Canadian Mint Decides It Doesn't Really Need To Fine Musician For Photos Of Pennies On Album Cover

While there are many opponents of the lowly penny, including a store in Vermont and soon, the entire country of Canada, one musician was about to be punished by the Canadian mint for his love of the little guys. The folk singer featured a photo of pennies scattered on a counter as well as a large penny on the back, and the Mint warned him that he was violating the government’s copyright on the currency. Say what now?

Yep, up there in Canada, the bills come printed with a copyright notice in the lower right corner that also extends to coins, reports The National Post. At first the Mint said it would give the musician a free pass on his first 2,000 albums but would start collecting $1,200 for the next 2,000. The artist said he wouldn’t be able to afford that and besides, there won’t even be pennies in circulation there soon anyway.

Since it’s doubtful that someone would try to use the penny photos as real currency, the musician sees the whole situation as taxation and launched a Penny Drive to help him raise the money for the tax.

“It is pennies to them but is pretty substantial for me,”  he said.

But now that the media caught on to the struggling musician’s case, the Mint has backed down and said it won’t charge him, well, a penny. And it’s going to look into changing its rules, to boot, reports The Globe and Mail.

“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,” a spokeswoman said. “We’re allowing [him] to do this and we truly wish him well in his career.”

“Everything’s gonna taste better now. I’m gonna sleep better,” said the musician, adding that he was pretty shocked at all the attention his penny crusade brought. “This all started very simply from the fact that I’ve got a wife and three kids and just want to be able to make a living, and felt that I had to stand up for that.”

Jesse Kline: A penny for your thoughts? It could cost you $1,200 [National Post]
Mint drops demand for royalty on penny-inspired folk-music album [The Globe and Mail]