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Nirvana Wins Lawsuit Over Naked Baby on ‘Nevermind’ Album Cover


A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a person who, as a baby, had graced the quilt of Nirvana’s seminal album, “Nevermind,” and argued 30 years later that the long-lasting photo of him drifting naked in a pool had been a type of sexual exploitation.

The person, Spencer Elden, 31, accused Nirvana in his grievance of engaging in child pornography after it used a photograph of him for the quilt of “Nevermind,” the 1991 album that catapulted the Seattle grunge rock band to international fame.

The judge, Fernando M. Olguin, wrote in his eight-page ruling that because Mr. Elden had learned in regards to the album cover greater than 10 years ago, he had waited too long to file his lawsuit, making his claims premature.

The lawsuit was filed within the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the estate of Kurt Cobain; the musician’s former bandmates, David Grohl and Krist Novoselic; and Mr. Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, amongst other parties. Bert H. Deixler, a lawyer for the defendants, said in a press release that they were “pleased this meritless case has been dropped at a swift conclusion.”

Robert Y. Lewis, one in all Mr. Elden’s lawyers, didn’t reply to an email searching for comment on Sunday.

The dismissal got here after Judge Olguin dismissed the case in January for one more reason: Mr. Elden’s lawyers had missed a deadline to answer a motion for dismissal by the lawyers for Nirvana.

Judge Olguin had allowed Mr. Elden’s lawyers to file a second amended grievance to handle “the alleged defects” within the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

However the dismissal on Friday appeared to finish the legal back-and-forth.

Mr. Elden, an artist living in Los Angeles County, has gone to therapy for years to work through how the album cover affected him, his lawyers have said, arguing that his privacy had been invaded, in keeping with court records.

He had been searching for $150,000 from each of the 15 people and firms named within the grievance.

The photo of Mr. Elden, who was then 4 months old, was picked from amongst dozens of images of babies by the photographer Kirk Weddle. Mr. Cobain envisioned the album cover showing a baby underwater.

Mr. Weddle paid Mr. Elden’s parents $200 for the image, which was later altered to point out the child chasing a dollar bill, dangling from a fishhook.

Within the years that followed, Mr. Elden’s opinion in regards to the photo modified. Initially, he appeared to rejoice his part within the classic cover, recreating the moment for the album’s tenth, seventeenth, twentieth and twenty fifth anniversaries, though not naked.

“It’s cool but weird to be a part of something so vital that I don’t even remember,” he said in 2016 in an interview with The Recent York Post, during which he posed holding the album cover at 25.

He also expressed anger on the individuals who still talked about it, telling GQ Australia that he was not comfortable with people seeing him naked. “I didn’t really have a selection,” he said.

Of their motion to dismiss, lawyers for Nirvana said that in 2003, when Mr. Elden was 12 years old, he acknowledged in an interview that he would probably all the time be referred to as the child on the album cover.

Based on the lawyers, he said on the time, “I’m probably gonna get some money from it.”

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