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Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Naked Baby Album Cover Lawsuit Dismissed : NPR


Nirvana band members Krist Novoselic (L-R) Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain pose after accepting Best Alternative Video for ‘In Bloom’ at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 2, 1993 in Universal City, California.

Mark J. Terrill/AP


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Mark J. Terrill/AP

Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Naked Baby Album Cover Lawsuit Dismissed : NPR

Nirvana band members Krist Novoselic (L-R) Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain pose after accepting Best Alternative Video for ‘In Bloom’ at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 2, 1993 in Universal City, California.

Mark J. Terrill/AP

Teenage angst does pay off, as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain sang. But a trial of a man who appeared as a naked baby on the group’s monument Not serious the album still does not bear fruit: a federal judge has once again dismissed the lawsuit.

Spencer Elden is appealing the dismissal, her lawyers told NPR, claiming the judge handling the case misinterpreted the federal child sexual exploitation law known as Masha’s Law. Elden says Nirvana and his label profited from child pornography by selling the album that features it on the cover.

“Most child pornography is marketed well into the adulthood of the victim,” lawyer Margaret Mabie said by email. “Masha’s Law allows victims to sue for every violation of their privacy while their childhood images remain in circulation.”

Elden, 31, was 4 months old when he was photographed underwater at the Pasadena Aquatic Center in California. A fish hook and a dollar bill were later changed into the image. Elden says surviving members of Nirvana, Cobain’s estate and others “exploited the lascivious nature of his image” to market and make millions from the famous album.

But the defendants say Elden himself once sought to turn his childhood fame into adult benefits, playing up his ‘Nirvana Baby’ status by re-enacting the photo and autographing copies of the album.

Elden’s lawsuit, filed in August 2021, names the estate of Cobain and former bandmates, as well as photographer Kirk Weddle, Universal Music, Geffen Records, Warner Records and MCA Music. He is seeking at least $150,000 in damages from each defendant, plus legal fees.

But Judge Fernando Olguin of the Central District Court of California dismissed Elden’s lawsuit with prejudice, ruling that he had waited too long to file suit. The judge cites the statute’s statute of limitations, which requires a victim of child pornography to file a complaint either 10 years after discovering the violation or injury to them, or 10 years after turning 18.

“Here, Plaintiff does not dispute that he was aware of injuries resulting from Defendants’ activities related to their use of his likeness on the Not serious album cover more than a decade before filing this action,” Olguin said.

Elden’s attorneys argue that the damage done to her is ongoing and has persisted in the years since her disappearance from minority. They note, for example, that the group and its label have reissued Not serious last year, featuring him on the album cover, to mark his 30th birthday.

According to Olguin’s reading of the law, “the cures for child pornography vaporize once the victim in the contraband image turns 28,” Mabie wrote in an email to NPR. “By this logic, any producer of child pornography – like Masha Allen’s original abuser – could simply wait out the clock and then redistribute abusive material with impunity. Spencer’s victimization as a child remains frozen. in time.”

But the defendants say the statute’s statute of limitations ‘cannot be suspended indefinitely so long as a plaintiff is fully aware that a known person has done the same thing to him, in the same way, for more than 10 years’.

Olguin previously dismissed Elden’s lawsuit in January, after his attorneys missed a deadline to respond to a defense motion. The judge allowed the Elden team to file an amended lawsuit after that mistake, but his new ruling doesn’t give him that leeway.

On Monday, Elden’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal, seeking to take their case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.


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