Humans of Bombay (HOB), India's most popular storytelling platform founded by Karishma Mehta, has filed a lawsuit against another storytelling platform named 'People of India' in the Delhi High Court for copyright infringement.
People of India is a platform similar to Humans of Bombay, and both tell stories of people across the country. Soon after the news of the lawsuit broke out, People of India posted and asked users to connect with them on X (formerly Twitter).
It's worth noting that Humans of Bombay is also conceptually similar to Humans of New York, founded by 39-year-old blogger Brandon Stanton.
How did Brandon Stanton react to HOB's lawsuit against People of India?
In response, Brandon Stanton criticised Karishma Mehta founded Humans of Bombay's move and said the platform can not sue people for doing something that he forgave them for i.e. copying Humans of New York.
"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," posted the American blogger.
I’ve always loved @HumansofAdam because Debra has stayed so true to the art, and has never viewed the stories that she shares as the “front end” of a business
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. https://t.co/0jZM05YyTt— Brandon Stanton (@humansofny) September 23, 2023
Following this, HOB posted a reply on X (formerly Twitter) to Brandon, expressing disappointment over what he perceived as a hasty and uninformed judgment regarding their efforts to protect intellectual property.
"As with the hundreds of Humans of chapters around the world, we love and understand the power of storytelling. 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. Perhaps, before jumping the gun on this matter, you ought to have equipped yourself with the information about the case and also about what HOB is trying to achieve," the letter read.
HOB is all for the power of story telling. But it should be done honestly and ethically. We have sent you an email, requesting a conversation to provide further details. We believe in the honourable court of India and will request patience for law to take it's own course after hearing ALL facts of the matter, it added.
What is Humans of New York?
Founded in November 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, "Humans of New York" (HONY) began as a photoblog and book of street portraits, collecting interviews from the streets of New York City four years before the launch of HOB (Humans of Bombay).
Some of the notable works of HONY include interviews with US President Barack Obama and coverage of the European Migrant Crisis in partnership with UNHCR. HONY also engages in philanthropic activities and has launched a number of charitable efforts over the years.
A brief intro on Humans of Bombay
Founded in 2014 by Forbes-featured Karishma Mehta, Humans of Bombay (Humans of Bombay Stories Pvt Ltd) documents the stories of individuals and showcases them through its social media pages and website.
So far, The platform has covered many notable stories, including Ratan Tata, PM Narendra Modi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rajkummar Rao, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher, Kartik Aaryan, Sunil Chhetri, Milind Soman, Sapna Bhavnani, Kajol and Ajay Devgan.
How did the internet react to HOB's lawsuit against People of India?
The internet reacted similarly to how Brandon Stanton reacted to HOB's lawsuit against People of India (POI Social Media Pvt Ltd).
"@Karishma_Mehta5, this is not done. You must drop the lawsuit. If you've taken inspiration from Humans Of New York and they have been kind, you must afford the same liberty to others," a user replied to Brandon's tweet.
@Karishma_Mehta5, this is not done. You must drop the lawsuit. If you've taken inspiration from Humans Of New York and they have been kind, you must afford the same liberty to others.— Zucker Doctor (@DoctorLFC) September 23, 2023
"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," another user replied.
While the negative criticism hasn't stopped, many people continue to tag founder Karishma Mehta and Humans of Bombay, expressing their dislike for the lawsuit they filed against People of India, founded by Drishti Saxena.
Drop the lawsuit, repay the kindness https://t.co/H9rYYC6tt9— Vibin Babuurajan 👋 (@vibinbaburajan) September 23, 2023