Saturday, July 07, 2012

U.S. Copyright Office Says That Yoga Sequences Are Not Copyrightable

Source: Judith (subject to license)

This one is for all the yoga heads out there in the world. I know you're out there, because I see you carrying around your yoga mats like a baguette in a grocery bag. If you create your own yoga sequences, you cannot copyright the sequences!

The U.S. Copyright Office issued this ruling on June 22, 2012 (see
Federal Register /Vol. 77, No. 121 / Friday, June 22, 2012 / page 37605). The Copyright Office's statement clarifies the Office's examination practices with respect to claims in ‘‘compilation authorship,’’ or the selection, coordination, or arrangement of material that is otherwise separately uncopyrightable. Yoga sequences were included in these materials that are uncopyrightable.

An example that has occupied the attention of the Copyright Office for quite some time involves the copyrightability of the selection and arrangement of preexisting exercises, such as yoga poses. Interpreting the statutory definition of ‘‘compilation’’ in isolation could lead to the conclusion that a sufficiently creative selection, coordination or arrangement of public domain yoga poses is copyrightable as a compilation of such poses or exercises. However, under the policy stated herein, a claim in a compilation of exercises or the selection and arrangement of yoga poses will be refused registration. Exercise is not a category of authorship in section 102 and thus a compilation of exercises would not be copyrightable subject matter. The Copyright Office would entertain a claim in the selection, coordination or arrangement of, for instance, photographs or drawings of exercises, but such compilation authorship would not extend to the selection, coordination or arrangement of the exercises themselves that are depicted in the photographs or drawings. Rather such a claim would be limited to selection, coordination, or arrangement of the photographs or drawings that fall within the congressionally-recognized category of authorship of pictorial, graphic and sculptural works.

Source: The Copyright Office

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