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Bikram Yoga Steams

The 65-year-old yoga guru has filed a federal lawsuit to block Yoga to the People.

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Bikram Yoga Steams

Hot Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury is suing a former student for copyright infringement for copying his yoga techniques.

The 65-year-old yoga guru has filed a federal lawsuit to block Yoga to the People, a chain of studios founded by Greg Gumucio, saying his former student duplicated his hot yoga sequences, which involve 26 postures performed in a hot environment.

According to the complaint: “The hot yoga class is taught in the same ambient environment as Bikram Yoga in order to give students the impression that the class offers the same experience and benefits a student would have at a Bikram Yoga studio.”

However William Fisher, who is representing Yoga to the People, counters: “The copyright statute expressly forbids copyrights for systems and methods of operation. It excludes recipes, sporting events, games and business methods.”

A response filed by Gumicio’s lawyers includes an email determination by Laura Lee Fisher, acting chief of the U.S. Copyright Office’s Performing Arts Division, that “exercises, including yoga exercises do not constitute the subject matter that Congress intended to protect as choreography. We will not register such exercises (including yoga movements), whether described as exercises or as selection and ordering of movements.”

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Odds & Ends | January 2012 | NRI

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