Humans of Bombay (HoB), a popular social media platform founded in 2014, has filed a lawsuit against a similar online storytelling portal called 'People of India' (PoI) over copyright infringement.
HoB has reportedly alleged that PoI has copied its content, including its logo, tagline, and the format it primarily uses for its stories.
According to Business Today, HoB has filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court, seeking damages as well as an injunction to prevent PoI from using its content. The Delhi High Court on 18 September, issued a notice to PoI expressing concern over allegations of significant imitation.
'Humans of New York' Founder Reacts
Amidst the controversy, Brandon Stanton, the founder of Humans of New York (HoNY), which was established in 2010, took to social media to express his disappointment.
Brandon tweeted on X, "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."
Have a look at his tweet here:
'Humans of Bombay' Issues Open Letter
In response to Stanton's criticism, the HoB issued an open letter on X (previously Twitter) on 23 September, addressing the issue.
The letter stated, "It’s therefore shocking that a cryptic assault on our efforts to protect our intellectual property is made in this manner, especially without understanding the background of the case."
"HoB is all for the power of storytelling, and it should be done honestly and ethically. We believe in the honourable court of India and will request patience for the law to take its own course after hearing all facts of the matter," the statement further read.
Have a look at it here:
HoB was founded by Karishma Mehta and started off as a Facebook (now META) page that shared stories of people across Mumbai in a photoblog manner. The platform soon rose to popularity and gained over two million followers over the years.
Brandon Stanton's Final Statement
Following HoB's open letter, HoNY's founder Brandon Stanton took to his Instagram to put out his final statement on the matter. He captioned the post with, "Was just asked for comment by the Washington Post regarding a certain court case involving my work, but which thankfully doesn’t involve me. I thought it would be worthwhile to share the statement here."
Take a look:
How Netizens Reacted to the Controversy
Several netizens criticised HoB amidst the controversy. Tagging the founder of HoB, one of the users wrote on X, "@Karishma_Mehta5, this is not done. You must drop the lawsuit. If you've taken inspiration from the Humans of New York and they have been kind, you must afford the same liberty to others."
Another user wrote, "This is ridiculous. What do you mean copied your business model.. when you were also inspired by others. By that logic no competitor can start a similar business .. there is enough room for everyone. This casts you in negative light and makes you look narrow minded and small minded."
Here are some other reactions:
As per reports, the Delhi High Court has now scheduled the next hearing regarding the imitation allegations against PoI on 11 October.