Music Updates

Baby on Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Album Cover Pleads to Censor His Genitalia From 30th Anniversary Artwork

Billboard has reached out to Nirvana and Universal Music Group for comment.

In August, Elden’s legal team filed a federal complaint in the United States District Court in the Central District of California against Nirvana, Kurt Cobain’s estate, Universal Music Group, Warner Records, David Geffen, the photographer Kirk Weddle and others for “child pornography” and exploitation on behalf of Elden. The now 30-year-old claimed in the lawsuit that he never gave consent to the use of his image, due to just being 4 month old at the time, nor did his legal guardians, and that the grunge band had promised to cover up his genitalia with a sticker, which was never incorporated.

Since the lawsuit was filed, various lawyers familiar with entertainment law have questioned the suit. “I think it is highly unlikely that a record company would use a photograph for an album cover without verifying the existence of a release signed by the parents,” Bryan Sullivan, a partner at Early Sullivan, told The Hollywood Reporter. “But, if there is no release, it does not mean he has a claim for child pornography. As to the right of privacy, you can waive it by your actions or by his parents’ actions in allowing him to be photographed.”

Another entertainment litigator told THR: “I think what will be most troubling for any judge will be the amount of time that has elapsed since the photo was published, the fact the kid’s parents did this knowingly (more or less, but they knew the naked baby was being photographed), and the numerous times that the plaintiff himself embraced the photo and sought publicity for himself.”

Nevermind went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, received a Grammy nomination for best alternative music album, is certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and was entered into the National Recording Registry in 2004. The critically acclaimed LP spawned the hits “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come as You Are,” “In Bloom” and “Lithium.

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