Can copyright law halt environmental damage?
Blued Trees is a musical score painted (with nontoxic materials) onto trees growing in the path of the pipeline. In order to complete the pipeline expansion, Spectra would have to destroy the artwork, thus – it is argued - infringing Rahmani’s legal rights as an artist (“moral rights” in U.S. law).
There is a precedent, if not in the legal sense: in Alberta, Canada artist Peter von Tiesenhausen, fought natural gas pipelines by claiming that his entire ranch was a work of art. The developers eventually withdrew before the copyright idea could be tested.
There are many reasons to suppose the attempt will fail, not least the civil nature of any infringement meaning it may just be a matter of compensating the artist after the fact. But as an audacious way of drawing attention to the case, it can only be admired.