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Nirvana wins lawsuit over naked baby on Nevermind album cover

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The man who was pictured as a baby on the cover of an iconic Nirvana album has lost a lawsuit accusing the grunge rock band of child pornography. 

Los Angeles artist Spencer Elden, now 31, filed the lawsuit in  U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 2021, alleging that appearing naked as a 4-month-old infant on the cover of the 1991 album "Nevermind" caused him emotional distress and lost-learning capacity as an adult. 

Elden attempted to sue former band members Krist Novoselic, Chad Channing, David Grohl and Robert Fisher; the estate of Kurt Cobain; his widow Courtney Love and others for $150,000 each. 

Elden's lawsuit claimed the musicians "commercially marketed Spencer's child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense," according to the lawsuit.

Motion to dismiss unopposed

More than 30 million copies of the album on which Elden is depicted swimming naked in a pool, reaching for a superimposed dollar bill on a fish hook, have been sold worldwide.

United States district Judge Fernando M. Olguin ruled Friday that Elden had waited too long to file the lawsuit given that he had learned about the album cover more than 10 years ago. 

The judge in January dismissed the case after attorneys for Elden missed a deadline to file an opposition to the defendants' motion to dismiss. 

Elden's lawyers had been allowed to file a second amended complaint concerning "alleged defects" in the defendants' motion to dismiss.

Nirvana's attorneys' motion to dismiss argued Elden had spent three decades profiting from his depiction on the album cover. 

"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," they said.