Royal Canadian Mint drops royalty for folk musician’s album

The Royal Canadian Mint has backed down in a dispute with a Nova Scotia folk singer over his upcoming album’s depiction of the penny.

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Mint has backed down in a dispute with a Nova Scotia folk singer over his upcoming album’s depiction of the penny.

The mint had told Dave Gunning he faced a royalty of $1,200 if he produced in excess of 2,000 albums because they contained images of the copper-plated coin.

But Christine Aquino, a spokeswoman for the mint, said Thursday it no longer plans to charge him that fee.

Aquino also said the mint will review its intellectual property policy.

“We recognize our policy as it is today may not consider the individual needs and circumstances of those who request the use of our images,” she said from Ottawa.

“We’re allowing (Gunning) to do this and we truly wish him well in his career.”

Gunning, who’s won multiple awards on the East Coast music scene, made national headlines this week when the mint said his soon-to-be released album infringed copyright.

The Pictou native said his album, titled No More Pennies, is meant as a tribute to the ubiquitous one-cent piece, which the mint stopped producing in May though it remains legal tender.

Gunning could not be reached for comment Thursday, but said in a statement he was pleased the mint stopped penny pinching.

“They were just trying to do their jobs and my case was an odd one that fell between the cracks,” said Gunning, who previously said the whole fuss was embarrassing for Canada.

“They reacted very quickly and I’m very thankful for that as well.”

Michael Wrycraft, the album’s designer, said waiving the fee was only fair.

“I think they just got caught up in some kind of bureaucracy and weren’t really thinking,” he said from Toronto. “I’m terribly happy that clearer heads have prevailed.”

In a statement, the mint said it would assess its intellectual property policy “to ensure that it is being applied fairly on a case-by-base basis while protecting the interests of Canadians.”

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