Government takes and gives away private property.
“Our firm Geophysical Service Incorporated creates seismic data which is our registered copyrighted intellectual property.
“In most provinces and territories if you invest in a seismic survey these governments do not require you to submit copies of that intellectual property that they can use for free. These jurisdictions understand this would be like telling Microsoft that because they do business in Canada they must allow the government free copies of all their software and that no license restrictions shall apply. It would obviously be ridiculous to do this.
“Specifically in Alberta seismic data confidentially is protected under law.
“But a dangerous precedent has been set in Atlantic Canada by government and offshore regulators, the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board which required GSI to submit the results of speculative offshore seismic surveys for resource management and as a requirement for permits for our seismic vessels to conduct the surveys. The company did not object to providing the data for these strict internal purposes but never agreed to relinquish ownership of its seismic data.
“GSI discovered after a government created confidentiality period both Newfoundland’s and Nova Scotia’s governments had systematically expanded disclosure of the data into the public domain, free to anyone to use without paying license fees.
“This was sold as for the “greater good” and as a necessity to promote the offshore of Canada.
“This amounts to expropriation without compensation. There was no protection of our property rights by these government entities and GSI has been forced to file dozens of legal actions against government, oil companies and third parties who by these policies have acquired and used our data illegally without paying license fees. Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Ottawa continue to act as if this intellectual property (seismic data) is not available at all for license from the lawful owner, when in fact it is and continues to be.
“And they could have a negative impact on any future investment in seismic data offshore Canada, when there is the risk of this kind of regulatory trampling of property rights, in the name of economic development. Governments should let the free market work, not confiscate hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of intellectual property from private companies.
“The chilling truth is this kind of expropriation of property could happen to any individual or business in Canada, and does, all in the name of the greater good.”
Submitted on behalf of
COO and Chairman of Calgary-based Geophysical Service Incorporated
For the interested reader, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) has published an open letter on their Draft Geophysical, Geological, Geotechnical and Environmental Program Guidelines and are requesting input from interested parties:
(www.cnsopb.ns.ca/news/draft-geophysical-geological-geotechnical-and-environmental-program-guidelines-released-comment) along with details on its data management centre (www.cnsopb.ns.ca/geoscience/data-management-center, www.cnsopbdmc.ca). Work authorisation details are available at www.cnsopb.ns.ca/OP_forms/Geophysical_Work_Authorization.pdf