The documentary, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, is a highly acclaimed Netflix special that first premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary showcases the dark side of the Yogi Bikram Choudhury who was charged with several counts of rape and sexual harassment of women. The documentary first started streaming on Netflix on November 20, 2019. However, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator has now landed into a copyright row, with some parties claiming that certain images used in the show were taken without permission or credit, hence amounting to copyright infringement.
Ghosh’s Yoga College (GYC) in Kolkata, its ambassador and Yoga expert Ida Pajunen, and author Jerome Armstrong, who wrote Calcutta Yoga: Buddha Bose and the Yoga Family of Bishnu Ghosh and Yogananda, recently accused the popular Netflix documentary of copyright infringement. They took legal action against the production house and wrote a letter to them. In the demand letter sent by the accusers to Thomas Benski, CEO and founder of Pulse Films, it was stated that there was no mention of the book anywhere during the run of the documentary or during the credits. The letter was also forwarded to Netflix.
According to GYC, the Yoga Cure Pamphlet that was shown in the film without their permission. According to GYC, the original pamphlet was written by Bishnu Charan Ghosh, the founder of the Yoga Institute and the Guru of Bikram Choudhury. They then claimed that nowhere in the film was they credited for the image of the pamphlet.
Additionally, many images from the book Yoga: Buddha Bose and the Yoga Family of Bishnu Ghosh and Yogananda were directly taken and featured in the final cut of the film without author Jerome Armstrong's prior permission. Many of the images were also copyright material that was the property of Jerome. The letter also added that there was no credit given to him either throughout the course of the documentary.
The letter also noted that the misuse of the intellectual property rights of others was not just restricted to these materials. According to the letter, any other unnamed people have also apparently had their copyright infringed due to the use of their videos and photos without their permission. The demand letter finally asked for a quick and amicable resolution to these copyright claims. It demands that the show remove all historical images of GYC and give proper attestation and acknowledgement to Jerome's book. It also asks the producers to apologize for their misuse of the copyrighted material and demands a compensation fee for the accusers.
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