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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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2016.06.05 - TorrentFreak - Axl Rose Sends DMCA Notices to Google Targeting ‘Fat’ Photo (& related articles)

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2016.06.05 - TorrentFreak -  Axl Rose Sends DMCA Notices to Google Targeting ‘Fat’ Photo (& related articles) Empty 2016.06.05 - TorrentFreak - Axl Rose Sends DMCA Notices to Google Targeting ‘Fat’ Photo (& related articles)

Post by Blackstar Sat May 20, 2023 2:37 pm

Axl Rose Sends DMCA Notices to Google Targeting ‘Fat’ Photo

by Andy Maxwell

Many of us have unflattering photographs that we would rather forget but most exist in family archives that are easily hidden away. However, if you're a multi-millionaire rock star potentially trying to erase an unfortunate moment, there are always DMCA takedown notices to fall back upon.

As regularly documented in these pages, copyright holders expend a lot of energy trying to protect their work from Internet piracy.

The tried and tested method is to issue a DMCA takedown notice to webhosts and platforms such as Google, Facebook and YouTube. Millions of these requests are sent and processed every week.

However, while copyright holders are fully entitled to protect their work, there are many instances that cause controversy. These cases often amount to ham-handed efforts at taking down infringing content but others arouse suspicions that censorship is the likely goal.

Details of several such cases appeared in the Lumen Database’s DMCA archive this week, having been filed there by Google. They all relate to a wave of copyright claims sent to Blogspot and GoogleUserContent on May 31, 2016 demanding the removal of pictures depicting Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose.

“Copyright image of Axl Rose. 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 notices sent by Web Sheriff on behalf of the singer read.



Each notice (1,2,3,4,5,6) relates to the same image, an excellently framed but rather unflattering picture of Axl Rose taken at the MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Canada, back in 2010.

Intrigued, TorrentFreak tracked down the photographer who captured this moment to see if he was aware of these takedown efforts. We eventually found Boris Minkevich at the Winnipeg Free Press where his fine work is published in all its glory.

During our initial discussions a few things became clear. Firstly, Minkevich definitely took the photo. Second, Minkevich had no idea that Rose was trying to “cleanse the web” of his photo.

Perhaps the first reaction here is that Rose has no right to take down Minkevich’s photo. Since Minkevich was the one who took it, he must own the copyright, right? Web Sheriff doesn’t seem to think so.

“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 relevant service company,” the company told TF in a statement.

We contacted Minkevich again and asked whether he’d signed any contracts as suggested by Web Sheriff or had any clear idea of who owns the copyrights. He confirmed that some shows make photographers sign an agreement and some don’t. This event was in 2010, a long time to remember back.

However, even if Minkevich took this photograph in an unofficial and/or unauthorized capacity, Web Sheriff still believes there would be issues surrounding ownership.

“[If a photographer] was there and taking shots without permission or authority, then other considerations / factors would come-into-play as to what such individuals can and cannot do in terms of attempting to commercially exploit the resultant images of someone else’s show,” TF was informed.

So while the waters about who owns what continue to swirl, the big question remains – why target the picture at all? Understandably, Web Sheriff told us that client work is confidential but it’s certainly possible that part of the puzzle lies a quick Google search away.

As can been seen below, the photographs taken by Mr Minkevich all those years ago also triggered a viral Axl Rose ‘fat’ meme – hardly the kind of image someone like Axle Rose would like to preserve.

While poking fun at someone’s appearance is sadly par for the course on some parts of the Internet, sending DMCA notices is hardly likely to cure the problem, if indeed that’s what the aim of the half-dozen notices was. It’s possible we’ll never find out for sure.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that Google hasn’t complied with the requests to remove the images and all remain up and accessible. That may be because Google believes that Axl Rose doesn’t own the photo and that the copyrights sit with Minkevich and/or the Winnipeg Free Press.

Clearly Axl Rose thinks otherwise but as pointed out by Minkevich to TF, the images being targeted on Blogspot are definitely infringing, although perhaps not in the way Axl might’ve hoped.

