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Old 01-31-14, 05:59 AM  
KarenJo
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Joseph Pilates referred to his system as The Method, among other things. When she "inherited" Pilates mainly in the form of the original studio and business on his wife's death, Romana K was the one who brought suits trying to prevent anyone else from using the term without permission or teaching anything that was not Pilates as Joe did it with her. But, if you know much about studio Pilates you will know that it is to be adapted to the individual so the other first generation instructors all had slightly different experiences of Pilates as taught by Joe. That's part of what sunk Romana's suit. The other was that she couldn't get Joe's wife to bring suits and by the time Romana had control it had been loose in the world for too long to legally reel it back in. Plus, there were about 15 first generation teachers and more second generation ones out there producing things like Stott and Fletcher and Balanced Body which would just have gone by different names. I do like instructors and studios that came out of what Romana called Authentic Pilates as they have a rigorous training system but the ones I've worked with all tweak it a bit based on their knowledge and more modern understanding of how things in the body work best. But the core principals and moves are still there.

Jennifer Kris did have a couple of DVDs out before the TV show and DVDs that were launched together. Those original ones were not called The Method and weren't really available anywhere until after the show started and people knew who Jennifer was. The production on them was marginal, the workouts were really long and the whole feel was much more subdued, which seems to be Jennifer's style when left to her own production. I bought the original The Method DVDs on their release at the time I was watching the show on the brand new Fit TV, then her earlier DVDs when they became more available. I think it was Giam or someone Giam bought who produced the shows and DVDs. Some of the DVDs were not actual show episodes but were done on the same set at first and then on a different one. The DVDs continued after the show was no longer produced but on the second set. When Jennifer had a falling out with them the producers claimed the right to the name The Method and sued her for putting out a couple of short-lived videos on her own using the name. So she went to The New Method. All of this was going on during the several years when Romana was suing everyone over the use of the name Pilates so no one used it.

The original show had a few episodes produced as videos that weren't Pilates like the African dance workout, which is horribly taught by the way, and Tracey Mallet's kickboxing episode plus things like Jennifer and Lisa's dance workout, which kind of counts since the Pilates world is so full of dancers, but most of the not-really-Pilates stuff started after Jennifer left. Jennifer did do Pilates work other than just the basic mat routine and brought in other Pilates instructors to do some other aspects of Pilates. There's actually a lot of different stuff that Joseph Pilates did both with and without equipment. Some of the other instructors stuck around for a short while after Jennifer left before moving on to other things and Giam brought in a continually changing cast of instructors. I think they've kept most or all of The Method DVDs in production since they first started coming out in 2000.

I'd bet the newest re-release is still Giam. This would be the 3rd or 4th covers for some of these, maybe more. The show and non-show ones had different styles of covers when first released. Then after Jennifer left they all came out with similar covers. There's been at least one more iteration for some of them when they were released on DVD and a series of compilations such as both dance workouts on one DVD was done plus "re-release" of most though they hadn't really gone out of production. Maybe one more set of "updated" covers.

I have no idea if Jennifer still gets anything from the sale of these. When she left The Method she did have funds to immediately produce her own videos and then a second set when she had to stop selling those. She still comes out with her own video occasionally and she's done a inch of stuff for the Pilates Anytime on-line videos. I think she still teaches.

I don't think Tracey Anderson has any Pilates training or anything to do with Jennifer's various productions. A lot of the concepts she uses are also in Pilates as well as the Lotte Berk Method and Callanetics which both incorporated some things from Pilates. What we now call bare came out of the Lotte Berk Method as taught by Lydia Bach at her New York studio for decades before it took off as part of the Pilates and fusion boom and most of her instructors left to form their own studios. I'm not sure where TA pulled her ideas from since she seems to have done it in her own sphere and as far as I can tell doesn't claim to have any training in anyone else's method. I think she picked up her use of Method from it's history in both Pilates and barre.
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Old 01-31-14, 08:33 AM  
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Intersting analysis, Karen; thanks.

Btw, I didn't think TA had anything to do with the Pilates Method--I was just making a distinction since she also uses that term. I was mainly curious because "new" DVDs are coming out using this brand, yet there isn't a web site or any other information for it--the brand itself no longer appears to exist. But I guess that maeks more sense if the DVDs are just repackages from Gaiam. (On the other hand, Gaiam repackages The Firm, and The Firm still exists! )
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Old 01-31-14, 03:17 PM  
KarenJo
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I'm not sure there was ever a The Method website. These originated in the era before workouts came on DVDs and there was less of an expectation there be one. I never looked for one back then. If there was one, I expect it was put up by the producer or was part of Fit TV's rather than a separate site. It doesn't seem like Jennifer's thing and I don't think she ever had one for her self-produced stuff.

