The Fight for the Soul of Pilates

Last fall, Christina Gadar, a Pilates instructor in Sarasota, Fla., planned to post on Instagram a photo that showed her recreating Mr. Pilates’s “Around the Clock” flier. Because she knew of Mr. Gallagher’s disagreements with other Pilates instructors, she informed him of her plan in an email, she said.

He replied that she was not allowed to post an image inspired by the vintage flier unless she entered into a licensing agreement with him, she said. She replied that she would do so if he provided her with proof that he held the copyright to the flier, she said. That is where the correspondence came to an end, Ms. Gadar and Mr. Gallagher said.

Mr. Gallagher said he had not registered a copyright for the “Around the Clock” flier, but said he had possession of the plate it was printed from, which he believes makes him the copyright holder.

Soon after her exchange with Mr. Gallagher, Ms. Gadar, 47, received notice from Instagram that three of her older posts had been flagged by him as copyright violations. One of them showed the cover of Mr. Gallagher’s book, which, Ms. Gadar told her followers, was one of her favorite Pilates resources. Instagram removed those posts.

“It felt like petty harassment,” Ms. Gadar said.

Unbowed, she made an Instagram video of herself in a vintage leotard as she did the moves shown in the “Around the Clock” flier. Each day since then, for more than a year, she has posted a video of herself demonstrating Pilates exercises. Mr. Gallagher said he is considering suing Ms. Gadar for violating his copyright to Mr. Pilates’s choreography.

“In that case, he would need to sue everyone on the internet doing Pilates,” Ms. Gadar said.

So far, Mr. Gallagher has sued only Ms. Kelly of True Pilates Boston, who had two Instagram accounts taken down after her posts were flagged by Mr. Gallagher.

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