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Peter von Tiesenhausen uses copyright to thwart Oil Pipeline development

Posted: June 9, 2018

This Canadian Artist Halted Pipeline Development by Copyrighting His Land as a Work of Art

Peter von Tiesenhausen has a novel approach to dealing with assholes from oil companies—he claims his land counts as copyrighted art and charges them $500 an hour to meet with them.

It's no secret the Canadian energy industry's pipeline development is rife with controversy. Enbridge, the company behind the prime minister–approved Northern Gateway Pipeline and the controversial Line 9, commits an average of 73 hydrocarbon spills per year. An internal memo from Natural Resources Canada conceded that tailing ponds from oil sands production are leaking into Alberta groundwater, while Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline has a "high risk of rupture."

Many of the proposed or existing pipelines run through, or nearby, protected First Nations land, which bears the environmental and cultural brunt of their construction. Despite rulings issued by Canadian courts, the federal government continues to issue permits, without consultation, on unsurrendered First Nations land. And in June 2014, Vancouver police performed an armed raid of the home of anti-pipeline Kwakwaka'wakw activists for suspicion of "graffiti vandalism paraphernalia." Plus, in Alberta, thousands of workers employed by oil companies are facing a housing crisis.

Anti-pipeline tactics, like the 700-kilometer march across Canada, indigenous lawsuits, and encampments that stand directly in the path of pipeline development, have helped inspiring people across Canada to act. One such Canadian is artist Peter von Tiesenhausen, an artist based in Demmitt, Alberta, who has managed to keep pipeline developers off his land for 17 years through a combination of art and legal acrobatics.

In 1996, Peter claimed legal copyright over his land as a work of art, forcing pipeline developers to do expensive rerouting around it. To meet with him, he charges land developers $500 an hour. When I heard about Peter's clever and inspiring pushback against the pipelining giants, I had to know more. So I reached out to him over the phone to learn what it's like to beat industry conglomerates at their own bureaucratic game with your art, and where it fits in to the larger picture of the Canadian pipelining conflict.

Read the Interview continued at this link

We all need to make a stand in our lives including artists. Peter von Tiesenhausen uses his art copyright and thwarts the big oil pipeline companies, well worth the read.

Follow Stephen Keefe on Twitter.