On legalities

This is a brief post to explain some changes on the site. I am no longer (as of 2015) maintaining my certification with the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. I no longer practice the requisite number of hours, and can’t make sense of paying several hundred dollars a year for the right to state the biographical fact that I attended and graduated from an “accredited” Feldenkrais practitioner training program and that the lessons I taught while I was a “Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner” remain, in fact, lessons taught while I was a GCFP.

All legalities have an aspect of arbitrariness about them. I don’t suppose that my understanding of the Method, what I have to say about it, or how I teach a lesson if I do teach one has magically changed. But this is true of all lines drawn in law–the age at which you are allowed to drive, or to drink, for example. I understand and have sympathy for why the various national associations need to be able to indicate to the public that they have minimally ensured that people who hold themselves up as practitioners to the public meet certain standards, and you should know that I no longer meet those. Those standards are minimal–a certain number of hours of practice, until recently a certain number of hours of advanced training (which I will continue to do anyway), and now a reflective competency-based practice of setting out your plans for professional improvement every year, which you report to the Guild on an honour basis. So that’s the standard I no longer fulfill.

The law on service marks and their use in commercial vs. non-commercial speech were not crafted for the digital era, I suppose, and I imagine there is no settled answer in law as to whether leaving on the web an archive of lessons I taught while a GCFP constitutes a forbidden commercial use of the service marks. I don’t think that if a practitioner who had written a book subsequently let their certification lapse they would have to recall copies of the book and use white-out to remove claims that they are practitioners. But that may be because it would not be feasible. Of course it would be feasible for me to remove these materials from the web. I don’t think the Feldenkrais community itself, who support the Guild with their fees, would consider it in their interest, judging by the number of practitioners who thank me for this resource when they meet me at advanced trainings.

I will try to remove any misleading indications that I’m still an active practitioner, and remove the donation option, and I hope that will be enough. I have made life easier for myself by still using “Feldenkrais” casually, although his last name alone is a service mark in Canada (it is not in the United States). It is difficult to defend a person’s simple name as a service mark, for a number of reasons. Other people have that name, not Moshe alone, for example.

7 Replies to “On legalities”

  1. I think this is an interesting statement. “The law on service marks and their use in commercial vs. non-commercial speech were not crafted for the digital era, I suppose, and I imagine there is no settled answer in law as to whether leaving on the web an archive of lessons I taught while a GCFP constitutes a forbidden commercial use of the service marks.”
    Maybe you shall have your server in another country?

    1. I think if I had time to try to understand the legal landscape better, I would also have time to do more Feldenkrais!

  2. Your conscientiousness re: legality is admirable, and I appreciate that you’ve created and shared these lessons (I’m in a training program and a few folks told me about you). It’s a shame the rules are such that you can no longer call yourself a GCFP. Perhaps one day the rules will be changed.

    1. I agree with Ilona, Lynette has made a wonderfull work and help very much Feldenkrais collegues and practitioners. I can’t imagine how close minds does not see more than only one option to be certified. That’s not Feldenkrais phylosophy¬°¬°¬°

  3. I understand that You are a Long experienced Practioner and has a Diploma from an acredited Training program. If you practice the Method you have not To be a member of the Guild, Right? Means you Can practice how Long you want. I dont know your national laws, what conditions you have to fullfill, But in Germany Nobody Has to Follow the role of the Guild and can be a Wonderfull Practioner without beeing organized in a Guild. I can not See the Problem clearly, the Trade Mark Feldenkrais was lost in Front of a german Court once, because you can not describe what we do with a Name which everybody can use.

    1. In Germany the service marks were challenged in court and the FVD lost them, so that is why the situation is different there than in Canada or the United States!

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