Friday, August 25, 2006

Yoga Copyright Raises Questions of Ownership

India seems to be willing to go to the mat over yoga.

That's because Bikram Choudhury, the self-proclaimed Hollywood "yoga teacher to the stars," incensed his native country by getting a U.S. copyright on his style of yoga four years ago.

In response, India has put 100 historians and scientists to work cataloging 1,500 yoga poses recorded in ancient texts written in Sanskrit, Urdu and Persian. India will use the catalogue to try to block anyone from cornering the market on the 5,000-year-old discipline of stretching, breathing and meditating.

Bikram, who goes by one name like Bono and Beyoncé, says he sought legal protection for his yoga because "it's the American way."

"You cannot drive the car if you do not have a driver's license," he explains. "You cannot do brain surgery if you are not a brain surgeon. You cannot even do a massage if you don't have a license." And, he says, you shouldn't be able to teach his Bikram Yoga unless you pay him for a license.

Bikram says his copyright is essential to protecting his business, which he predicts — with his usual flair for the dramatic — to be the answer to all of America's woes: bad health from too much smoking, too much drinking, too much stress.

"I guarantee you, yoga will compete with computers, music, sports, automobiles, the drug industry," Bikram says. "Yoga will take over the world!"

Via USA Today

Typical capitalist. The man has some nerve trying to copyright a practice that is thousands of years old! This isn't the first time Choudhury has resorted to legal measures.

Read more at LawMeme

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