Does Axl’s photograph claim carry any weight?

July 2016

Artistes, photography


Guns N Roses and now AC/DC frontman Axl Rose has filed six DCMA take down notices in what is seen as an attempt remove an unflattering photo of him from a 2010 Canadian concert from the web. The requests were filed on behalf of Rose by anti-piracy firm Web Sheriff, and all target examples of the same picture hosted on Blogspot and GoogleUserContent domains which have has spawned a series of ‘Fat Axl’ memes relating to the singer’s increased weight with labels such as ‘Sweet Pie of Mine’, ‘Take Me Down To the Bakery City’ and ‘Welcome to McDonalds’.


The original image was taken by Winnipeg Free Press photojournalist Boris Minkevich, who was initially unaware that any action was being taken over the image he snapped – and who is reported byTorrentFreak to have said that the only copyright being infringed is his: “The photo was stolen off our website with no permission granted by the Winnipeg Free Press”.
However Web Sheriff told TorrentFreak that all photographers at the concert were said to have been required to sign an agreement passing copyright ownership of images taken to Rose’s company, The photographer cannot remember whether he signed the agreeement or not. Web Sheriff’s stateent reads ”

“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.” 


When pressed by TorrentFreak on whether or not Minkevich had signed a release, Web reportedly Sherriff responded
“[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,”
In August 2015 George Chin wrote for us on this topic in the wake of Irish Times  refusal to publish photographs of Taylor Swift’s sold out arena show in Dublin and a later Washington City Paper (USA) article headlined  “Why we’re not photographing the Foo Fighters” – with both publications critical of “Artist Photography Release Agreements” – which the latter opined were the “exploitation of photographers, pure and simple. If a streaming music service tried to use the band’s music for free, they’d have none of it.”
You can see the image here

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