Humans of New York, the popular storytelling platform, accused a Mumbai-based spinoff of “appropriating” its work after the latter filed a lawsuit in India alleging that a local competitor was copying its content.
(Bloomberg) — Humans of New York, the popular storytelling platform, accused a Mumbai-based spinoff of “appropriating” its work after the latter filed a lawsuit in India alleging that a local competitor was copying its content.
In a row that’s gone viral on social media, Humans of New York founder Brandon Stanton criticized Humans of Bombay for “sueing people for what I’ve forgiven you for,” and for monetizing its product for “the sake of creating a certain lifestyle.”
“For the last thirteen years I haven’t received a penny for a single story told on Humans of New York, despite many millions offered,” Stanton wrote in a Tuesday post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “When art begins with a profit motive, it ceases to become art.”
Humans of Bombay was founded in 2014 and features videos of Indians sharing often personal moments from their lives. The format is similar to Humans of New York, which was launched in 2010 as a photography project and has since been featured in several books.
The public tussle between the two companies started after Humans of Bombay filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Delhi against a competitor, People of India, alleging that the organization was copying “a large number of images and videos” from its page.
Stanton, when he learned of the lawsuit, posted on X that he hasn’t spoken up in the past about what he considers the appropriation of his work because Humans of Bombay shares important stories — even if it had “monetized far past anything I’d feel comfortable doing on HONY.”
The statement from Stanton evoked sharp responses against Humans of Bombay on X and Instagram. Many users criticized the founder of Humans of Bombay, Karishma Mehta, who has said that the idea for her organization came to her “out of the blue.”
In response to Stanton’s comments, Humans of Bombay issued a statement saying that the lawsuit relates to its intellectual property.
“Perhaps, before jumping the gun on this matter, you ought to have equipped yourself with the information about the case and also about what HOB is trying to achieve,” the statement said.
A Delhi court will hear the lawsuit filed by Humans of Bombay on Oct. 11.
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