Baby on Nirvana album cover loses lawsuit

Originally published at: Baby on Nirvana album cover loses lawsuit | Boing Boing




Imagine if nobody had ever told him that was his image on the cover. . . .

The fact is he didn’t have to go around telling everyone-- if he feels exploited then he was complicit by blabbing about it. “Everybody saw my little pee pee” because you told them it was yours.

Whether there was sexual exploitation of an infant in that art is a philosophical debate more than a legal one.


Welp, that ends your 15 minutes of fame. Adios!


Saw that one coming.


Elden had “spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby’”, recreating the image on the album’s 15th and 20th anniversaries, and tattooing the album’s title on his chest.

On one hand it’s like: Yeah, you embraced the connection before, why the hell are you complaining now?
On the other hand… it’s perfectly fine that he’s changed his stance on how he feels about the depiction, but suing for damages is just low.


Oh he must be on to his fifth or sixth repeat of those same 15 minutes by now
Seems they’re wearing a bit thin


good, but now i wonder if he’s going to appeal and drag this on that much further.


What a baby!


The judge said Elden can appeal the decision.

I’m going to be pedantic here cuz I think it’s an important distinction. But you can pretty much always appeal the decision of a trial court (whether you can appeal the decision of an appeals court is less certain). You don’t need the judge’s permission for that. The judge here granted leave to amend.

Based on what I can work out from various news reports and the actual ruling:

  1. Elden filed his lawsuit.
  2. Nirvana filed to have the lawsuit dismissed, basically saying “this lawsuit has no chance of success so the court should just toss it”. Usually to actually win this kind of motion, you have to show that even if everything the other side said in their complaint was true, that still doesn’t add up to something you can sue someone over.
  3. Elden had until Dec 30th to reply to that. He didn’t.
  4. The judge has now told Elden that he has until Jan 13th re-file a complaint that “attempt[s] to cure, to the extent he believes is warranted by existing law, the alleged defects outlined” by Nirvana.

So he’s “lost” the lawsuit for now but still has a chance to save it. Of course, just surviving a motion to dismiss doesn’t mean he’ll go on to win.


The poor lawyer who’s filing for plaintiff. He’s only going to get 33% of the settlement ($50k) in any case. Hows he going to make rent if he’s spending hour after uncompensated billable hour on this obviously fruitless lawsuit.


Why not sue the person that threw in the fishing hook. What are the chances they had the correct fishing license.


Law: 1 Baby: nil

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I mean how can a baby possibly understand the US legal system well enough to even know what to do with an attorney?


He didn’t sue his parents?


I would think that just by dint of the parents giving their permission, they being agents and guardians of the baby, Nirvana would be off the hook.


I certainly hope the law doesn’t work like that. Parents can be greedy and irresponsible, and just because they give permission to something doesn’t mean it is right.

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I think he claims his parents never gave consent for the photo to be used. Which would probably make a better lawsuit, if it hadn’t happened 30 years ago.

No, but if the photo was an act of sexual exploitation as Mr. Elden now insists then his parents would clearly be accomplices—his own mother was right there in the pool with him the whole time. So if he really believed his own claims then he wouldn’t be suing the band while absolving his parents of all responsibility.

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I was speaking more in general terms that you can’t avoid responsibility just by pointing at a contract with the parents. In this case it’s just a nuisance lawsuit to get money. Even if the lawsuit was reasonable, the threshold for suing your own parents is a lot higher. Most people don’t do that even if they have good reason to feel they were mistreated as children.