American Yoga Teachers Still Trying To Lock Up Yoga Moves With IP

from the make-it-stop dept

Back in 2004, we first noted the rather disturbing trend of US-based yoga instructors who were trying to franchise their operations trying to copyright or patent yoga moves and prevent competitors from teaching them. Over the years, the problem has gotten worse. Back in 2007, we noted that there were approximately 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks -- and the numbers have surely gone up since then. Last year, we noted that India was trying to put together a big database of yoga information, to try to make sure there was clear prior art to stop these instructors from locking up thousands of years of knowledge.

Reader Vidiot was the first of a few of you to point out that American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report has an update on this story, and it's basically more of the same. American-based yoga instructors are still trying to lock up various yoga moves... and the Indian government is still rushing trying to block them. Unfortunately, it seems like things haven't really changed much, though I'm guessing that the article is wrong in saying that it's yoga "moves" that are being patented. In the past we noted that instructors were trying to copyright the moves, but patent certain accessories. Either way, it seems ridiculous that any basic yoga moves should be restricted at all -- with or without prior art. How you move your body certainly should not be subject to intellectual property protections, and it's sad that the Indian government needs to get involved at all.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ryan, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

    Same old thing

    Just the exact same sort of shakedown racket governments have been running for ages in the form of licensing requirements. In fact, haven't there actually been attempts by governments to require yoga licenses?

    That people put up with that crap is staggering.

     

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    Keven Sutton, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Applied to similar mediums

    I'm thinking, "what if this was applied to martial arts?" For instance, someone wins a really big M.M.A. fight (we'll say on live Television) but does so with moves Copyrighted by someone else.

    total drama.

     

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    JNomics (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    By this logic, what is to keep a tennis instructor from seeking IP protections for a particular serve motion or volleying technique? The notion is absurd and reflective of the problems inherent in a society that does not have proper understanding of IP's purpose or structure. Sad.

    JNOMICS

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    Because without IP nobody would ever do yoga.

     

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      Danny, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      Just what I was thinking. Yeah apparently the concept and practice of yoga, which has not only survived but thrived in the last several who knows how long, will suddenly not be able to survive without copyright.

      I mean without copyrights and patents what are the companies that make those yoga mats gonna to do survive!?!?!?

       

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    Mr. Putey, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    Hello fellow graduate of the Ministry of Silly Walks.

    I must say ... that walk is not particularily silly, but I must insist that you stop immediately - for I own the copyright upon that silly walk and I will not have you or anyone else walking about whilst not being silly.

    Right then.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 5:55pm

    Singing in your head is now going to be copyrighted.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 6:00pm

    Just to counter some of the more absurd doomsday scenarios posted thus far, remeber that copyright only protects against copying. Unless you see their moves and copy them, there's no issue to begin with.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

      Re:

      Hmmm...I don't think that sounds right is more like "I don't know if anyone have copyrighted this and I can't find out because there is no database to look into it so I should not do it because I can be liable for a lot of money if someone get out of the woods with a valid copyright"

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 10:11am

        Re: Re:

        What your describing is more analogous to patents, except that there *is* a database of patents. No copying is needed for patent infringement.

        Copying is the "sine qua non" of copyright infringement.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 7:37pm

      Re:

      Wrongo - buckeroo

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re:

        Please, enlighten us all on how you can have copyright infringement without copying.

         

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          buckaroo banzai, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 6:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Just to counter some of the more absurd doomsday scenarios posted thus far, remeber that copyright only protects against copying. Unless you see their moves and copy them, there's no issue to begin with."

          "Wrongo - buckeroo"

          "Please, enlighten us all on how you can have copyright infringement without copying."

          - Your mistake is thinking logically ... fact is, you will be threatened regardless of whether you actually copied anything at all. When the extortionists say you infringe, they send out letters, and you suffer.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 6:00pm

    patent breathing techniques and YOU WIN

    lol

     

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    Red Monkey (profile), Jul 13th, 2010 @ 6:15pm

    yoga moves are not subject of copyright

    Yoga moves themselves are not copyrightable anymore than dance steps (as opposed to a choreography chart) are. They do not fall into one of the categories in s.102 of the copyright act and they are not embodied in a tangible medium. If you do the moves, you are not copying because you have not set anything down in a tangible medium.

    So if anyone tries to assert a copyright on a yoga move, just say "go ahead and sue me". You will make out like a bandit on Rule 11 penalties.

     

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    Sean Dougherty, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 6:51pm

    Amazing

    I compared this to trying to copyright the slapshot, or a batting stance in my business journalism blog, SeanReadsTheNews.typepad.com this morning.

     

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    Yogi, Jul 13th, 2010 @ 9:39pm

    Jerks

    Anyone trying to patent yoga is so misunderstanding the entire point of yoga that they should be out of business already.

    Makes me wonder if human culture would have been at all possible if copyright had existed from the beginning of history - can you imagine : writing would not spread, musical instruments, numbers - we would still be living in caves...or not - perhaps they would have been patented too...

     

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      Emma, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 10:27pm

      Re: Jerks

      I totally agree. This kind of greed is against everything yoga stands for. Maybe they should patent the asanas so that people could not only teach them, but could not use them either...Unbelievable.

       

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    Stephen, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    patents in India

    India's been doing the same thing to protect traditional medicines from patents:

    http://www.epo.org/topics/issues/traditional.html

    And here's a great story on patents having to actually mean something in India, whereas in the US you could "patent a piece of toilet paper."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703455804575057621354459804.html

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 14th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Doggie style

    Next the P0rn industry will try to patent sexual moves... he he he.

     

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    RMA (profile), Apr 24th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Yoga - Like other martial arts belongs to no one person ... nobody should be able to "copyright" or "trademark" this move or that move. Truly talented instructors will always have a following of dedicated students regardless if they own the "copyright" or "trademark" to the moves or not.

    ~ Andrew ~
    ~ Russian Martial Art Richmond ~
    ~ http://www.rmarichmond.com ~

     

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