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New York Times: Posing a Question: Can Yoga Be Owned?

MIchael J. Feigin, Esq. is quoted starting at the two minute mark.

This Video Article was originally published on December 21, 2011 at http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/posing-a-question-can-yoga-be-owned

 

Posing a Question: Can Yoga Be Owned?

Update, December 2012: The U.S. Copyright Office rescinds the copyright on Bikram Yoga and says it's essentially "excercise" and not a protectable dance!  We quote:

While such a functional system or process may be aesthetically appealing, it is nevertheless uncopyrightable subject matter. A film or description of such an exercise routine or simple dance routine may be copyrightable, as may a compilation of photographs of such movements. However, such a copyright will not extend to the movements themselves, either individually or in combination, but only to the expressive description, depiction, or illustration of the routine

 

In September, Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, filed a $1 million lawsuit against his former student Greg Gumucio, founder of the wildly popular Yoga to the People chain. Mr. Choudhury copyrighted his series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises in 2002, and he’s been known to sue people who infringe on it. The Bikram guru has said the poses were designed in a series for health benefits, and to effectively teach the courses, instructors must become certified, which costs $10,000. The million-dollar question: Can yoga be owned?