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A Court Has Ruled That Bikram Choudhury Can’t Copyright His Yoga Poses

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Bikram Choudhury, the self-styled creator of Bikram yoga, has for years threatened to sue practitioners that he feels are copying his signature yoga poses. However, a court ruled on Thursday that he has no legal right to do so.

Choudhury first wrote about his famed yoga sequence — comprising 26 poses done over the course of 90 minutes in a hot room — in a book published more than three decades ago.

The 69-year-old has since claimed that, under copyright law, he is the only one who has the right to teach that particular variation of poses, leading him to threaten multiple yoga practitioners with lawsuits, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Choudhury’s most recent legal case involved Evolation Yoga, a Florida-based studio that the magnate accused of copyright violations.

A three-judge panel on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now disagreed with him after he appealed a district judge’s ruling in favor of Evolation. The judges clearly stated that his sequence cannot be protected by copyright law, the Times reports.

“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,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, one of the judges on the panel, wrote.

Choudhury is notorious for teaching his classes in nothing but a tight black speedo and a gold Rolex watch. Most recently, the Kolkata native has been facing with a slew of sexual-assault claims, according to the Guardian. (Choudhury has denied any impropriety.)


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