A meme is an image, video or a piece of text that is made and shared by Internet users. Memes are known to go viral thus gaining popularity. It is understandable that the rock star would be upset as a result of the images making rounds on the Internet however Axl is now calling for Google to take down the images as he claims that they are copyrighted.
The image was originally taken during a in Canada on the 14th of January 2010 by Winnipeg Free Press journalist Boris Minkevich. And since the memes became popular Axl has made multiple attempts to take them down. Axl has attempted to do take down the images through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which is a piece of American legislation that allows copyright holders to take copyrighted content off of the Internet.
Torrent Freak posted an article tackling the issue. It was reported that a Web Sheriff, on behalf of the singer, had this to say on the matter:
”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.”
This basically means that none of the photographers that were present on the day of the concert were allowed to reproduce the images taken unless they signed a contract passing copyright ownership to Axl’s management. Boris Minkevich followed this protocol and when speaking to Torrent Freak stated that:
”The photo was stolen off our website with no permission granted by Winniepeg Free Press.”
The origins of the ‘fat Axl’ meme is unknown but the embarrassment Axl Rose is experiencing is not. His case is another that highlights the thin line between an ‘innocent’ share on the Internet and copyright infringement. By using the picture (taken from Winniepeg’s website) the originator of the meme has broken the law and can be held accountable for doing so in a court of law.
Although the attempt to find the originator of the meme may be a difficult one, taking the images down should not.
In November 2015, Google offered to:
”Provide free legal support for YouTube users whose videos have been subject to DMCA takedowns.”
But what of images such as memes that end up on different social media networks. Axl Rose has not yet received word from Google as to the takedown of the memes so it seems that, for now, there may not be a solution to the star’s unfortunate Internet fame.