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‘Humans of New York’ founder issues statement amid copyright battle in India

Amidst the copyright lawsuit happening between ‘Humans of Bombay’ and ‘People of India,’ the founder of ‘Humans of New York,’ Brandon Stanton, has expressed his views regarding the ongoing court case.

In the statement posted last September 25, he said, “For the last 13 years I haven’t received a penny for a single story told on Humans of New York, despite many millions offered.”

He emphasized that he welcomes anyone who is using the ‘Humans of’ concept to “express something true and beautiful about their community” but he does not identify with anyone using it “to create a certain lifestyle for themselves.”

The issuance of the statement is to reiterate the goal of the said project and that is to highlight the stories of people. He said that there is nothing wrong with making money with beautiful art as long as the motive does not revolve around profit, otherwise, it loses its essence.

Humans of New York started as a photography project back in 2010. The primary goal was to take photographs of 10,000 New Yorkers on the street and create a complete catalog of the city’s inhabitants. 

People who support the founder and the page were quick to jump online and shared how this made an impact in their lives.

via Facebook

In the previous months, Humans of Bombay (HOB) filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court claiming that People of India (POI) was an “identical portal/service” that had “replicated a large number of images and videos” from its platform. ‘People of India’ are called for a hearing on October 11.

This caught Stanton’s attention and released a statement on X (former Twitter) saying “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.”

He ended his message by stating “you can’t be suing people for what I’ve forgiven you for.”

In response to Stanton, HOB issued a statement last September 24 and said that the founder of HONY “ought to have equipped” himself with information about the case and what the project wants to achieve before giving his criticism.

The statement read, “It’s therefore shocking that a cryptic assault on our efforts to protect our intellectual property is made in this manner, especially without understanding the background of the case.”

Their post also attempted to clarify that the said case was related to the intellectual property of its post and “not about storytelling at all.”

This project has inspired similar platforms in other cities and countries. Under his post, Stanton said that he loved the Humans of Amsterdam project run by Debra Barraud because she “stayed true to the art, and has never viewed the stories that she shares as the ‘front end’ of a business.”

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