Man Photographed as Baby on ‘Nevermind’ Cover Sues Nirvana, Alleging Child Pornography

By the title I would have guessed this was an article in The Onion, but it actually is in Variety:

Good luck with that.

"Non-sexualized nude photos of infants are generally not considered child pornography under law.

However, Robert Y. Lewis, Elden’s lawyer, offers an unusual interpretation of the image to argue that it crosses the line into child porn, writing that the inclusion of currency in the shot makes the baby appear “like a sex worker.”"

In other words the shyster is looking for a quick settlement/payday.

I’m not sure why they’re going the “child pornography” route, when according to the article they’ve got a legitimate claim in that Elden’s parents never signed a release to allow use of the image.

I also love this line from the lawsuit: “Neither Spencer nor his legal guardians ever signed a release authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him." Oh, so if they had signed a release authorizing commercial child pornography then everything would have been fine. . .

Yup its all about the $.

I wonder if anyone has told him that the picture wasn’t supposed to be arousing, but was symbolizing people who make a naked grab for money they’ll never get. I wonder if he’s cursed to spend his life living out this picture.

He’s actually become the baby chasing the dollar…

Maybe it just ups the threat ante in an effort to increase the amount of the sought-after settlement.

There is no current statute of limitations for child pornography at the federal level. This means that offenders can be charged at any time after their offense.


Threaten with criminal charges; settle for civil damages.

I’m wondering how true that is. Another article I found does state that the parents were paid $200 for the photo shoot. It was clear that the photo shoot was being used for an album cover – they were told that, and it was taken by underwater photographer Kirk Weddle. I suppose it’s quite possible that the photographer was naive enough not to have his ducks and paperwork in a row and the parents never signed a model release for their child, and it was all done on two hundred bucks and a handshake, but my intuition would be the photographer would have known the paperwork required for a commercial shoot. I think there’s a 50-50 chance at least that the claim is bullshit. The article I found suggested that was a new claim. Nobody noticed this before? That’s the surest way to get some $$$ out of it.

And the fact that he didn’t make more money off such an iconic image? Well, boo hoo. If you model for a picture, you generally get paid a flat modeling fee, and that’s it. I suppose you can structure a contract where you get a royalty, but, as far as I know and as far as I’ve done (in the limited model-released corporate work I’ve done), that’s not how it works.

I just wonder why it’s such a huge issue 30 years later, if it is anything more than a money grab. Seems like if there’s really a significant issue, shouldn’t this have come up, oh, about 10-15 years ago (once he reached adulthood, if he couldn’t get Mom/Dad on board)?

He’s recreated the photo a couple times. With pants

Here’s one

And without issue.

Well, yes; the activities that give rise to issue tend to be easier without pants.

I mean that he was fine recreating it more than once without raising any complaint about the original shoot.

Children have been nude in art going back centuries. There is nothing sexualized or salacious in the Nirvana album cover. This suit is a quick money grab at best.

ISWYDT :wink:

I didn’t. Oops.

Not only that; according to the article in Variety, he has the image tattooed on his chest.

This Guardian article puts it in perspective. The last para is particularly interesting I thought.

And the suit apparently names Courtney Love - did she even have anything to do with the album cover? She wasn’t part of the band or management AFAIK. You would have to suspect she has been joined in just because she’s alive and has money and could be embarrassed by the matter.

Sounds very like a straight money grab.