Extremely Grateful to Delhi HC: HOB Founder Pens Note Following Court Verdict

Humans of Bombay has been built by telling very real, true stories of people. The power of storytelling is what first drew me to Humans of New York, and has driven me everyday since to create a platform where these real stories could be told freely, and inspire dialogue.

Today, I would like to offer my story, as a duty towards our community to present the truth, now that the Hon’ble Court has passed its order.
I would like to start by saying something that I’ve said on numerous occasions in the past, over the last decade: that we have been inspired by HONY, and will always be grateful to them for showing us what storytelling can do for a community. Our legal case, however, was not about inspiration, but in fact, about – as the Delhi High Court termed it – “substantial imitation”. If there had not been explicit plagiarism at play (where the exact content shot, written and created by us was published on another creator’s page), the Indian courts would not have been so willing to listen, let alone issue summons to the party in question.

When the plagiarism first came to our notice, we reported it to Meta. This led to 16 of their posts, which were plagiarized from us, being taken down by Meta. However, it didn’t stop the plagiarism, even after we tried to resolve the matter amicably. We were left with no option but to lean on legal counsel.

To that end, we’re extremely grateful to the Delhi High Court, as they have upheld our contentions and passed a permanent injunction, restraining the defendant from plagiarizing our literary works and creative expressions. It has also upheld our view that we have never sought to monopolize the story writing format, but only sought protection in relation to our expression which is created by and/or on behalf of us.

The outcome of this case will set a precedent for the creator community, and will hopefully go a long way in safeguarding the original content that creators work so hard to build.

And finally, yes, Humans of Bombay is a business; that’s something we have never hidden. While some may choose to monetize stories through mediums like books and subscription platforms, we have chosen to do it primarily through meaningful campaigns with partner brands. To this date, what motivates me and my team to work extremely hard is our love for storytelling – because we've witnessed how the stories we’ve told over the last 10 years have had a lasting cultural impact.

The last few weeks have taught me a lot, and for those learnings, I am eternally grateful. These lessons, undoubtedly, will shape the person I will become, of that I am certain. Like any young entrepreneur – I may have made mistakes, but I will continue to learn, to grow, and to evolve. Your collective feedback is not lost on me.

That being said, the public response included bullying and a slew of personal attacks, including death and rape threats towards me, my team, and my family. While we did not expect to be vilified to this extent, it will not deter us from continuing to tell important stories that change the narrative, and sometimes, even change lives.
Founder and CEO,
Karishma Mehta,
On behalf of Humans of Bombay.

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