Expanding copyright protection to include Plaintiffs’ sequence of yoga poses would thwart the ability of others to teach yoga, to practice yoga, and to develop other sequences of yoga poses. Now, yoga teachers are free to choose whatever sequence of yoga poses they like, without fear of triggering a copyright infringement lawsuit. They are free to innovate, to develop their own sequences of yoga poses without fear that someone else may have already copyrighted a similar sequence of yoga poses. All of that would change dramatically if copyright protection were expanded to include sequences of yoga poses, as Plaintiffs urge. Certainly, one might expect a flood of copyright applications for yoga poses – if for no other reason, yoga teachers might want to protect their ability to continue teaching their preferred sequences, which would be threatened if someone else first obtained a copyright for that sequence. The end result would be chaos – innovation would be suppressed, rather than promoted.
Can a sequence of yoga poses be copyrighted? An update on the Bikram copyright lawsuits - June 13, 2013