Traverse Copyright Law has represented multiple defendants sued by Choudhury Bikram and the Bikram Yoga College alleging copyright infringement. Bikram Yoga has sued other studios over the years for offering Hot Yoga variations of the Bikram Yoga Method. In 2012, the United States Copyright Office issued a letter indicating that the previously issued copyright to Bikram for its yoga pose sequence was issued in error. Once the United States Copyright Office abandoned its allowance of the Bikram copyright, it was only a question of time before courts would soon follow.
In one recent case, a federal judge in Los Angeles, California ruled that federal copyright law does not allow for copyright protection on the selection, coordination or arrangement of exercise.
What does this mean for yoga studios offering Hot Yoga or variations of Bikram’s yoga sequences? While Choudhury Bikram has been extremely litigious in filing copyright lawsuits against studios using his sequence of poses, it appears that his copyright bully tactics are coming to an end. While there is always risk of getting sued in court, Bikram’s copyright leverage is greatly diminished. Some tips for yoga studios offering Hot Yoga alternatives:
For more information on Bikram Yoga College, its copyright, Teacher Training Agreement and trademarks, feel free to contact one of our attorneys for more information.