“Either way the photo was stolen off our website with no permission granted by the Winnipeg Free Press,” he concludes.

Messy? You bet.

https://torrentfreak.com/axl-rose-sends-dmca-notices-to-google-targeting-fat-photo-160605/
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Post by Blackstar Sat May 20, 2023 2:38 pm

Winnipeg Free Press, June 6:
---------------------------------

Free Press picture sullied by Internet’s cruel crudeness

Memes fat-shame Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose

By: Jen Zoratti

On Monday, something strange happened: a completely innocuous, four-star Winnipeg Free Press review of a Guns N’ Roses concert from six years ago started getting tens of thousands of hits.

As it turns out, Free Press photographer Boris Minkevich’s shots of lead singer Axl Rose had been lifted and turned into Internet memes — you know, those highly shareable captioned images that clog your Facebook feed. And now, Rose is trying to get those images scrubbed from the web.

The memes themselves target Axl’s weight, and consist mostly of embarrassingly unfunny riffs on GN’R lyrics. “Welcome to the bakery, we’ve got pies and cakes,” is one. “Oh, oh, oh, oh, sweet pie o’mine,” is another. The least creative is a close-up of Axl’s face with just “Diabeetus” written under it in all caps. Har, har, har. Good one, Internet.

Rose issued a Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedown notice to Google, claiming copyright infringement.

So who owns these photos? According to Web Sherrif, the anti-piracy company who filed the notice on behalf of Rose, the singer owns the photos.

Free Press photographers often sign agreements for big concerts they photograph. The agreements are never the same and, in recent years, have become increasingly annoying. Many artists have started requesting pre-approval of photos, which is both a logistical and journalistic problem. Many other artists have stopped allowing live photography at all.

While it’s tempting to write the latter off as petulant diva behaviour, it’s hard to argue with a no-photo policy when fat-shaming memes such as these appear. The Internet: ruining everything for everyone.

The photos in question were definitely used without the permission of Rose, and they were definitely used without the permission of the Free Press. Ownership aside, in the tricky-to-regulate Wild West of the Internet, trying to find and take down every photo stolen and used without permission is all but impossible.

Everyone, famous or not, has photos of themselves they feel are “unflattering” — which, of course, is completely subjective. Take-down campaigns, especially those that can become news, inadvertently give new life to so-what photos from who-cares ago. This story, originally reported by TorrentFreak on Sunday, has since been picked up by outlets all over the world, from Spin and NME to the Austrian newspaper derStandard and the New York Daily News.

More people have seen Minkevich’s Axl Rose photos this week than when they were published 2,335 days ago. Only now, they are accompanied by headlines talking about how “fat” and “bloated” he looks in these “unflattering” photos.

Photo theft has happened to me. A beautiful Free Press photo of me and my family that ran with a feature about the evolution from pet ownership to pet parenting was stolen and used to illustrate an unfortunate blog post titled Dog’s Mommy Applauds Human Abortion. I would never had seen it if I didn’t happen to Google myself in a moment of vanity. The author of the post will get hits when people inevitably Google that see-it-to-believe-it headline after reading this column. It’s the circle of the Internet. And I’m not a famous person.

But the problem with this kind of theft isn’t just one of copyright. Minneapolis actor/writer and Winnipeg Fringe Festival favourite Amy Solloway wrote a heartbreaking 2015 essay titled I Am The Woman You Laughed At On the Internet. A photo of her, taken without her consent, made it onto the site Youredoingitwrong.com, in which users can upload photos of anyone doing something in public. In this case, Solloway was at a gym, and she was photographed sitting on a chair on a treadmill. Solloway happens to have a larger body. “I should have realized,” she wrote. “The comedic gold, of this body, sitting in a chair on a treadmill, staring glassy-eyed up at a screen.”

