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Nirvana seek to dismiss 'Nevermind' artwork lawsuit

A lawyer for Courtney Love, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and the estate of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain has argued that Spencer Elden’s recent child pornography claims are “barred by the applicable statute of limitations”.

A lawyer for Nirvana has already responded to the lawsuit regarding the artwork for Nirvana’s seminal record. The motion to dismiss it was filed on Wednesday, December 22nd, in a federal court in California. As well as the band’s lawyer arguing that the claims are “barred by the applicable statute of limitations”, he posited that, “Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious”.

Spencer Elden, the baby on the front of the Nevermind cover, filed the suit on August 24th, accusing the band of breaking federal pornography laws, and claiming that they exploited him. The surviving Nirvana members, Cobain’s estate, wife Courtney Love, photographer Kirk Weddle and the labels that released the album are all named as defendants. 

In the motion to dismiss, the lawyer for the defendants also says: “The period runs from the time the plaintiff reasonably discovers the later of either the ‘violation’ or the ‘injury’ that ‘forms the basis of the claim'”. Subsequently, the lawyer argues that the statute of limitations has expired, as Elden was aware of the cover before August 2011. 

The counterclaim reads: “The Nevermind cover photograph was taken in 1991. It was world-famous by no later than 1992. Long before 2011, as Elden has pled, Elden knew about the photograph, and knew that he (and not someone else) was the baby in the photograph. He has been fully aware of the facts of both the supposed ‘violation’ and ‘injury’ for decades.”

After the lawsuit was lodged, Elden‘s team constantly spoke to the media about his reasons for now lodging the claim, some 30 years after the photograph and album were first released. It was pointed out at many points, that it was strange, as over his life he’s participated in many events celebrating the album. 

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