Stretching Copyright to Its Limit: On the Copyrightability of Yoga and Other Sports Movements in Light of the U.S. Copyright Office's New Characterization of Compilations
March 15, 2013
Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2013
On June 22, 2012, The U.S. Copyright Office (the “Office”) released a statement of policy indicating that a compilation is uncopyrightable unless the compilation fits within the enumerated categories of works of authorship found in 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). Accordingly, the Office indicated that a compilation of sports moves such as yoga poses are not copyrightable, and any copyright the Office has previously registered — such as the one for Bikram Yoga, which has been the center of an ongoing debate over the copyrightability of yoga for several years — is now invalid. While the new statement of policy from the Copyright Office has chosen the best policy, it fails to adequately explain why a yoga routine does not fit within the Office’s own definition of a choreographic work. Furthermore, the statement does not adequately distinguish between uncopyrightable sports movements like exercise routines and those that warrant greater consideration for copyrightability such as figure skating routines. This comment identifies the arguments that could undermine the Copyright Office’s statement, while explaining the policy considerations that refute those arguments and support the Office’s statement.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Copyright, Yoga, Sports, Compilations
Date posted: April 13, 2013 ; Last revised: April 26, 2013