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04th Sep 2022

Nirvana baby loses child pornography lawsuit brought against the band

Jack Peat

The court concluded that the claim was ‘untimely’ 

The man who featured on Nirvana’s Nevermind album as a baby has lost a lawsuit he brought against the band claiming the cover violated child pornography laws.

Spencer Elden, now 31, filed a lawsuit against the two surviving members of the band as well as Kurt Cobain’s estate, several record labels and photographer Kirk Weddle, in August last year.

At the time, lawyers defending the band argued that his willingness to associate himself with the cover over the years — such as selling autographed copies of the cover and at one point recreating the photograph as an adult for a paying gig — proved he didn’t suffer any damages.

They also argued too much time had passed for Elden to sue.

The latter claim has now been upheld by US District Judge Fernando Olguin of Los Angeles, who ruled that the legal action had surpassed the usual 10-year statute of limitations.

In court documents obtained by Billboard, the judge wrote: “Because it is undisputed that plaintiff did not file his complaint within ten years after he discovered a violation that could form the basis for his [child pornography] claim, the court concludes that his claim is untimely.”

The dismissal of Elden’s third version of the complaint means he’s unable to file a fourth, although he is entitled to appeal the decision.

Elden was four months old when the photo was taken.

His dad was friends with Weddle, who paid the family $200 to dunk the baby in a pool at the Pasadena Aquatic Center in California.

Elden previously claimed he experienced ‘extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations’, as well as ‘interference with his normal development and educational progress’ and ‘lifelong loss of income earning capacity’ as a result of the 1991 album artwork.

But several people have pointed out contrasting statements he has made, such as in an interview with the Guardian in 2015, when he said: “It’s always been a positive thing and opened doors for me.”

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