Royal Canadian Mint: “You want to use a photo of a penny for your album cover? Yeah, that’ll be $1200.00”

From CBC:

Halifax folk musician Dave Gunning wanted to pay tribute to the soon-to-vanish Canadian penny in song with his upcoming album No More Pennies.

But the Royal Canadian Mint was not happy about the image of the Canadian penny he is using on the album cover. It says Gunning is contravening copyright and must pay a fee.

For every 2000 copies of the album he creates he has to fill out an application, wait for approval and be charged $1,200.

So, Gunning has launched a penny drive, requesting that fans bring pennies to his fall shows so he can afford to issue his album.

The Ottawa-based mint has waived the fee on the first 2,000 albums, to come out Sept. 18. But it is firm that Gunning must pay up for future releases.

A mint spokeswoman confirmed that there is copyright on images of coins.

“The Mint has an Intellectual Property Policy in place to protect its IP assets, which includes coin images, and ensure their appropriate use. In instances where an approved use is being made for commercial gain (as would be the case with an ad campaign or selling music CDs), royalty fees are applied,” she said in a statement.

Ironically, it was a fan trying to help who alerted the mint to Gunning’s tribute to the penny.

“Turns out I have a big fan who works for the Canadian mint. He got the idea, ‘the Canadian mint should get behind this. Maybe we could actually sell the CD in our gift shop,’” Gunning told CBC’s Mainstreet.

“But when he brought it to the attention of his co-workers, somebody in the intellectual property department picked up and said ‘wait a sec – Dave Gunning has never applied to use the image of the penny.’ He was trying to do something good and it clearly backfired.”

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