Man Sues Nirvana For Album Cover, Alleging ‘Child Pornography’

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Kevin Harness Contributor
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A man sued the band Nirvana for allegedly using child pornography for the cover of one of their albums, Variety reported Wednesday.

Los Angeles resident Spencer Elden sued the famous band Tuesday because he claimed that the cover of one of their most popular albums “Nevermind” featured child pornography, according to a report from Variety. (RELATED: Record Label Drops Marilyn Manson Following Allegations Of Abuse)

The album cover features Elden as a 4 month old child with his private parts exposed in a swimming pool. In the image, Elden is seen swimming after a dollar bill attached to a fishing hook. Most people saw this image as commentary on capitalism, Variety reported. Non-sexualized nude photos of infants are not considered pornographic under law, according to the outlet.

Despite that, Elden’s lawyer Robert Y. Lewis has made the argument that the image was pornographic because the photo depicted the infant as a “sex worker.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court’s central district of California, alleges that the band members were using the “pornographic” image as leverage to promote their band and their music at the expense of Elden. “Defendants used child pornography depicting Spencer as an essential element of a record promotion scheme commonly utilized in the music industry to get attention, wherein album covers posed children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention, and critical reviews.”

Elden, who liked the “Nevermind” album and even recreated the same pose (in swim trunks) for the album’s 10th, 17th, 20th, and 25th anniversaries, was suing everyone included in the lawsuit for $15,000 each. These people included surviving members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and former member Chad Channing who was not involved in the making of the album as he was replaced by Grohl prior to the making of the album. Others included in the lawsuit were Kurt Cobain‘s former wife Courtney Love, estate managers Guy Oseary and Heather Parry, photographer Kirk Weddle, art director Robert Fisher and several record companies that have released or distributed the album over the past 30 years.

“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,” the lawsuit says.