3 Count: Hot Yoga, Hot Ruling

3 Count: Hot Yoga, Hot Ruling Image

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1: Downward Dog Duplication? Relax, Yoga Poses Can’t be Copyrighted, Court Rules

First off today, Maura Dolan at The LA Times reports that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that yoga poses can not be copyrighted as copyright protects only the expression of the idea, not the idea itself.

The case centers around Bikram Choudhury, the creator of Bikram Yoga or “Hot Yoga”. He has routinely threatened other yoga instructors who teach similar systems. Though many studios reached agreements with Choudhury under various terms, several studios, including Evolation Yoga in Florida, fought back against his accusations.

Evolution sued, alleging that Choudhury was trying to “bully” other studios into not teaching his 26 poses, which he claims to have developed the order for. Evolution claimed that such copyright protection could jeopardize all physical training that relies on a series of exercises in a specific order. The Appeals Court agreed and upheld a lower court ruling that said largely the same thing.

2: U.S. Court Returns ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town’ to Composer’s Heirs

Next up today, Jonathan Steeple at Reuters reports that the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that hers to composer J. Fred Coots, who co-wrote the Christmas Classic Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, will be able to reclaim the copyright to their portion of the composition on December 15, 2016 rather than 2029.

Under U.S. law, creators and their heirs can terminate any agreements or transfers after a certain number of years. Coots’ heirs filed in 2007 to terminate EMI Feist Catalog’s ownership of the track. The heirs also claimed that Coots had signed a 1981 agreement and sent notice to the Copyright Office that it voided the original 1951 agreement.

However, EMI argued that the 1981 agreement was invalid because it was never recorded, making the copyright termination improper. The lower court agreed but the Appeals Court ruled that the failure to record it was “irrelevant” as the agreement made it clear that the parties intended to transfer all of Coots’ copyright interest in the work.

3: Twitter Suspends Deadspin and SB Nation Accounts for Copyright Infringement

Finally today, JB Blanchard at The Chicago Sun-Times reports that two major sports sites, DeadSpin and SBnation had Twitter accounts they operate suspended by Twitter, reportedly over repeated copyright infringement complaints by the National Football League.

The two accounts @Deadspin and @SBnationGIF tweeted gifs and Vines of NFL highlights on their accounts. The NFL recently signed a multi-year deal with Twitter on the subject of highlights. The NFL has, in the past filed takedown notices over unlicensed highlight clips in gif or Vine format.

While it has not been confirmed to have been the NFL that caused the suspension, it’s been reported from multiple sources. However, while the SBnation account has not been restored, the Deadpan one has, which immediately tweeted out a photo of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, lending further credence to the theory it was the NFL behind the copyright complaints.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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