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5 Cardozo Pub. L. Pol'y & Ethics J. 623 (2006-2007)
Don't Sweat It: Copyright Protection for Yoga...Are Exercise Routines Next

handle is hein.journals/cardplp5 and id is 629 raw text is: DON'T SWEAT IT: COPYRIGHT PROTECTION
Karolina Jesien *
On first impression, it... seems inappropriate, and almost unbe-
lievable, that a sequence of yoga positions could be any one person's
intellectual property.' These words acknowledge that, instinctively, the
notion of one person claiming possession to a part of an ancient spiri-
tual practice is somewhat uneasy. Yet these are the words of the same
court, which ultimately held that, indeed, a yoga sequence could be
copyrighted. Although this holding may feel counter-intuitive at first,
after a thorough inspection of existing copyright law, and also after con-
sidering the policy implications, the notion becomes more acceptable,
and in fact, even begins to look like the right result.
The practice of yoga has its roots in ancient India over five thou-
sand years ago.2 Bikram Yoga is a relatively recent yoga style to emerge.
It was founded about thirty years ago by Bikram Choudhury
(Bikram), and it is currently the yoga style enjoying the fastest grow-
ing popularity.3 Bikram Yoga consists of twenty-six postures conducted
in precisely the same order every time, in a room heated to a minimum
of one hundred and fifteen degrees Fahrenheit and having forty percent
humidity.4 After about a decade of teaching his style of yoga in the
United States, Bikram launched a training course where he trained indi-
viduals to instruct others in Bikram Yoga.5 In order to ensure that his
* B.Eng., Computer Engineering, McGill University in Montreal, Canada; J.D. Candidate,
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Spring 2007. The author would like to thank Professor
Justin Hughes for his guidance in writing this note. The author also wishes to thank the entire
staff of the Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal for their work in preparing this note
for publication.
1 Open Source Yoga Unity v. Choudhury, No. C 03-3182, 2005 WL 756558, at *2 (N.D.
Cal. Apr. 1, 2005).
2 Katherine Machan, Bending Over Backwards for Copyright Protection: Bikram Yoga and the
Quest for Federal Copyright Protection of an Asana Sequence, 12 UCLA ENT. L. REv. 29, 29
3 Id at 32.
4 Id. at 31; Shannon M. Wise, Copyright Battles Over Yoga's 5,000-year-old Tradition, 23-
SUM ENT. & SPORTS LAW *18 (2005).
5 Machan, supra note 2, at 32.

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