Nirvana have motioned for the Nevermind album cover lawsuit to be dismissed. The suit was originally filed earlier this year by Spencer Elden, the man who was photographed for the album cover when he was a baby.
Elden initiated the lawsuit back in August, just a month prior to Nevermind’s 30th anniversary, and claimed that the image was a form of child pornography. A month later, he publicly asked Universal Music to stop using the album cover, especially for the 2021 reissue. However, the anniversary editions, which were released in November, still feature the original cover art. Later that month, Elden submitted an amendment to his claims, citing disturbing entries from Kurt Cobain‘s journal in an attempt to further his case.
Nirvana, Courtney Love and Universal Music have now filed a motion to have the case thrown out, stating that Elden’s claims that the album cover violates the federal child pornography statute and federal sex trafficking of children statute are “barred by the applicable statute of limitations,” according to Digital Music News.
“Elden has spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby,’” the defendants’ motion reads. “He has reenacted the photograph in exchange for a fee, many times; he has had the album title ‘Nevermind’ tattooed across his chest; he has appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying, nude-colored onesie; he has autographed copies of the album cover for sale on eBay; and he has used the connection to try to pick up women.”
Additionally, Nirvana pointed out that the band wasn’t responsible for revealing Elden’s identity as the baby on the cover.
“Elden, however, does not allege that any of the Defendants was responsible for revealing Elden’s identity as the baby on the Nevermind cover,” it states. Rather, it was Elden’s father and Elden himself who publicly celebrated Elden’s identity as the baby on the album cover, in a series of articles published beginning no later than 1992. For example, in 1992, Elden’s father sat for an interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he confirmed his son was the “Nirvana Baby” on the now-iconic cover of Nevermind.”
The filing further notes that the child pornography claim has a 10-year limitations period, and the sex trafficking of children statute went into effect in 2003.
“Elden has alleged no facts, at all, about any barriers outside his control which prevented him from asserting a timely claim, and cannot plausibly allege any such facts to warrant tolling of the statute from 1995 to the time of filing, even if he were given leave to amend,” the motion concludes. “Elden’s failure to timely pursue a sex trafficking claim within the limitations period bars it now, to the extent that it is not already dead on arrival.”
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