A few years ago, Rose’s physical appearance was mocked in a series of memes. It became known as the “Fat Axl” meme, and now Rose is fighting back. According to TorrentFreak, the singer has issued a DMCA takedown notice to Google to remove unflattering images, many of which use GNR song titles or lyrics to mock his weight.
The six takedown notices, issued on May 31, specifically reference the photo of Rose in white on the left, taken at a concert in Winnipeg, Canada, in 2010. TorrentFreak tracked down the photographer, Boris Minkevich of the Winnipeg Free Press, who was reportedly not aware Rose was trying to erase the photo from the internet.
But the takedown request gets more muddled when issues of who actually owns the copyright arise. Minkevich could not remember if he’d signed a release that specified who owns the rights but stated that the photo was taken from the Winnipeg Free Press website without permission.
So far, Google has not taken down the photos, which still show up in an image search. In 2013, unflattering photos of Beyoncé‘s Super Bowl performance also became a meme, and her people tried to get sites like BuzzFeed to take them down, which did not happen. In fact, the Streisand Effect took hold, and the meme became even more widespread, a fate which might await Mr. Rose. Even non-celebrities have had to deal with sudden memedom.
Removing a meme from the internet is a Sisyphean task, but as the Daily Dot recently discovered, killing them is fairly easy.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment.