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Court dismisses claim of Nirvana’s grown-up baby album

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Los Angeles Judge Fernando Olguin dismissed the complaint, in particular on the grounds of limitation, according to this document. At the end of August 2021, a month before the 30th anniversary of the release of the album, Spencer Elden, now thirty, had filed a first complaint, followed by a second in January 2022 after a first rejection for other reasons, in claiming to be a victim of “commercial exploitation of child pornography images”.

Photographed in 1991 at the age of four months, Spencer Elden appears naked in a swimming pool on the cover of Nevermind, the gaze ogling on a dollar bill on a hook. With legendary titles like Smells Like Teen Spirit, the cult album sold more than 30 million copies, becoming a rock reference.

The plaintiff, who said he never received financial compensation for the photo and assured that his parents had not given permission to use his image in this way, claimed 150,000 dollars in damages from each of the 15 people he was suing, including former Nirvana members, Kurt Cobain’s executor, Courtney Love, and photographer, Kirk Weddle.

In a memorandum responding to the complaint and filed, their lawyers argued instead that “Elden has spent three decades enjoying his fame as the self-proclaimed ‘baby Nirvana'”. “He has done the photo again in exchange for remuneration on numerous occasions; he has had the title of the album +Nevermind+ tattooed on his chest (…) he has signed copies of the cover of the album for sell them on eBay and he used that link to try to hit on women,” they said.