Brandon Stanton is setting the record straight. The Humans of New York founder took to Instagram and shared his official statement for the Washington Post when asked to comment on the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Karishma Mehta, founder of Humans of Bombay (HOB) against People of India (POI).
“For the last thirteen years, I haven’t received a penny for a single story told on Humans of New York, despite millions offered,” he penned. Brandon’s stance on HOB’s lawsuit has opened up a wider conversation on monetization and art. With millions across the world flocking to social media platforms every year, artists are one major stakeholder dealing with newer markets and fewer protections.
Clarifying his take on the subject, the photographer went on to say, “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.”
He also shared his views on artistic integrity in the face of legal dictums, saying, “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.”
Brandon’s comment comes after HOB took to X to respond to his criticism. The tweet slammed the blogger for “jumping the gun on this matter” without familiarising himself with the court case details. Calling his remarks “a cryptic assault” on their right to safeguard their intellectual property, HOB insisted that the lawsuit concerned “IP” and was “not about storytelling at all.”
Brandon’s Instagram post, which has over 200k likes, also invited fans of HONY to follow Humans of Amsterdam as an “example of a true artist who has done beautiful things with the ‘Humans of’ concept.”
Founded by Debra Barraud, HOA models itself after Brandon and HONY with a monetized Patreon presence and various publishing deals while the platform remains free and independent.
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