Last week, ever since the Delhi High Court issued summons to People of India in a copyright infringement suit filed by storytelling platform Humans of Bombay, the Instagram page HOB has seen it all; hatred, trolls and judgment.
The netizens didn't take long to remind HOB founder Karishma Mehta that her idea itself was an appropriation of Humans of New York in the first place. A fact reinforced by HONY founder Brandon Stanton in a not very flattering post.
"I've stayed quiet on the appropriation of my work because I think Humans of Bombay 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 sheer audacity of a rip-off suing another one struck a chord with everyone and the social media trial has been playing out in public.
Refusing to blink, in its reply, HOB said, "Dear Brandon, As with hundreds of Humans of Chapters around the world, we 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 understand the background of the case." It ended the open letter by saying that they believe in the honorable court of India and will request patience for law to take its own course.
However, social media platforms did not display much patience and questioned the, "intellectual property" part when it comes to stories of human strength, human struggle and humanity. "Shouldn't she be encouraging more such pages, rather than being dictated by profits and money?" Many called out the founder for her refusal to even acknowledge the appropriation of the HONY page.
What Humans of Bombay contends?
Without divulging many details to the public, in its lawsuit, Humans of Bombay contended that People of India completely replicated its business model. It further alleges that People of India completely replicated its business model and is approaching the very same subjects. Sharing a link to the High Court's order, Twitter user (now X) Raunaq Bali shared, "Just went through the 1st order of the Delhi High Court in this suit. POI has been copying HOB's images and captions and passing it off as their own. PIO is not appropriating the idea like HOB did with HONY. They are actually just copying all of HOB's content, hence the IP suit."