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Popular story telling platform sues for plagiarism

‘Humans of Bombay’,a popular Mumbai-based storytelling platform with over 2 million followers is facing a lot of criticism for filing a lawsuit against ‘People of India'(a rival storytelling online platform with 1.5 million followers),accusing it of violating it’s copyright.

The founder of ‘Humans of Bombay’,Karishma Mehta filed a case of plagiarism against POI (People of India) saying that the latter had copied the style,concept,content and even the photographs of her initiative.

The Delhi High Court, meanwhile, took note of the matter and issued a notice to People of India on September 18. Justice Prathiba Singh, hearing the case, observed that there seemed to be substantial imitation and in some cases, the photos were identical. The court has scheduled the next hearing for October 11.

The irony, of one entrepreneur blatantly plagiarizing an international business model and then suing another for copying them is cynically hilarious.

An unexpected spin-off

Once the news of lawsuit got out,on 23 September 2023,the founder of ‘Humans of New York’,Brandon Stanton shared his disappointment by on X by saying,”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(Humans of New York). But you can’t be suing people for what I’ve forgiven you for.”

This sparked a discussion on social media about the issue.

Brandon Stanton also got support from the netizens who critisized ‘Humans of Bombay’ for stealing his format and making money out of it.

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On the same day,Humans of Bombay swiftly hit back on X, accusing Stanton of launching a “cryptic assault” against their efforts to protect “their intellectual property.”

They tweeted,” Dear Brandon, like the numerous Humans of chapters around the world, we appreciate and understand the power of storytelling. It’s therefore surprising that an insinuation of attacking our efforts to protect our intellectual property has been made in this manner, especially without a complete understanding of the case’s background.”

They even added,” “Perhaps, before jumping to conclusions in this matter, you should acquaint yourself with the details of the case and the objectives that HOB(Humans of Bombay) is striving to achieve. HOB firmly supports the power of storytelling, but it must be done with honesty and ethics. We have sent you an email requesting a conversation to provide further details. We have faith in the honorable court of India and urge patience to let the legal process unfold after hearing all sides of the matter. Best regards, Humans of Bombay”

Abibas suing Adidas

Karishma Mehta is heavily trolled by the netizens. One of the netizen commented on the platform X,”Humans of Bombay has sued People of India for copying Humans of New York who they copied first.That’s like Abibas fighting with Abidas to decide who’s the real fake Adidas”

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An old video of Karishma Mehta surfaced online where she described that the idea of HoB came ‘out of blue’. Netizens critisized knowing that it is far away from the truth.

Stanton calls out Humans of Bombay

Stanton called out Humans Of Bombay for commercialising the art of storytelling.“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. All my income has come from books of my work, speeches I have given, and Patreon.

I cannot provide an informed opinion on the intricacies of copyright law, but I do have an opinion on what it means to be an artist. Beautiful art can make money, there is nothing wrong with that. But when art begins with a profit motive, it ceases to become art. And it becomes a product. I welcome anyone who is using the ‘Humans of concept to express something true and beautiful about their community. I do not identify with anyone who is using it for the sake of creating a certain lifestyle for themselves.”,he tweeted on X.

Many X users came out in support of the author and also heavily censured Humans Of Bombay CEO Karishma Mehta. “The difference between @humansofny & @HumansOfBombay is comically dystopian. Brandon could have easily been a billionaire by now. He only “monetizes” his HoNY fame to raise funds for others. Karishma is aggressively & arrogantly entitled about wanting to make a lot of money,” wrote an X user.

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Karishma Mehta talk about her upbringing

In the now-infamous video, Mehta candidly discussed her upbringing, which involved a family that generously invested in her education and even sent her abroad to study.

In the video, she can be seen talking about how she has heard the word ‘privilege’ attached to her fairly often. She says, “I am privileged..in the sense that I come from a family that sent me abroad to study, that invested a lot in my education.” She also explained how she started Humans of Bombay with a loan worth Rs 1 Lakh. The thought did not go that well with people on X and soon she became the target of trollers.

An X user wrote,”She’s the whose who of Bombay’s elite circle. I think she should shut up. She herself at some point accepted it was found roaming around in the streets of Bombay after her masters; which means she did not use her degree to apply for jobs – that’s privilege.”

People called out the page for featuring exploitative takes on the underprivileged and amassing massive revenue in the process.

Humans of Bombay made 6.78 crores of revenue last year’s and 3.2 crores of profits by sharing one story at a time.

It is believed that this controversy will affect the branding of Humans of Bombay.

Sources: www.indianexpress.com

:www.outlookindia.com

By ,Sanjana Wagh

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