Ridout Barron


Man finds creative way to keep out miners

An Alberta artist has found a unique way to fight oil companies that want to lay a pipeline through his property. He decided to copyright his land as an artistic creation. If a company wants to acquire land for drilling or mining rights, they need to work out a deal with the property owner. Once they have made arrangements, they can then run a pipeline through the property on their own terms.

The artist has lived on the land since he was a child. Over the years, he has watched the changes and transitions made by the forest and oil industries as they have torn up the land. He decided to fight back by retaining the services of a business and commercial law lawyer who drew up paperwork to prevent an oil company from digging into the ground by labeling it a copyright violation. The lawyer ensured that the artist was protected against a Canadian law that gives mining companies the right to land that is more than six inches beneath the surface.

The artist explained that although an oil company has mineral rights and could exercise its right to install a pipeline, it is nearly impossible to do so without disturbing the top six inches of earth. Therefore, he can legally protect his land. Apparently, his actions have proven effective as the companies have not bothered him for about 15 years.

When a person or business is concerned that a larger corporation might attempt to use legal loopholes to take advantage of them, they might not know how to enforce their rights. A business lawyer could come up with creative ways to resolve disputes and protect a person's or company's interests.

Source: Cantech Letter, "Alberta Artist Copyrights Land as Artwork to Keep Oil Companies At Bay", Terry Dawes, May 27, 2014

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