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Battle of Storytellers

The Humans of Bombay (HoB) and the People of India (PoI) are both storytelling platforms that share stories of people and places. These accounts are sometimes textual and are sometimes in the form of audio and visual formats, like YouTube videos or reels on Facebook and Instagram.

The ‘Humans of’ platforms that have arisen subsequent to the ‘Humans of New York’ (HoNY) platform, which was introduced by Brandon Stanton in 2010, include the HoB. Shortly after its debut, HoNY gained enormous popularity as a platform for sharing New York-based human-centered stories. Several ‘Humans of’ platforms have emerged globally as a result of the effort. Karishma Mehta launched HoB as a Facebook page in 2014, and it quickly gained popularity. Over time, it developed into a multiplatform storytelling platform that is now available on all primary social media networks. Later, PoI was launched, which is along the same lines as HoB and HoNY.

Brandon Stanton expressed his disapproval of “Humans of Bombay” on the social media platform, X, formerly Twitter. He said that the group had sued another company for something he had already forgiven it for.

HoB’s plea claims that PoI used videos from Humans of Bombay’s YouTube channel and Instagram account without authorization, infringing on their copyright. It asserted that the PoI had unlawfully appropriated HoB’s distinctive storytelling format. The HoB argued in the Delhi High Court that PoI had developed an “imitative platform” by replicating its content.

The focal point of the discussions on art ethics and commercialization took a turn towards alleged copyright infringement in the case between HoB and PoI. HoB took the matter to the Delhi High Court, accusing PoI of replicating its content in various ways and sought an injunction. HoB’s argument revolved around PoI interviewing the same individuals, uploading identical photos, and mirroring their content presentation, creating what HoB terms as an “imitative platform.” Court filings revealed HoB’s claim that PoI not only replicated a significant number of images and videos but also their business model and stories. The lawsuit further emphasized that PoI’s approach to subjects echoes those depicted on HoB’s platform, substantiating the accusation of imitation. The lawsuit illustrated a side-by-side comparison, showcasing HoB’s original posts alongside nearly identical ones from PoI, where differences are only found in captions while the photos remain indistinguishable in some instances.

the Delhi High Court concluded the copyright dispute initiated by Humans of Bombay against People of India after a mutual agreement between the involved parties. Both entities committed to refraining from utilizing each other’s photos, literary creations, videos, and creative expressions. The court clarified that while it doesn’t prohibit anyone from running a platform like Humans of New York or Humans of Bombay, unauthorized usage of images and content owned by one platform and used by another constitutes copyright infringement. The court concluded that there cannot be a monopoly in such creative domains, highlighting that while ideas themselves are not copyrightable, the way they are expressed can be subject to law. This ruling sets a precedent in delineating the boundaries of creative freedom and intellectual property rights within the storytelling and content creation sphere.Top of Form

The case between Humans of Bombay and the People of India shed light on the thin line between inspiration and infringement in the realm of storytelling platforms. The resolution underscored the importance of respecting creative boundaries and highlighted the nuanced legalities surrounding artistic content in the digital age.





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