Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Over Nevermind Cover

Spencer Elden plans appeal after court finds statute of limitations had expired
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2022 2:30 PM CDT
A Lawsuit Over Nirvana Cover Again Is Thrown Out by Judge
In this box set cover image released by Geffen Records, Nirvana, "Nevermind Deluxe Edition," is shown.   (AP Photo/Geffen)

A lawsuit brought by Spencer Elden, who appeared as a naked infant in the cover photo for Nirvana's Nevermind album in 1991, has been dismissed by a California judge. That's happened before, and Elden appealed. His lawyers told CNN on Friday that they'll appeal this decision, as well. US District Judge Fernando Olguin determined that the 10-year statute of limitations had run out on Elden. Defendants in the suit were listed as the members of Nirvana, the executor of the late lead singer Kurt Cobain's estate, and several record labels.

Lawyers for Elden, 31, said Olguin, of the Central District of California, misinterpreted the federal child sexual exploitation statute called Masha's law, per NPR. Elden has argued that the image is pornographic and has inflicted lifelong damage on him while the band profits from it. "Most child pornography is traded well into the victim's adulthood," attorney Margaret Mabie said via email. "Masha's law permits victims to sue for each violation of their privacy when their childhood images remain in circulation." As an example of ongoing harm, Elden's lawyers pointed out that Nevermind was rereleased last year, with the same cover photo, for the album's 30th anniversary. (More Nirvana stories.)

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