Yoga To The People bows to Bikram's legal pressure
Photo by Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times
While the yoga industry isn't exactly known for in-fighting, our community isn't immune to the modern-day David and Goliath phenomenon whereby the so-called little guys fight the giants. The New York Times reports that Yoga to the People has bowed to pressure by Bikram Choudhury and has agreed to stop offering its high-temperature yoga classes that Choudhury claims infringe on his copyright. The move settles a federal lawsuit, and both parties have issued press releases (Yoga to the People's statement | Bikram Choudhury's statement).
Greg Gumucio, owner of Yoga to the People
Yoga to the People charges a mere $8 a class at its 6 NYC-area locations, while Bikram studios offer these classes at $25 a pop. The contention is centered around a sequence of twenty-six asana poses and dialogue known as Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class, which Yoga to the People has agreed not to teach after Feb 15, 2013. Studio owner Greg Gumucio pours his thoughts on the page in this letter to his YTTP students and community about how the lawsuit began to engulf his psyche and how he ultimately came to the decision to release the right to teach this sequence of poses.
Bikram claims that "while such a functional system or process may be aesthetically appealing, it is nevertheless uncopyrightable subject matter."
What do you think - does Bikram have legitimate argument to lay claim to a series of poses whose roots are thousands of years old?