The Royal Canadian Mint has had a change of heart over charging Nova Scotia musician Dave Gunning for using an image of the penny on his album cover.
Mint spokeswoman Christine Aquino says it will no longer be charging Gunning a fee for every album he issues of his soon-to-be-released recording No More Pennies.
The Ottawa-based maker of Canadian coins already had waived its copyright fee on the use of the penny image for the first 2,000 copies of the album, coming out Sept. 18.
But it wanted $1200 for each subsequent 2,000 pressings of No More Pennies, which the Pictou County, N.S. musician conceived as a tribute to the vanishing coin.
Gunning’s album cover features a person sitting at a lunch counter trying to scrape up enough change to pay for his cup of coffee, while on the back is a sunset with the sun as a penny setting below the horizon. Inside is a lithograph of an old steam train and the wheels of the train are little pennies.
It was already in production when the musician discovered he would have to pay the mint. Gunning's story prompted an outpouring of criticism toward the mint.
Aquino said the mint has told the musician he is off the hook for the fee.
The mint released a statement saying it supports the arts in Canada and proposing a review of its own intellectual property policies.
"The mint will assess our current intellectual property policy to determine if changes need to be made to ensure that it is being applied fairly on a case-by-case basis while protecting the interests of Canadians," the statement said.
Gunning said he is grateful for the change.
"They were just trying to do their jobs and my case was an odd one that fell between the cracks. They reacted very quickly and I'm very thankful for that as well. I'm impressed that such a large organization was able to change its policy so quickly and, furthermore, consider reviewing their rules," he said.
Gunning had planned to conduct a "penny drive" at his concerts this fall which would raise some cash to pay the mint for future albums. Many fans have promised to bring pennies to his shows.
The musician says he plans to accept the coins, and make a donation of $1,200 to the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax.
The mint stopped producing the penny this spring and it will be slowly phased out.