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.
Laboratoires Boiron srl (Italian arm of Boiron)
The Chief Executive Officer
Dott.ssa Silvia Nencioni
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