Axl Rose wants Google to remove an unflattering photograph of him from the internet.
The image of the Guns N’ Roses singer, 54, taken by photographer Boris Minkevich at a concert in Winnipeg, Canada in 2010, shows Rose wearing a red bandana hunched over in a pose that makes him look overweight.
Internet pranksters have superimposed text on to the image and similar photographs taken at the gig to create an internet meme dubbed Fat Axl, adding captions which alter Guns N’ Roses lyrics to mock the rocker.
Captions include, “Welcome to the bakery, we got pies and cake,” “Take me down to the barbecue city where the sauce is rich and the ribs are meaty”, “Welcome to McDonalds, we’ve got shakes and fries” and “Oh, oh, oh sweet pie ‘o mine”
Image via Pinterest
As a result, Rose has issued a takedown request to bosses at Google citing America’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, legislation which prevents the unauthorised dissemination of copyrighted works online.
Editors at the TorrentFreak website report internet piracy prevention company Web Sheriff issued multiple takedown requests to Google and Blogger, the blog hosting company owned by the web giant.
“Please be advised that no permission has been granted to publish the copyright image so we cannot direct you to an authorized example of it,” the requests, sent on May 31 read.
Bosses at Web Sheriff indicate that although Minkevich took the photograph for Canadian newspaper the Winnipeg Free Press, he did not own the copyright as he had signed an agreement which gave Rose ownership of the copyright on the photo except in specifically agreed circumstances.
“We can gladly confirm that all official / accredited photographers at (Axl Rose) shows sign-off on ‘Photography Permission’ contracts / ‘Photographic Release’ agreements which A. specify and limit the manner in which the photos can be exploited and B. transfer copyright ownership in such photos to AR’s (Axl Rose) relevant service company,” they say in a statement.
The photographer also argues that the use of the photos to create the joke images also breaches copyright as the newspaper has not given permission for the images to be used, saying, “Either way the photo was stolen off our website with no permission granted by the Winnipeg Free Press.”
At the time of WENN going to press, bosses at Google had yet to comply with the takedown request, and the images were still searchable online. Rose, who earlier this year reunited with Guns N’ Roses’ classic line-up for the first time in 23 years and has also been fronting AC/DC in the absence of Brian Johnson, is not the only celebrity to attempt to get images removed from the internet.
In 2013, a publicist for Beyonce asked editors at BuzzFeed to remove certain images of her performing at America’s Superbowl event, while in 2003 Barbra Streisand attempted to suppress aerial photographs of her home in Malibu, California.
Neither attempt was successful, with Streisand’s request in particular backfiring as it led to the coining of the term “The Streisand Effect”, to refer to attempts by celebrities, politicians or companies to suppress information which end up drawing attention to the subject they did not want people to know about.