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US judge dismisses child pornography lawsuit over Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album cover

US judge dismisses child pornography lawsuit over Nirvana's 'Nevermind' album cover

Nevermind premiered in 1991

A California Judge dismissed a child pornography lawsuit brought by the baby-turned-adult who appears naked on the cover of Nirvana’s legendary 1991 album “Nevermind”.

According to a court document dated Friday, Judge Fernando Olguín, of Los Angeles, rejected the lawsuit for estimating, among other things, that the eventual crime had prescribed.

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At the end of August 2021, a month before the 30th anniversary of the album’s release, Spencer Elden, now thirty years old, filed a first complaint, which was rejected for other reasons, and a second in January 2022. Elden claimed to be a victim of “commercial exploitation of child pornography images.”

Photographed in 1991 at the age of four months, Elden appears naked in a swimming pool on the cover of Nevermind, staring at a dollar bill hanging on a hook.

With legendary titles like Smells Like Teen Spirit, the album sold more than 30 million copies, becoming a rock reference.

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At 25, the baby on the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind recreated the iconic image
At 25, the baby on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind recreated the iconic image

The plaintiff, who said that he never received financial compensation for the photo and claimed that his parents had not authorized the use of his image in that way, rclaimed $150,000 in damages to each of the 15 people he sued.

Among the defendants are former members of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain’s executor Courtney Love and photographer Kirk Weddle.

In their response to the complaint, defense attorneys argued that “Elden has spent three decades basking in his fame as the self-proclaimed ‘Nirvana baby’.”

He has retaken the photo for money many times; she has tattooed the album title ‘Nevermind’ on her chest (…), she has autographed copies of the album cover to sell on eBay and used that link to try to flirt with women”, they said.

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In August 2021, Nirvana representatives refuted the claims of Elden, who in his lawsuit claimed that his image used on the cover of the 1991 album caused him “psychological damage for life”.

FILE - Nirvana members Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain, left to right, pose after receiving the award for Best Alternative Video for "In Bloom" at the 10th annual MTV Video Music Awards on Dec. September 1993 in Universal City, California.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE – Nirvana members Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain, left to right, pose after receiving the award for Best Alternative Video for “In Bloom” at the 10th annual MTV Video Music Awards on Dec. September 1993 in Universal City, California. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

“Elden has spent three decades benefiting from his fame as the self-proclaimed ‘baby of Nirvana’”affirmed the spokesmen of the band, who also assured that the plaintiff, now 30 years old, has recreated the photo “on more than one occasion”has given interviews about it and even has “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest.

“He has appeared on talk shows in flesh-colored onesie pajamas parodying himself; he has autographed copies of the album cover to sell on eBay and has used his link to try to pick up women,” Nirvana’s legal team stated.

Lawyers for the band have deemed Elden’s argument about child pornography absurd. To do this, they echoed some statements that Elden himself made in an interview in 2015 to Guardianin which he spoke about the importance of the photo: “It’s kind of strange to be part of such a culturally iconic image. But it has always been something positive and has opened doors for me.”, he said almost seven years ago.

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(With information from AFP)

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