What's kind of ironic in this is that The Method was a long-standing term for Pilates at the time plus the term had been used for years by people like Lotte Berk who developed their own styles. I would have thought it hard to win a copyright suit on it but I guess Jennifer didn't have the resources to fight it and thought reaching an agreement on using The New Method and withdrawing the other DVDs she produced the wiser course. But the history of usage of the term may be why others are comfortable with using it now and Giam hasn't gone after them.
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Old 01-31-14, 03:22 PM  
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I'm not surprised that there wasn't a The Method web site previously; I'm surprised not to be able to find one now when you can pretty much find one for every major exercise brand (including Jennifer Kries, who is actually quite big on self-promotion: http://www.jenniferkries.com/).
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Old 01-31-14, 03:41 PM  
KarenJo
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Glad Jennifer has finally gotten on with on-line promotion rather than relying on her connection with things like Pilates Anytime. I think she was always into promoting herself but just seemed to steer clear of on-line for years. She was always one of my least favorite Pilates personalities, though. A bit show-off-y and disconnected with the reality of a beginner home audience's needs and abilities. She does now have years more experience in the market than the last time I used one of her videos.

The Method videos sell pretty cheaply and continue to sell without much promotion. I guest no matter how small a market share Fit TV had, being on television still makes a big difference in name recognition. Giam (which spell check keeps changing to Guam) may just not feel the need to spend the money and resources. It is amazing that the videos are still around. The production was decent but doesn't look high cost and I suspect, like The Wizard of Oz, no one is getting residuals, other than name recognition.
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Old 01-31-14, 05:07 PM  
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For the curious

You can search for trademark ownership at the USPTO website. For instance, if you search for "Gaiam" it shows you the trademarks they own (including The Firm). I'm an intellectual property law legal assistant and I spent a LOT of time on that site.

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?...803:gxr5o0.1.1

You can also look up patents, which is kind of fun. For instance, a patent search for "Gaiam" will find you all the gadgets they hold the patent for. There is a patent for an exercise pole device. The patent itself is boring to read, but once you get the patent number you can go the site www.pat2pdf.org. Enter the patent number there and you can see the drawings that go with the patent. Here is said exercise pole device:

http://pat2pdf.org/patents/pat8142337.pdf

At the risk of sounding like a SUPER IP LAW GEEK, the Pat2pdf website can be a lot of fun if you just put random numbers in the search box (the lower the number, the older the patents you will find). Some of them are hilarious, such at Patent No. 100000 for a horse sunbonnet.

http://pat2pdf.org/patents/pat100000.pdf

I now return you to your regularly schedule thread. As you were
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Old 01-31-14, 05:43 PM  
Jane P.
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I actually liked Jennifer Kries' Pilates dvds. I bought them on vhs and then replaced them with dvds when they became available. I liked her style and instruction. However, I did not care the non Pilates stuff, and haven't gotten any of her recent releases. I don't think she's anymore self-promoting than Mari Winsor or Moira Stott (who also made dvds that I liked).

As far as the original topic. I did not know that Gaiam also owned the rights to the old Method stuff. That was news to me.
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Old 01-31-14, 08:12 PM  
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Hahahahahahahaha at the horse sun bonnet! Thanks for sharing, Joan! Looks like an interesting web site...
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Old 01-31-14, 08:49 PM  
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Interesting stuff, Joan--I learn a lot on VF!
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Old 02-03-14, 10:52 AM  
Jane P.
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I just pulled out my Pilates dvd with Jennifer Kries. I originally owned the two workouts it contains on vhs. They were among the first Pilates workouts on video, but because of copyright restrictions, the term Pilates was never used. Instead they were called, The Method. The exercises however, were true Pilates.

I later bought the dvd that contained these two original workouts. The headline on the cover says The New Method: Pilates Precision Toning and Sculpting. On the back, the copyright dates are 1996 and 2001.

The company that produced them is Peter Pan Entertainment. They even list a phone number and email address of the company. There's also a website,
currentwellness.com. I have no idea if the site is still active or not.

So apparently The New Method was just a continuation of the original Method, and at some point Gaiam acquired the rights.
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