“I’ve stayed quiet on the appropriation of my work because I think Humans Of Bombay shares important stories, even if they’ve monetised far past anything I’d feel comfortable doing on HONY,” he said.
“But you can’t be suing people for what I’ve forgiven you for.”
HOB filed a copyright infringement suit in the Delhi high court against the Instagram handle People of India and sought to restrain the page from appropriating what it claimed was its “unique format of storytelling”.
Abhishek Malhotra, the advocate for HOB, said the defendant had started the People of India page by hosting identical content. He asserted that the defendant had duplicated images and videos from HOB’s platform and incorporated them into their own platform.
The suit claimed People of India replicated the business model of Humans of Bombay.
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
“The defendants have, evidently, knowingly and deliberately, published content that is identical or substantially similar to the popular content comprised of the plaintiff’s works in an attempt to ride on the goodwill that has been painstakingly built by the plaintiff,” the plea read.
The suit claimed People of India has completely replicated the stories and the business model of Humans of Bombay.
“The defendants have, evidently, knowingly and deliberately, published content that is identical or substantially similar to the popular content comprised of plaintiffs works in an attempt to ride on goodwill that has been painstakingly built by the plaintiff,” the plea read.
Mr Stanton, 39, voiced his criticism of the company for taking legal action against another storytelling platform, all the while accusing them of copying his own original initiative.
Responding to Mr Stanton, HOB issued a statement on Saturday and said the founder of HONY “ought to have equipped” himself with information about the case and what the project aims to achieve before making those comments.
“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,” the statement read.
The HOB website states that its founder Karishma Mehta started the page in 2014 “as a simple Facebook page” and that “the intention was simple: to tell stories, to connect strangers with the emotion of, ‘You’re not alone.’”
“Humans of New York began as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants,” Mr Stanton states on his own website.
Earlier, Ms Mehta was criticised on social media over her alleged reluctance to recognise her privilege. She had addressed the accusations in an interview.
Please don’t call HOB founder privileged henceforth please pic.twitter.com/eQ2is0lkWc
— Ana De Friesmass ver 2.0 (@ka_fries2366) July 20, 2023
Humans of Bombay made 6.78 crores of revenue last year's aand 3.2 crores of Profits.
by sharing one story at a time. pic.twitter.com/Bmb0Yid2Ua
— Drunk Journalist (@drunkJournalist) September 24, 2023
In January 2019, several months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, HOB released a five-part interview featuring prime minister Narendra Modi.
Although the posts gained widespread attention and went viral on social media, they also sparked controversy, with many social media users accusing HOB of disseminating propaganda in favour of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.