele Riva (translated by Fabio Turone, as a service for the science writers’ community).

The letter signed by the CEO Silvia Nencioni was sent to the Internet provider, and threatened both the provider and the blogger of bringing them to court in case they did not comply immediately with their requests.

The language contains a lot of lawyer jargon, that I tried to simplify, saving the meaning: take everything with a grain of salt (and ask if I was not clear enough).

On the letterhead of Boiron Italy.

Subject: Web site «Blogzero.it» – Libelous content – Intimation and request of removal

From the NIC (Network Information Center) it appears that you manage the domain «blogzero.it», registered on the name of Mr Samuele Riva.

On 13 July 2011, on the website appeared an article under the headline: «Homoeopathy: myth and legend», signed by «Samuele», libelous of homoeopathy and our Company.

In particular, in such article, announced as the first of a series, after expressing untrue and unfounded opinions on homoeopathy, appeared a photograph of two tubes of our medicine «Oscillococcinum» with the following caption: «The Nothing-at-all that according to Boiron treats flu… diluted 200K it doesn’t contain any molecule of active principle!».

Later, on 27 July 2011, another article is published under the headline «Homoeopathy: myth and legend (2)», signed by «Samuele», again libelous of homoeopathy and our medicine «Oscillococcinum».

In fact, under the picture of our medicine the following caption was published: «Seriously damages the intelligence (of those buying it)».

The article goes on citing our medicine and our Company and announcing a new article on the issue.

The publication over the Internet of such messages, untrue and derogatory of homoeopathy and our Company and our medicine seriously tarnishes the reputation of our Company, as described in the Article 595 of the penal code, and causes serious damages which could be recovered in a civil court.

You, being the manager of the blog through which those messages have been and continue to be diffused, are responsible for the control over the content, and hence you are co-responsible both from the penal and the civil point of view, of the defamation undercourse.

In the light of all that has been written, with this letter we intimate/order you – in your quality of manager and hence responsible subject for the domain blogzero.it – to remove immediately and, in any case, no later than 24 hours after receiving this letter all articles signed «Samuele», including every picture of our medicine and any and all references to our medicines and our company.

 

In addition, we warn you against any unauthorised use within your blog of pictures of our products and the logos of our Company.

 

We finally warn you to prevent Mr Samuele, author of the cited libelous articles, to access blogzero.it.

Missing such acts/if you don’t comply we reserve the right of any further actions to defend our rights and interests.

With Regards

Laboratoires Boiron srl (Italian arm of Boiron)

The Chief Executive Officer

Dott.ssa Silvia Nencioni

13 Risposte

  1. […] The untranslated letter can be found here and here. An “informal translation” can be found here. […]

  2. They don’t just want the articles removed, they want every post by samuele deleted and his domain blocked?

    That is outrageously over the top.

    • That’s one of the points in which the “legal jargon” is involved.

      The text says that.
      The CEO that I interviewed insisted in saying that for a lawyer (an Italian one) it’s clear that the request only applies in case the blogger doesn’t remove the offending pages.
      But in my (non lawyer) ear there is still something that doesn’t hold water: they write to the internet provider, pretending to hold him responsible for what is written there, and ask him to act.
      The company had several ways to contact the blogger: from commenting in the blog, to using the contact form, to asking the provider to forward a communication.
      The blogger is not even listed in CC, so I dont understand how that request (of totally blocking access to the blog to Samuele Riva) might depend on the reaction of the blogger to a request he is not even informed of…

      In my view, that letter is badly written, whatever the Italian laws might say about the use of the picture and the sarcastic/offending terms present in the original posts.

      (Since I am not a professional translator of legal texts, I called my translation “informal”, just to later notice that others proposed translatons that confused the matter even more, ignoring that in Italian the verb curare is not “to cure” but rather “to treat”; Martin Robbins followed that translation and totally misrepresented the issue…).

      This comment has been edited for clarity on Aug 21, at 11:30 pm

  3. […] commenti Anonymous su Giorgio Merlo: vergognati…Fabio Turone su The English translation of the…anarchic teapot su The English translation of the…Another translation … su The English […]

  4. […] would have you done if you had received such a letter as the Pharmaceutical firm Boiron sent to an Italian blogger? For myself I would have been […]

  5. Hi, I just wrote a post about the story here:
    http://philippehavinh.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/boiron/

    Blogger should feel indebted to you for defending their liberty of speaking!

