Legal Battle Surrounding Nirvana Album Cover Revived by US Court

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Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ album cover case revived by court - Copyright DGC Records

American rock band Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover stoked controversies when the 4-month-old naked baby on the 1991 cover, now 32,  sued the band last year for sexual exploitation.

The case was thrown out by a federal judge in California. The plaintiff, Elden was not allowed to file a revised version after the judge declared that the 10-year statute limit was up for one of the laws that could enhance the cause of action.

Despite the initial court’s decision, Elden has been granted a reopening and reinvestigations into his child sexual exploitation suit by a three-judge panel at the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in California.

The Appeals Court judges cited the reappearance of the album cover at Nirvana’s 30th-anniversary ceremony in 2021 adding that the reissuing of an image “may constitute a new personal injury” with a new limit.

Elden and his lawyer argue that he has suffered indomitable harm while Nirvana has benefited hugely from his naked picture on their cover.

On the contrary, the legal representation for Nirvana stated that Elden has on several occasions used his appearance on the album cover to his advantage, hence, the case will be fought vigorously.

“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,” Nirvana’s lawyers said.

“This procedural setback does not change our view,” Nirvana’s lawyer Bert Deixler stated, adding they will defend this “meritless case with vigour”.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Elden posits that his client is very happy about the turnout of events and “looks forward to having his day in court”.

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