The context stripped from the image was that she had already walked for 80 minutes and pulled up a chair to catch the end of the House episode she had been watching. Nothing more, nothing less. She didn’t think about this life choice as being particularly hilarious. She was just living her life, only to be fat-shamed later on social media.

There are endless “fat” memes online, many of them featuring little kids. Some are stock photos. Many are just regular pictures of real people, taken off Facebook or Instagram and repurposed for cruelty, a target for other people’s fat hatred and insecurities.

Rose’s photos were taken with his permission, but society tends to think about famous people’s bodies as public property, to be evaluated, commented upon and mocked — which is actually not all that different from how society thinks about fat people’s bodies.

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/music/2016/06/06/free-press-picture-sullied-by-internets-cruel-crudeness
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Post by Blackstar Sat May 20, 2023 2:45 pm

Billboard, June 7:
--------------------

Axl Rose Issues Takedown Order For Unflattering ‘Fat Axl’ Picture From 2010 Guns N’ Roses Concert

By Gil Kaufman

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose has issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request with Google in an attempt to scrub the internet of the picture that inspired the “fat Axl” meme, according to reports. Torrentfreak reports that a recent edition of Lumen Database’s DMCA archive found a series of requests sent on May 31 by Web Sheriff on behalf of Rose to the search giant listing allegedly infringing URLs featuring the unflattering pic.

The image of a robust Rose — wearing a red bandana, open-chested white dress shirt and ripped jeans while leaning forward with a menacing look — originally appeared alongside a GNR show review in the Winnipeg Free Press in January 2010 and has become a beloved rock n’ roll meme. “Copyright image of Axl Rose. 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,” read the notices sent to Blogspot and GoogleUserContent.

While a spokesperson for Rose and GNR had not responded to requests for comment at press time, TorrentFreak spoke to Web Sheriff about the image, which argued that although Free Press staff photographer Boris Minkevich took the photos on assignment for the paper, he technically doesn’t own the copyright on them. “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 relevant service company,” Web Sheriff said in a statement.

Bands often have photographers sign contracts that include clauses related to ownership of any images shot during performances. Some of those contracts specify that the act has the right to demand a photo only be used a certain number of times, for a specific outlet (or for a limited period) and occasionally that the performer has the right to take ownership of all images shot during their concerts. Minkevich, who could not be reached for comment at press time, told TorrentFreak he couldn’t recall if he signed a contract while shooting the GNR show.

In a statement to sent to Billboard, Free Press Director of Photography Mike Aporius said Rose’s reps have no right to the image, which has been re-posted without the paper’s permission. “We’ve had a number of requests for comment on the circulating memes of Axl Rose based on a photo staff photographer Boris Minkevich took in Winnipeg in January of 2010,” it read. “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.”

https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/axl-rose-takedown-fat-axl-picture-7400170/
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Post by Blackstar Sat May 20, 2023 2:45 pm

Fortune, June 8:
---------------------

Axl Rose Wants a ‘Fat’ Photo Taken Off the Internet. Here’s Why It Won’t Happen.

BY Daniel Bukszpan

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose has an image problem, but it’s different from the kind he used to deal with as a 25-year-old rock and roll bad boy. In this case, he wants a less than flattering photo of himself scrubbed from the Internet, and the sad fact is, he’s got his work cut out for him.

Rose has had image problems before, including allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, allegedly racist and homophobic lyrics and album covers with graphic depictions of violent sexual acts. Those, however, came with the territory of being in a band whose debut, 1987’s “Appetite for Destruction,” topped the Billboard album charts, contained such classics as “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and sold 18 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Now 54 years old, Rose has succumbed to the perils of aging, just like the rest of us. A photo of him that was taken at a 2010 performance in Winnipeg, Canada and ran in the Winnipeg Free Press hit the Internet and went viral, and became the subject of cruel mockery on social media.

How bad is it?

The photo itself is unflattering. There’s no getting around that. But the real problem is that it became fodder for memes that feature parodies of Guns N’ Roses lyrics. These lyrics are superimposed over the singer, and say such hurtful things as, “Welcome to the bakery, we’ve got tons of cake.”

