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“Humans of New York vs. Humans of Bombay: The Copyright Clash Continues”



A copyright dispute between ‘Humans of New York’ (HONY) and ‘Humans of Bombay’ has resurfaced, with the creator of the iconic ‘Humans of New York’ project, Brandon Stanton, taking a veiled jab at the Mumbai-based initiative in his latest post. The ongoing feud highlights the complex issue of intellectual property in the world of social media and digital content creation.

The disagreement between ‘Humans of New York’ and ‘Humans of Bombay’ originally began when Brandon Stanton posted an image highlighting the similarity between the two projects’ names. ‘Humans of New York,’ a global phenomenon, is known for its intimate portraits and personal stories of individuals in New York City, while ‘Humans of Bombay’ has a similar format, showcasing the diverse lives of Mumbai residents.

In response to Stanton’s initial post, ‘Humans of Bombay’ fired back, accusing him of launching a “cryptic assault on our efforts to protect our intellectual property.” The Mumbai-based platform asserted that they had secured the trademark for “Humans of Bombay” and alleged that Stanton’s post amounted to trademark infringement.

The latest development in this copyright clash occurred when Brandon Stanton shared a story on his ‘Humans of New York’ platform that indirectly referenced the dispute. In the post, he featured a New Yorker who recounted a past experience of being mistaken for someone else due to their name’s similarity. While not explicitly mentioning ‘Humans of Bombay,’ the post was seen by many as a veiled commentary on the ongoing dispute.

This copyright dispute raises several important questions about intellectual property and the digital age. Trademark infringement is a serious concern, and companies often invest significant resources in protecting their brand identities. However, in the age of social media and content sharing, it can be challenging to navigate the fine line between inspiration and imitation.

The ‘Humans of’ format, which originated with ‘Humans of New York,’ has inspired similar projects worldwide. These initiatives aim to capture the essence of different cities and cultures by sharing personal stories and portraits of everyday people. While ‘Humans of New York’ holds a special place as the pioneer of this genre, it’s essential to recognize that others can also draw inspiration from real-life storytelling without necessarily infringing on intellectual property rights.

The legal aspects of this dispute will likely involve an examination of trademark law, prior usage, and potential confusion in the marketplace. It remains to be seen how the legal system will adjudicate this matter and whether ‘Humans of Bombay’ will be able to maintain its trademark claim.

In the broader context, this controversy serves as a reminder of the challenges content creators face in the digital age. Balancing the protection of intellectual property rights with the freedom of creative expression and inspiration from others is an ongoing discussion. As the ‘Humans of New York’ vs. ‘Humans of Bombay’ clash continues, it prompts us to consider the evolving landscape of copyright and trademark issues in the realm of social media and digital content creation.

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