Apparently the legal team at LVMH decided that the postings were too accusatory and decided to bring out the big guns, reporting said postings and demanding they're taken down; otherwise Octavian's account would get deleted by Blogger.
Octavian has posted about the incident and about his decision on his blog, but I wanted to bring some questions to you, hopefully igniting another stimulating discussion:
1.The function of reporting a blog on Blogger exists for the following reasons: pornographic content without prior warning (non applicable in this case), copyright infringement (non applicable in this case) and libel/defamation. It's the last bit that was considered applicable according to LVMH but non applicable according to my humble opinion and here's why. The Merriam Webster definition of libel states: "A written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression. A statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt." Nota bene the "unjustly unfavorable" and "without just cause". But the thing is Octavian posted info and photos of the comparison! Besides Idylle by Coty is mentioned in Art & Fragrance Rapport Annuel 2007 as well as in Perfume Intelligence Encyclopedia. Therefore it's nothing new, it's in the public domain for long and he was the one connecting the dots. Does it transpire an adage of the "let sleeping dogs lie" nature? Is this a case of "all is well if no one points it out for others to see"??
2.Other people in the French blogosphere, such as Jeanne from auparfum.com and Mechant Loup of Olfactorum, had posted the preview of the new Idylle bottle and presentation before the original release (Grain de Musc reports the original source was
Besides, how far is "too far"? And most importantly WHO decides on that last bit? As a Greek by birth, the place where democracy was originally conceived and founded, this is deeply scathing to my very ethos, to my very core. In times where E-democracy is manifesting itself, when the Internet and the blogosphere are viewed as a platform and delivery medium for tools that help to eliminate some of the distance constraints in direct democracy, this is deeply against the times and denotes lack of grasping of current sensibilities. Which brings me to my next question.
3.Who in their right minds thought that such an action was a sensible move in PR terms? The likeable madame Sylvaine Delacourte, artistic director of Guerlain, has been receiving lots of flack for the recent creations of the house (and I admit although I personally liked some, I didn't like all of them) but she was unaware of the Blogger intimidation and to her credit she has confirmed so publicly on Octavian's blog! Why is there such a lack of communication and handling within the firm? This makes a highly placed person feel like a puppet and all the rest of us like viewers of a train-wreck and I am sure she does not appreciate it, nor do we. This also shatters the wonderful prospects we have tried to establish between the blogosphere and the historic house, starting a dialogue in which for once we could be heard!
After all, brands do read us and since Guerlain recently copyrighted the name Loin du Tout just after our review (I am eagerly expecting Lancôme to follow with Kypre), then it means that we blogggers can provide some sort of direction even inadevertedly. Is it worth losing that?
4.What is most alarming is not that big firms have gone after bloggers. No, this has happened again with Pere de Pierre and some objection regarding the authoriship of Lutens fragrances; this has happened to The Non Blonde when she posted about receiving some intimidation from PR companies regarding a lipstick; and there is also the infamous incident of independent perfumer Liz Zorn and her scent name "Peace" objected to by Bond No.9 and their own copyrighted "Scent of Peace". What is most alarming is that it was Blogger involved, a Google platform that has happily catered to the lion's share of blogging writers who wanted to self-publish due to its ease, good infrastructure and free publishing status. Accepting grosso modo a complaint without some logical delay in fair evaluation of the reported blogger and his specific posts equates accepting the word of the behemoth (or anyone really) against the little guy. And this means that there is a shortcoming of democracy once again...I find that last part most devious, most obscure and ~aside any overdramatisation~ truly alarming!
Let me terminate in a very American parable: As Benjamin Franklin was exiting after writing the U.S. constitution, a woman asked him "Sir, what have you given us?"; he responded "A republic ma'am, if you can keep it".
If we can keep it...