Axl Rose is not a fan of memes. Maybe more specifically, he’s not a fan of the ‘Fat Axl’ memes that have been all over the internet since 2010. Rose is so mad, in fact, that he has issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request with Google in an attempt to rid the internet of the original image that inspired the meme.
The original image was published by the Winnipeg Free Press, but Rose’s takedown request asserts that he owns the image. Apparently, it’s standard for many touring musicians to require photographers to sign a contract transferring the copyright of any image taking during their performance to the act. This allows the musicians to monitor which images are made public and how frequently any publication can use certain images. The problem is, the photographer, Boris Minkevich, says he never signed such a contract with Rose or Guns N’ Roses.
In hindsight, Rose probably considers that a huge oversight by his team.
To add insult to injury, the Winnipeg Free Press spoke out about Rose’s takedown request in quite a hilarious way. Their official statement said, “The Winnipeg Free Press holds editorial copyright on the image and has not approved any third-party usage. We were only recently made aware of these memes, and while we ethically don’t approve, viral media is impossible for us to regulate. Welcome to the jungle.”
Ouch. Looks like Rose is not getting the outcome he wanted here.
What confuses me about this whole thing is why no one on Rose’s team is telling him the meme is actually a good thing. Without his face on memes, Rose is all but completely irrelevant to the younger generation of music lovers.
Sure, some may be exposed to his music through their parents, but mostly his legacy is a thing of the past. With his face circulating through social media, however unflattering it may be, it still keeps him in the younger generation’s awareness. He could use this publicity as a way to give his career a little bit of a resurgence. Or use it as motivation to drop a few pounds. Everyone loves a comeback story.