Weekly Roundup: 12th September: Smells like dismissal

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Smells Like Dismissal

Taiwo Oshodi

As one of a growing number of cases against high profile musicians, Spencer Elden, once the baby on the iconic cover of Nirvana’s 1991 record, “Nevermind,” has had his attempt to sue Nirvana over the band’s use of the image dismissed. US District Judge, Fernando M. Olguin dismissed Elden’s claim that the image constituted child exploitation on the basis that the ten-year statute of limitations had been breached.

The lawsuit was first filed in August 2021, with Elden seeking $150,000 in damages from the band, and has been dismissed three times. The initial and amended complaints all center on the idea that the cover and its distribution constitute commercial sexual exploitation – essentially claiming the image was child pornography. Elden claimed that with this he has suffered lifetime loss of income earning capacity, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, and loss of ‘enjoyment of life’.

Represented by Jackson Walker, the defendants argued that the image is covered under free speech, and that the album cover did not constitute pornographic content. The defense went on further to outline that they felt Elden had spoken of his featuring on the album cover with pride in previous years, before deciding to claim damages. Elden however has indicated that he still intends to appeal, his lawyers arguing that the ruling based on Masha’s law goes against precedent and the intended purpose of the law.