Los Angeles (AFP) – Earlier this year, the man who was photographed naked as a baby on the cover of Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” sued the band for sexual exploitation – and now a California judge has dismissed the case for procedural reasons.
The federal judge dismissed the case on Monday as Spencer Elden’s legal team had overlooked a deadline to file an objection to the Nirvana lawyers’ December request to drop the case.
The fire team has until January 13 to resume. In a statement to AFP on Tuesday, his lawyer Robert Lewis said they would do so “very soon.”
“We are confident that Spencer will be allowed to proceed with his case,” Lewis said.
In 1991, when he was four months old, Elden was photographed naked in a swimming pool while reaching for a dollar bill on a fishing hook, a picture that has become one of the most iconic album covers ever.
The album went on to sell 30 million copies, with songs such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” becoming the American pop culture test.
But neither Elden nor his legal guardians “ever signed a release authorizing the use of images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him,” the original lawsuit said.
According to court documents, Elden had never received any compensation for the photo and asked for $ 150,000 in compensation from each of the 15 defendants – including the surviving former members of the band, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as the estate of the late lead singer Kurt Cobain and photographer Kirk Weddle.
The trial said Elden had suffered “extreme and permanent emotional distress” as well as “lifelong loss of income earning capacity.”
In their December proposal, Nirvana lawyers argued that the statute of limitations had expired more than ten years ago and that Elden’s claim that the image constituted child pornography was “not serious.”
Elden recreated the album cover several times, including for its 25th anniversaries.
Weddle, the original photographer, was a friend of his father, the family told NPR in 2008.
They held a pool party where Elden was photographed underwater for the then unknown band. The fire’s parents were paid $ 200 for the original footage.