federal court rules bikram choudhury does not hold copyright for yoga postures
Ruling in favor of evolation yoga confirms Bikram Choudhury cannot prevent other studios from offering “hot yoga” classes utilizing same 26-posture sequence used in Bikram classes. The judge ruled Choudhury’s copyrights cover only his books and videos describing his system, not the actual performance of the moves themselves. Bikram has been trying to hold this particular yoga sequence hostage, so that no one can improve upon it, re-interpret it, or teach it with a different energy. Evolation has not been looking for a fight, but when we found ourselves defending against this stranglehold on a practice that has been handed down without restrictions throughout its history — essentially, defending yoga itself — we resolved to take it all the way in service to the greater community. And, we, collectively, won. The question: is a sequence of yoga postures copyrightable? It is clear now that the answer is no.
This case has an effect on yoga studios and teachers all over the US and around the world. We appreciate your support. Please, contact us if you would like to contribute to our legal fund: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Judges summary ruling
- Press release
- Full story
- Yoga Alliance explanation
- Bloomberg article
- Law360 – Yoga Poses Can’t be Copyrighted, Judge Rules published 12-17-12
- The Village Voice: Hold That Pose
- YogaDork Big News
- Yoga Journal
- The Yoga Blog
- Osgoode Hall Intellectual Property Law – Lock Your Knees: Yoga Sequences Not Copyrightable
- Courthouse News – Bikram Yoga Copyright Goes Into Downward Dog