Copyright cancer, Bikram bootcamp

by Yule Heibel on June 3, 2003

Since I poked around the web yesterday in search of links to that development on Rockland, I came across an article I’d missed earlier, and it’s yet another copyright issue. This time yoga asanas are at stake. Yes, postures. I had my own experiences with hot yoga here in Victoria, so this interested me. The tactics and attitudes on the part of the alleged proprietor of what your body can do are about as congenial as not being allowed to take photographs inside a Starbucks coffee shop. The Monday Magazine feature about hot yoga is a must read; it’s so enlightening to learn about the relationship between yoga and copyright law: Bikram Choudhury, a California-based yoga guru, copyrighted his popular series of yoga moves. His lawyers, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves and Savitch LLP, say that the moves are part of Bikram’s growing portfolio of yoga copyrights and trademarks, which includes ongoing trademark applications for Bikram Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga College of India, Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, and Bikram Yoga. When Bikram also compared himself to Superman, Jesus, and Buddha, and was subsequently asked how he could get away with such bragging, he answered: “Because I have balls like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody fucks with me.” Wow, what a card! Of course, after my academic advisors at Harvard and elsewhere, he really does sound like some kind of Jesus — what a sweetie, he sounds like he could really “go” (oh, sock it to me!) compared to those conceited, cold, constipated misogynists — but you know what? Who needs a jerk? Yoga is supposed to flow.

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