After the news of Humans of Bombay suing the People of India, HOB recently faced backlash from “Humans of New York”. Regarding the matter, Brandon Stanton tweeted,
“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 tweet had been making rounds on social media until HOB recently explained,
“We are grateful to HONY & Brandon for starting this storytelling movement. The suit is related to the IP in our posts & not about storytelling at all. We tried to address the issue amicably before approaching the Court, as we believe in protecting our team’s hard work.”
Current status of the lawsuit
In terms of where the lawsuit stands right now, Justice Pratibha Singh, a Delhi High Court judge is taking action against the plea filed by HOB. The Plea states that POI allegedly did copyright infringement of HOB’s content. They are also allegedly using the same storytelling format that is used by HOB.
According to the plea,
“…the similarities between the Infringing Content and the Plaintiff’s content not just constitutes infringement of copyright owned by the Plaintiff, but also, to passing off and unfair competition, as 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 also states that POI is “completely replicating its business model and even the stories themselves”.
Further reacting to the tweet made by the creator of HONY, HOB said,
“Perhaps, before jumping the gun on this matter, you ought to acquaint yourself with the information about the case and also about what HOB is trying to achieve. HOB is all for the power of storytelling. 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 the law take it’s own course after hearing ALL parts of the matter. Best, Humans of Bombay.”
Despite the clarification, the situation does not seem to get better any time soon. To put it simply, the netizens are not buying their clarification.
In the same thread, some are questioning HOB’s move to sue POI for the business model. One of the users tweeted,
“Your submission to the court says you are suing because POI replicated your business model. Which you initially plagiarized from HoNY.”
Another user clarified a part of the order that mentioned the business model. The user tweeted,
“In para 17 of the order, it is mentioned that the defendants copied the business model of Plaintiff (i.e. you) but the reality is that your organization stole the idea from someone else for monetary benefits.”
Finally, one more user said,
“Indian content creators don’t mind blatantly copying content and ideas from the west but they become “protectors of Intellectual property” when it comes to their own content, hypocrisy at it’s peak.”