Judge Dismisses Nirvana “Nevermind” Album Cover Lawsuit

Photo by Francisco Antunes via Wikimedia Commons

Spencer Elden, the now-adult child model featured in his birthday suit on Nirvana’s 1991 album “Nevermind,” had his lawsuit against the grunge rock band dismissed by a California judge. This was his third attempt to bring the suit and he will not be allowed to file a fourth.

“Spencer Elden, age 31, claimed in his legal papers that the shot of him swimming towards a dollar bill on a fish hook amounted to child porn,” Deadline reports. “US District Judge Fernando Olguin of Los Angeles disagreed. He said Elden had waited far too long to take legal action against several record labels and the band’s drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic, guitarist Kurt Cobain’s estate and photographer Kirk Weddle.”

“We are pleased that this meritless case has been brought to a speedy final conclusion,” an attorney for Nirvana said in a statement to the press.

Elden’s lawyer Margaret Mabie told Rolling Stone magazine that they vowed to appeal the decision.

“Spencer intends to appeal this ruling. This ruling’s interpretation of the statute of limitations on Masha’s Law contravenes over fifteen years of well-settled precedent and the legislature’s intended purpose of the law,” she said. “Under this reading of the law, child pornography remedies vaporize once the victim in the contraband image turns 28 years old. Under this logic, any child pornography producer—such as Masha Allen’s original abuser—could simply wait out the clock and then re-distribute abusive material with impunity.”

Spencer began the lawsuits against Nirvana in August 2021, acquainting the album cover to “child pornography” and opining that it has caused his privacy to be violated. He has recreated the image many times for staged photos.

“Nevermind” was the second studio album from Nirvana and the first to feature Dave Grohl as their drummer. It also features the hit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a certified Platinum single. The cover was chosen among several photos that were sent to the band.

Prior to his death, Cobain said in an interview with ‘Musician’ magazine that the songs featured “some of my very personal experiences, like breaking up with girlfriends and having bad relationships, feeling that death void that the person in the song is feeling—very lonely, sick…”

Jacob Airey

Jacob Airey is a writer, nerd, YouTube host, movie reviewer, and pop culture critic. He started the website StudioJakeMedia.com in 2012 where he covers a vast variety of topics including film, TV, anime, music, and faith. He is also the author of The Seven Royals fantasy novel series.

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