Posturing yoga before the 9th Circuit: materializing Indian‐ness in United States copyright law

Yoga Vancouver Conference and Show 2012

Event details


Date & time

Wednesday 22 July 2015


RegNet Meeting Room, Level 3, Coombs Extension, Building #8, ANU
ANU Canberra


David J. Jefferson


Emma Larking
+61 2 6125 1513

Lawsuits are powerful platforms through which the legal consciousness of objects in the world are reflected, debated, and instantiated. In this sense, legal consciousness can be understood as an emergent, processual, and localized phenomenon that both materializes and naturalizes particular social orders. In this seminar, I explore the use of such an analytic of legal consciousness through a case study of four lawsuits in which the core issue is whether or not intellectual property rights can attach to yogic choreographies.

David argues that these lawsuits, which began in 2002 and continue into the present day, serve not only as a battleground for the question of what is “yoga” (private property or public good), but also function to materialize notions of “Indian-­ness” and the possibility of “India” as a site of creativity in ways that reflect postcolonial divisions in fundamentally problematic ways. Ultimately, asking whether or not yoga is property implies the deeper question of who can be a creator and from what locations in the world can intellectual/creative work emanate.

David’s presentation is based on a paper co-authored with Allison E. Fish, JD, PhD.

About the Speaker

David J. Jefferson is the Law and Policy Analyst at the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA) at the University of California, Davis and an attorney licensed by the California State Bar.

David conducts research and analysis surrounding intellectual property laws and institutional IP policies for countries with emerging economies. Additionally, he is responsible for drafting IP assessment reports designed to elucidate the freedom to operate of public sector research institutions. He also provides support for PIPRA’s educational and outreach programs by coordinating and participating in courses, workshops, and lectures, in both English and Spanish languages.

David is interested in fostering economic development through laws and policies that support entrepreneurship with multiple bottom lines, and which facilitate a just balance between the interests of the public and private sectors. Prior to joining PIPRA, David served as the Executive Director of two Boston-based NGOs focused on policy reform and empowerment through entrepreneurship. David holds an M.A. degree in Community Psychology from Suffolk University and a J.D. from the UC Davis School of Law.

Concurrent with his activities at PIPRA, David is studying towards a PhD in Law from the University of Queensland, supported by a scholarship from the U.S. Fulbright program. David’s research examines a process of experimental, participatory lawmaking through a case study of the revision of Ecuador’s national framework for intellectual property protections.

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