    • Well, I think that everyone was defending everyone’s freedom of speech (even if I must admit – as a professional journalist – that some bloggers misuse such freedom with sloppines and carelessness).
      Of course it is an enormous pleasure to see that a single article you write can contribute so much to a worldwide reaction.

  6. […] tekst malog blogera, pa se odlučio na pravnu akciju. Samueleov internet poslužitelj je zaprimio prijeteće pismo od strane Boirona, u kojem se od poslužitelja zahtijeva trenutačno uklanjanje svake slike i […]

  7. […] vorzugehen. Die Übersetzung des Schreibens aus dem Italienischen ins Englische kann man hier einsehen, die schönsten Stellen hier noch einmal auf […]

  8. […] altfel va fi dat in judecata si va suporta rigorile legii. Scrisoarea de la Boiron in engleza e aici. Italianul nu s-a panicat si a facut toata povestea publica. Totul a devenit viral si a ajuns chiar […]

  9. […] Física de película lleva una temporada denunciando, y apoyando a los que denuncian públicamente, todos aquellos intentos por vender pseudociencia (o nocienciaenabsoluto) a peso de oro. Entre otras cosas, hablé sobre la homeopatía. Le he dedicado dos posts. El primero, cuando le di un repaso a cierto blog de farmacia, y la segunda para intentar explicar y alertar sobre la homeopatía. En estos días he aprendido mucho sobre el mundo de la homeopatía y lo que se mueve detrás. Iba a lanzar una andanada al respecto. Luego pensé en dejarlo para mejor ocasión, que tengo muchas cosas en cartera. Pero no se puede ser bueno. La homeopatía está ampliando sus horizontes, y no solamente vende soluciones (por llamarlas de algún modo) a los adultos … sino que ahora también la están tomando con los niños. Una idea genial: a fin de cuentas, nada mejor que coger a los futuros consumidores a edad temprana. Algo debí haber sospechado el pasado día 7, cuando vi y tuiteé este bonito cartel que adornaba el escaparate de una farmacia de Granada: Que majo el enano, ¿verdad? Pues resulta que, después de un fin de semana en el campo, mi Arturito (edad: 10 años) pilla el típico trancazo. Mi esposa se lo lleva a nuestro centro de salud, y lo ve el pediatra … no diré “de toda la vida” pero casi, un tipo amable tirando a encantador. No diré su nombre, ni el de la clínica, por no perjudicarles. Lo interesante del caso es que, tras las recetas de siempre, escribe algo más en el tratamiento. Véanlo aquí, con bolígrafo: Coffea Tosta es un preparado homeopático. Se lo sugirió el médico a mi esposa para que el niño pueda dormir tranquilo. Ella, que me tiene calado, se abstuvo de comprárselo. Bien por mi Belén. Por supuesto, ese producto entrará en mi casa por encima de mi cadáver. Pero ya puestos, indagué un poco sobre ese Coffea Tosta. Con ese nombre, parece algo salido del Starbucks más cercano. Resulta que, en efecto, el Coffea (Tosta y Cruda, que hay dos) tiene como elemento homeopático el café. La dosis que nos recomendaron para nuestro hijo es la 30CH, un grado de dilución que, como ya comenté, es aproximadamente equivalente a disolver una sola molécula en todos los océanos de la Tierra. Coffea Tosta es un producto que fabrican diversas empresas. En España, la más habitual (al menos, la que yo he encontrado más a menudo por Internet) es fabricada y vendida por Laboratorios Boiron. Sí, esos laboratorios Boiron. Los mismos que han comprado alquilado patrocinado una cátedra en la Universidad de Zaragoza por el módico precio de 26.000 euros al año (presupuestos UZ 2011, pag. 43). Los mismos que se muestran tan simpáticos con los que saben contar. […]

  10. […] Si les interesa leer el contenido de la carta, aquí tienen el original en italiano y una traducción al inglés. Por el momento, blogzero se niega a plegarse, y el famoso efecto Streisand está aireando […]

  11. […] industria homeopática lo ha intentado casi todo. No ha llegado al extremo de amenazar a blogueros pero es lo único que les falta a día de hoy, ya que en el […]

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