Some legal experts have chimed in on the child pornography lawsuit filed by Spencer Elden, the now 30-year-old man who appeared on the cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind as a baby.
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to some attorneys about the lawsuit to get their opinion. The outlet wrote, “Bryan Sullivan, an entertainment litigation partner at Early Sullivan, says the suit is ‘ridiculous,’ and that even if there wasn’t a written agreement, which he doubts, Elden’s claims are weak. ‘I think it is highly unlikely that a record company would use a photograph for an album cover without verifying the existence of a release signed by the parents,’ he says. ‘But, if is there is no release, it does not mean he has a claim for child pornography. As to the right of privacy, you can waive it by your actions or by his parents’ actions in allowing him to be photographed.'”
The Hollywood Reporter quoted another entertainment litigator, who was unnamed in the article, that stated, “I think what will be most troubling for any judge will be the amount of time that has elapsed since the photo was published, the fact the kid’s parents did this knowingly (more or less, but they knew the naked baby was being photographed), and the numerous times that the plaintiff himself embraced the photo and sought publicity for himself.”
Elden has publically recreated the iconic album cover multiple times. Per the BBC, he has recreated the image of himself in a pool on the 10th, 17th, 20th and 25th anniversaries of Nevermind.
As previously reported, Elden is suing the surviving members of Nirvana, Universal Music Group, Geffen Records, Nevermind photographer Kirk Weddle, Courtney Love (who’s the executor of Kurt Cobain’s estate) and others.
In documents filed in the United States District Court in the Central District of California, the lawsuit states, in part, “Defendants knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so…Despite this knowledge, Defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking.”
Elden is being represented by Robert Y. Lewis, who lists child pornography as one of his primary practice areas on his firm’s website.
Among the relief requested in the lawsuit include damages of $150,000 from each of the 15 defendants listed in the documents, “punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish each of the Defendants,” attorney’s fees and “other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”