A federal appeals court has ruled against ’90s rock band Nirvana and revived a child pornography lawsuit brought by the man who appeared as a naked baby on their 1991 album cover “Nevermind.”
Spencer Elden, now in his 30s, is the four-month-old infant in the photo, naked and chasing a dollar bill attached to a fishing hook. He claims it violates federal child pornography laws by displaying a sexualized image of a minor. A lower court dismissed the lawsuit last year based on the statute of limitations, ruling that Elden had waited too long to pursue his case.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has now ruled that each new republication of the image, including a 30th anniversary re-release in 2021, could technically “reset” the statute of limitations.
“Victims of child pornography may suffer a new injury upon the republication of pornographic material. This conclusion is consistent with the Supreme Court’s view that every viewing of child pornography is a repetition of the victim’s abuse,” judge Sandra Segal Ikuta wrote.
The lawsuit will now return back to a lower court for further proceedings.
Nirvana’s attorney, Bert Deixler, said they will defend the “meritless case with vigor.”
Spencer was hired as a model for the album cover and his parents were paid $200. He stated in the lawsuit that the image had caused him permanent harm and damaged his income-earning ability.