PMA Statement on The New York Times Article

We want to establish a clear line about where the Pilates Method Alliance stands on the issues raised in The New York Times recent article, “The Fight for the Soul of Pilates.”

While the PMA respects legitimate intellectual property rights and recognizes the important role they can play in developing a successful business, we do not support attempts by individuals to use tenuous claims of copyright protection to attack studios and instructors who wish to use images from our shared Pilates heritage in a respectful, selective, and lawful manner. We believe that access to the historical legacy of Joseph and Clara Pilates is integral to the continued growth of Pilates.

The PMA itself was created in the wake of a lawsuit centered on the use of the term “Pilates.” Many in our organization well remember the existential threat to the American Pilates industry posed by attempts to use trademark law to monopolize the generic term to describe the practice. Yet, some good came from the Pilates trademark battle. It brought our community together. It reminded many teachers, studio owners, equipment manufacturers, and enthusiasts that we have more in common than we have dividing us.

As we work to grow and professionalize our still-young industry, the PMA encourages, and even facilitates, frank discussion regarding the controversial questions about the teaching and practice of Pilates. We do not believe, however, that defining and determining the scope of Pilates is something that should be up to one person, or even one professional organization. We all have a stake in it. Many voices are, and should be, part of this conversation.

We know the value of Pilates and what it can do to help people. We share an appreciation and admiration for the work done by Joseph and Clara Pilates, as well as the work done by the many talented and extraordinary individuals who followed — even if not all of them are recognized in our official histories. So many people are so dedicated to sharing Pilates with others and we must keep that work alive by bringing it to new communities around the world.

That is the real fight for the soul of Pilates. Let’s keep it up!

PMA Board of Directors

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