Can You Copyright Yoga?
from the intellectual-property-mess dept
While not specifically dealing with technology, here’s a case that shows some of the complexities of our current intellectual property system. A famous yoga instructor apparently “copyrighted, trademarked and franchised his poses, breathing techniques and dialogue.” Now, he’s going around suing those yoga teachers who are infringing on that intellectual property. The sued yogis point out that yoga is a 5,000 year old tradition, and find it hard to understand how you can copyright a “pose”. The response, of course, is that it’s not the poses, but the combination of the poses that creates the overall program. So, then, the question becomes what is “fair use” for these programs? What if you do a few of the poses and mix it in with others? The article doesn’t go into all the details, but it sounds like they’re focusing on the copyright issue, which seems like a more difficult case. If other yoga instructors claim they’re teaching Bikram yoga, then the guy has a trademark claim – but otherwise it seems like a tough sell to say you can own the intellectual property on a series of poses. In the meantime, I’m betting that this case has increased the stress levels of those being sued – which seems fairly un-yoga-like.