Humans Of Bombay vs People Of India: Why Did HoB File a Suit Against POI?

Humans of Bombay, a popular social media account, has filed a lawsuit against the People of India( POI) handle for copyright infringement. HoB has also alleged that POI has copied its content, tagline and even the logos for their own stories. 

Copyright infringement means using someone’s copyrighted material and content without their permission. This includes literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work. Copyrights are protected under the Intellectual Property Rights in India. 

Coming back to the HOB, for the unversed, Humans of Bombay was started off as a Facebook page by Karishma Mehta in 2014,in which they shared the heartfelt and inspiring stories of the people residing in Bombay in a photoblog manner. In 2 years, the platform became so popular that it gained around 2 million followers on Instagram. 

The Delhi High Court on September 18 issued a notice to POI in which it expressed its concern over the alleged imitation. This happened after the HOB filed a lawsuit in the same court seeking for a permanent injunction and recovery for the loss of damages incurred because of POI. 

Is HOB an imitation of ‘Humans of New York’? 

HoNY, the Humans New York was established in 2010. Amidst all this controversy, Brandon Stanton, the founder of HoNY has expressed his concern on this issue. He took to his official X handle and showed his disappointment. He wrote “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.”

After this, on 23 September the HOB issued an open letter on X in which they addressed Brandon’s issue. 

It read “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.”

Further they wrote “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”. 

When is the next hearing? 

The Delhi High Court has scheduled the next hearing for October 11 to look into the claims made by the Humans of Bombay. Brandon’s statement has stirred a controversy on the internet as the netizens are criticizing HoB for infringing someone else’s copyright and then suing another platform for doing the same with them. 

Here are the reactions of some netizens on X (Twitter) 

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