While copyright may have less to do with appealing to the eye and beauty of movements etc, a ‘static and kinetic successions of bodily movement’ may be subject to copyright. However, recently, the United States Court Of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit opined that the ‘Sequence’ of yoga poses and breathing exercises was not entitled to copyright protection.
It observed that though copyright law had been amended to keep pace with technology or new understandings of creative expression, the idea/expression dichotomy had remained firmly in place. It stated that, brushing one’s teeth, churning butter or oil drilling also involved steps in succession and though the yoga sequence may fit the definition of dance for some, it was still a process which would not be copyrightable. The sequence, no doubt, was a result of selection of poses arranged in a particular way but it did not represent the original work of an author.
Interestingly, in 2014, the High Court of Delhi opined that protection under Trademark Act or Copyright Act cannot extend to techniques, processes or sequences and hence pranic healing and performance of the asanas, postures, communicating the same to public will not constitute infringement.