Lawyers for Nirvana are seeking the dismissal of a child pornography lawsuit brought by the man who appeared on their Nevermind album cover as a baby.
Spencer Elden filed the lawsuit in August, accusing the band of violating federal pornography laws and exploiting him, as an image of him swimming naked as an infant was featured in the artwork for the 1991 record.The band filed a motion to dismiss the suit in a California federal court on Tuesday, according to Billboard, claiming he had waited too long to make his complaint and that it was “not serious”.
Their lawyers stated Elden’s lawsuit is “barred by the applicable statute of limitations,” and added, “Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious.”
The 30-year-old is suing the surviving members of Nirvana – Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic – as well as the estate of deceased frontman Kurt Cobain, his widow Courtney Love, photographer Kirk Weddle, the labels that released Nevermind, and other parties.
In the motion to dismiss, Nirvana’s lawyers state that the applicable laws have a 10-year statute of limitations from the point at which the claimant becomes aware of the alleged offence. Therefore, they argue, the statute of limitations has expired as Elden was aware he had been featured on the album cover long before August 2011.
“The Nevermind cover photograph was taken in 1991,” it reads. “It was world-famous by no later than 1992. Long before 2011, as Elden has pled, Elden knew about the photograph, and knew that he (and not someone else) was the baby in the photograph. He has been fully aware of the facts of both the supposed ‘violation’ and ‘injury’ for decades.”
In the years before the lawsuit, Elden participated in campaigns recreating the cover image, and had its title tattooed on his chest. However, he told GQ Australia in 2016 that he had revised his enthusiasm for his unlikely claim to fame.