Humans of Bombay sues People of India, creator of OG platform slams the movetext_fields
In a recent legal battle that has captured the attention of social media users, Humans of Bombay (HOB), a prominent storytelling platform, has filed a lawsuit against People of India (POI) for alleged copyright infringement.
The case revolves around the unauthorised use of content from HOB's Instagram account and YouTube channel by POI, as well as the alleged imitation of HOB's distinctive storytelling format.
Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court is presiding over the case, responding to a plea filed by HOB, which accuses POI of infringing upon its copyrighted material. The lawsuit asserts that POI not only used HOB's films without permission but also replicated HOB's unique storytelling style without authorisation.
Advocate Abhishek Malhotra, representing Humans of Bombay, argues that POI has not only copied his client's business model but has also engaged in unfair competition by intentionally publishing content that closely resembles HOB's popular material.
The plea states, "…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."
However, the case does not have the support of the original creator who came up with the storytelling style and built a platform based on it. He took to X to point out that Humans of Bombay's storytelling style is not unique but copied from his own platform Humans of New York.
Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York (HONY), weighed in on the copyright infringement lawsuit by posting his perspective on the matter on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
Stanton acknowledged that Humans of Bombay had drawn inspiration from HONY but had not faced legal challenges in the past. He expressed his willingness to forgive the appropriation in the past but questioned the decision to file suits against other platforms.
Stanton wrote in his tweet, "I've stayed quiet on the appropriation of my work because I think @HumansOfBombay shares important stories, even if they've monetised far past anything I'd feel comfortable doing on HONY. But you can't be suing people for what I've forgiven you for."
In response to Stanton's tweet, Humans of Bombay (HOB) issued two posts on X.
In the first post, they expressed their sentiments, stating, "Dear Brandon, 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."
They went on to add, "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 to take its own course after hearing ALL parts of the matter. Best, Humans of Bombay."
In their second post, Humans of Bombay (HOB) shared images of the legal suit and accompanied them with the following statement: "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. PFA."
The lawsuit has started a debate about intellectual property rights and the boundaries of inspiration in the world of storytelling on social media platforms. Many social media users are also slamming Humans of Bombay for making money out of "sob stories" and going after other platforms for doing similar work.