Bikram lawyer says new copyright ruling ‘meaningless’ to lawsuit

While it does appear the U.S. Copyright Office has changed its tune about whether yoga poses can be trademarked, the lawyer for Bikram in his lawsuit against Yoga to the People is saying it doesn’t matter for their debate.

Robert Gilchrest points out that the Copyright Office has issued hundreds of copyrights for exercise videos.

“But now they’re saying they’re looking at it again and they’ve changed their mind?” he told Bloomberg news. “It is meaningless to this litigation.”

That’s obviously one side to the argument; we’ve seen pretty clearly what Greg Gumucio of Yoga to the People thinks.

I still suspect the final court ruling (and, if you are hoping to get some clarity around yoga’s freedom business-wise, you’ll want this to go to trial and for the two sides not to settle) will be what tells us where yoga as a business is headed.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “Bikram lawyer says new copyright ruling ‘meaningless’ to lawsuit”

    1. As I noted earlier, I think that it has some pretty interesting ramifications on the “business” of yoga. Clearly Bikram, but really any lineage (i.e. Ashtanga) that draws firm lines back to a source. And it suggests some meaningful questions about who “owns” yoga — or what it means to be a teacher / authorized / etc.

      How much might a decision one way or the other in this case affect that? I don’t know, certainly.

      Plus, a few others messaged me privately and asked me to keep up on it — it was making easier for them to follow.



  1. Thanks Steve,
    Being Indian I guess I feel that yoga is just a part of our culture and that patenting it or owning it is a ridiculous notion.
    The question of being a teacher and being authorized is something I think about alot – my first teacher had studied yoga for 16 years but was never “authorized” and she was one of the best teachers I know. I meet teachers who are certified and because of a lack of practice (I mean years and years of practice) their knowledge is limited. Isn’t it about seeking the truth for yourself, the knowledge is available, shouldn’t an individual have the intellect to assess what works for them and what doesn’t.
    But as yoga becomes a “big business” in India…you are right, we need to be asking these questions. I just hope that India doesn’t become like the US with star teachers, and hip classes, and cool studios…..I like the idea of yoga being passed from guru to shishya without the burden of certificates, or authorization.
    PS. have you met Bikram? With all due respect to him for spreading awareness of yoga….he is a little too ridiculously caught up in himself to be taken seriously.

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