Humans of Bombay Faces Backlash After Copyright Lawsuit Sparks Controversy

Humans of Bombay (HoB), a renowned storytelling platform, has found itself in the midst of a social media storm following its decision to file a copyright lawsuit against its competitor, People of India (POI). The controversy has even drawn the attention of Brandon Stanton, the founder of Humans of New York (HoNY), who expressed his disappointment with HoB’s legal action.

HoNY’s Brandon Stanton took to social media to share his thoughts on the matter. In a tweet on Saturday, he said, “I’ve stayed quiet on the appropriation of my work because I think @HumansOfBombay shares important stories, even if they’ve monetized far past anything I’d feel comfortable doing on HoNY. But you can’t be suing people for what I’ve forgiven you for.”

The copyright dispute arose after HoB accused POI of infringing on its intellectual property by replicating its unique storytelling format and publishing similar content. HoB alleged that POI had used images and videos from its platform without permission, effectively mimicking its business model, including the stories themselves.

The Delhi High Court took cognizance of the case and issued a notice to POI on September 18. Justice Prathiba Singh, presiding over the case, noted that there appeared to be significant imitation, and in some instances, the photographs were identical. The court has scheduled the next hearing for October 11.

HoB, founded in 2014 by Karishma Mehta, is well-known for its distinctive storytelling approach, documenting the lives of individuals in Mumbai and sharing their stories through social media posts and a website.

Brandon Stanton’s post condemning HoB’s legal action has sparked a wave of responses on social media, with many users criticizing the storytelling platform for resorting to litigation. Some have called on HoB to drop the lawsuit and exhibit the same generosity it received from HoNY.

In response to the criticism, HoB issued a statement on Twitter, suggesting that Brandon Stanton should have acquainted himself with the details of the case and the company’s objectives before making public remarks. The statement emphasized HoB’s commitment to honest and ethical storytelling and expressed faith in the Indian legal system to address the matter.

The controversy surrounding HoB’s copyright lawsuit against POI has ignited a robust debate on social media, underscoring the challenges and complexities of intellectual property and creative expression in the digital age.