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Axl Rose Wants 'Fat Axl' Meme Scrubbed From The Internet

A slimmer Axl Rose in action (Photo by Ed Vill via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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It looks like Axl Rose is on a campaign to clean up his image. Earlier this year he buried the hatchet with guitarist Slash and scheduled a North American tour with Guns N' Roses. Then, after suffering an ankle injury right before their Coachella set, Rose soldiered on and performed while sitting on Dave Grohl's chair. Later, Rose would volunteer to fill in for AC/DC's Brian Johnson when the singer's doctors told him to stop touring (or risk losing his hearing).

Rose's latest gambit, however, is perhaps misguided. As reported by TorrentFreak, Rose's camp has filed a DMCA takedown notice with Google. They want to erase, from the internet, an image that the public has turned into a meme. Here are some examples of said meme:

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The punchline, obviously, is Rose's apparent weight gain during the first decade of the 2000s. Rose's handlers say that the original image, taken by Canadian photographer Boris Minkevich for a concert review, is actually Rose's property. Their reasoning is that all photographers at a GNR concert are required to sign a release form, which means that Minkevich's photos are Rose's. Minkevich told TorrentFreak that he doesn't recall if he'd signed a form.

The Winnipeg Free Press, the paper that Minkevich was shooting for, told TorrentFreak that the images are theirs, not Rose's, and that it's not their fault that internet users have hijacked the image for tomfoolery. "The Winnipeg Free Press holds editorial copyright on the image and has not approved any third-party usage," said Free Press Director of Photography Mike Aporius.

Rose's argument is being administered/upheld by Web Sheriff, a sort of anti-piracy PR company that has a knack for garish colors on their website. In 2007, Prince hired Web Sheriff to help him remove his songs from YouTube and to "reclaim the internet," The Guardian reported.

DMCA refers to The Digital Millennium Copyright Act that was enacted in 2000. The act was intended to prevent the duplication of the digital copyrighted materials. Some have alleged, however, that companies have re-interpreted the laws for their own purposes. One example provided by Wired:

Apple used the DMCA in 2009 to stifle the speech of members of the online forum BluWiki. When forum members engaged in a speculative discussion about ways they might unlock their iPods to sync music playlists between iPods and iPhones without having to use iTunes, Apple used the DMCA to strong-arm BluWiki into taking down the discussion. But the site pushed back, and Apple eventually backed down.

Hopefully, Axl will just ride the wave and focus on all the cool things he's been doing recently. Why be bothered by a meme when you're a living rock god? Axl's at his best when he plays up his funny side, like that time when he responded to rumors of the GNR reunion: