On Thursday, a court ruled that the sequence of 26 poses and breathing exercises that makes up Bikram Yoga is ineligible for copyright for the same reason a life-saving surgery is: it’s designed to make people healthier, and only a monster would want a monopoly on saving lives.
The lawsuit was brought to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by Bikram founder Bikram Choudhury who is, coincidentally, a bit of a monster (he has faced numerous sexual harassment lawsuits and is rumored to be a general asshole).
L.A. Times reports:
Choudhury’s sequence of poses “is an idea, process, or system designed to improve health,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote in the ruling. “Copyright protects only the expression of this idea—the words and pictures used to describe the Sequence—and not the idea of the Sequence itself.
Separate from the health aspect of copyright law, Choudhury’s insistence that this particular sequence should be his intellectual property is generally ridiculous, given that yoga was around for thousands of years before the word “copyright” was even invented.
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