Rose issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown request with Google (GOOGL), and notices were sent to Blogspot and GoogleUserContent that read, “Copyright image of Axl Rose. 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.”

Even if Rose has a legal leg to stand on in demanding the removal of the photo, getting rid of it after it’s gone viral is an impossible task. Countless Internet users the world over have saved it to their desktops and circulated it over social media, in numbers that are impossible to estimate.

“The Streisand Effect”

Bennet Kelley, founder of the Internet Law Center in Santa Monica, California, said that while Rose has options, none come with any guarantee that the photo will be removed definitively. In fact, he said that the singer exacerbated the situation by filing the takedown request in the first place.

“He’s doing it the wrong way by announcing that he’s doing it,” Kelley told Fortune. “This is something that needs to be done quietly. Letting that become public is bad news. He’s creating ‘The Streisand Effect.’”

For those not in the know, “The Streisand Effect” refers to singer Barbra Streisand, who embarked upon an effort to bury aerial photos of her Malibu home in 2003. She filed a lawsuit against the photographer, claiming that he had violated her privacy by displaying the photo on the website of the California Coastal Records Project, an environmental resource documenting development along the state’s coastline. In so doing, she simply drew more attention to the photos that she felt violated her privacy.

“When she started the lawsuit, it got a million hits,” Kelley said. “When you’re doing stuff online, if you go after it, it just makes it worse.”

The question of whether or not Rose has a legal case is not cut and dried. After all, what good is legal recourse if it’s not effective?

“The Internet is really good when it comes to copyright law,” he said. “People? Not so much. The images that are out there, most of them were taken by the paparazzi, that he can’t control. He can cajole sites, but legally they don’t have to comply.”

The technology, or lack thereof

No product can permanently scrub a particular image off of the Internet, but the more tech-savvy might try to take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, this is time-consuming, ineffective and at times illegal.

“There’s SEO, where you would try to maximize other content,” Kelley said. “There are programs out there that can remove content by injecting SQL code into someone’s browser, but it’s not legal.”

Mitch Stoltz, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that attempts to take down photos are almost always counterproductive.

“I’m not aware of any technology that can make an embarrassing photo disappear from the Internet,” he said. “But the law aside, the harder someone tries to make a photo disappear, the more people will pass it around and share it.”

What about saying “please”?

Bennett said that Rose might have some luck if he just asks. But this, too, only has the potential to address a very small portion of the problem.

“It could be done through permissions, asking people to be reasonable and take it down,” he said. “But to argue that it’s violating his right to publicity? I just don’t know what his argument would be. He can’t change history.”

Mitch Stoltz said that Rose would have more of a case if the photo had been taken by someone in his employ. Unfortunately for Rose, that’s just not the case.

“Probably the only grounds he could have to ask for the photo to be taken down would be copyright law,” he said. “But copyright belongs to the photographer, not the person in the photo.”

“We ethically don’t approve”

What about The Winnipeg Free Press itself, the publication that got the whole ball rolling in the first place? The publication’s director of photography, Mike Aporius, told Billboard that the publication’s hands were tied.

“The Winnipeg Free Press holds editorial copyright on the image and has not approved any third-party usage,” he said. “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.”

It remains to be seen whether the takedown request will have any effect, one way or the other. After all, anyone who ever spent ten minutes on Facebook knows that viral memes have a life of their own, and that the best recourse may be just be to wait it out. After all, social media users are easily distracted by new trending topics, and trying to squash one publicly may just add fuel to the fire.

“These things need to be dealt with discreetly,” Kelley said. “The fact that you’re reporting it speaks volumes.”

https://fortune.com/2016/06/08/axl-rose-fat-meme-internet/
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Post by Blackstar Sat May 20, 2023 2:58 pm

The 2010 review in Winnipeg Free Press that contained the picture:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t2540-2010-01-13-mts-centre-winnipeg-mb-canada#23822
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