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Nirvana win lawsuit over 1991 Nevermind album cover

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Cropped version of the artwork for Nirvana's Nevermind, featuring Spencer Elden swimming as a babyImage source, DCG

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Nevermind is one of the best-selling albums of all time

A US judge has dismissed a man’s latest lawsuit against Nirvana over the band’s iconic 1991 album cover which showed him naked as a baby.

Spencer Elden, 31, said his appearance on the front of the Nevermind record constituted child sexual abuse.

But the judge said he had left it too late to claim he had been exploited.

Mr Elden’s legal avenues are now all but exhausted as he cannot re-file the case, although his legal team told US media he would appeal the ruling.

The lawsuit focused on a photograph of Mr Elden, which depicted him swimming naked in a pool towards a dollar bill pierced with a fish hook.

He argued that he had been unable to consent to the picture being used. He was seeking $150,000 (£130,000) in damages.

Photographer Kirk Weddle was among the defendants, as were former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as Courtney Love, the widow of late singer Kurt Cobain.

Mr Elden filed his case in 2021, arguing that he was still within his rights to complain about the decades-old image because it had continued to cause him distress and lost earnings into adulthood.

The lawsuit was dismissed and then re-filed in January.

The Los Angeles judge ruled on Friday that Mr Elden lodged his case well beyond the 10-year statute of limitations.

Welcoming the verdict, a defence lawyer said the case had been “meritless”.

The defence had argued that Mr Elden had enjoyed being the “Nirvana baby”, noting that he had re-enacted the photograph in later life.

Mr Elden’s parents were paid $200 (£173) for the photo in 1991 by what was then a relatively unknown band.

Worldwide sales of Nevermind went on to surpass 30 million, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.

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