Delhi HC bars Humans of Bombay and People of India from copying each other's work | Mint – Mint

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday restrained storytelling platform Humans of Bombay (HOB) and its rival People of India (POI) from copying each other’s work. 
The lawsuit, seeking an injunction against copyright infringement, was filed by Humans of Bombay against its competitor People of India.
A single bench of the court led by Justice Prabtibha M. Singh said both parties are prohibited from sharing each other’s original commissioned pictures, authored articles, and the specific manner and expression in which images are presented. However, the court clarified that if a person voluntarily shares the same picture with both parties, it does not amount to a copyright claim.
According to the court’s order, the case represents a classic instance of the conflict between idea and expression, where the idea may be the same, but the expression must differ for a copyright claim to be valid. The court emphasized that both parties agreed on certain terms.
Humans of Bombay accused its rival of copying their unique storytelling format and publishing identical content, alleging the use of images and videos without consent.
However, in a twist to the case, People of India responded by claiming that Humans of Bombay had copied content from another US-based platform called Humans of New York, with the founder of the latter, Brandon Stanton, confirming this on Twitter.
People of India also contended that the similarity in content was not due to copying but because people shared their stories and pictures with various platforms, including Humans of Bombay. They argued that their platform was not unique, as there were many similar platforms with names like Humans of Amsterdam, Humans of Bihar, and Humans of Jhansi.
In response, Humans of Bombay asserted that they were seeking a claim of copyright on the specific processes and methods they used to create content, including how they commissioned and presented photographs and conducted interviews. They argued that as joint owners of the photographs, they had the right to safeguard their content from copyright infringement, as long as their original compilation was not copied.
The court noted that both parties had agreed not to copy each other’s expressions and were not seeking damages from each other, leading to the conclusion of the legal suit.
Previously, the Delhi High Court had issued a notice in the case on 18 September due to the presence of identical content and summoned both parties.
The case had gained significant attention on social media, with both parties engaging in a public spat on platform X. 
The Humans of Bombay is a photo-based storytelling platform that was founded by writer and photographer Karishma Mehta in 2014. It has a following of 2.6 million on Instagram.
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