No, Nirvana's 'Nevermind' baby won't trigger Apple's CSAM detection

Posted:
in General Discussion
The man who appeared as a baby on the cover of Nirvana's "Nevermind" is now suing the band on allegations that it constituted child pornography, but even if he wins the case, the image won't trip Apple's CSAM detection system.

Credit: John Chapple
Credit: John Chapple


Spencer Elden, 30, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming that Nirvana "commercially marketed Spencer's child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense."

According to Variety, which obtained the lawsuit, non-sexualized nude photos of infants are not generally considered child pornography under U.S. law. However, Elden's lawyer offers an unique interpretation of the iconic album art to argue that the image actually crosses a line into child pornography.

Specifically, the lawsuit likens Elden's appearance on the cover to being "like a sex worker," since he is shown "grabbing for a dollar bill that is positioned dangling from a fishhook in front of his nude body."

Elden says the band, record label, and the album's cover photography and designer "failed to take reasonable steps to protect [him] and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking."

"Nevermind" isn't porn under any definition

Even if Elden wins the case, the Nevermind album cover isn't going to cross a line into the kind of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) that has been making headlines in recent months.

As mentioned earlier, non-sexualized nude photos of infants aren't generally considered CSAM. More than that, scanners like Apple's CSAM detection system rely on a database of known child abuse imagery. They're not just scanning for nudity.

No matter the outcome of the case, the "Nevermind" image won't be added to any CSAM database because it falls under artistic use carve-outs. Specifically, it's the cover art for a classic grunge album and is classified under the same category as painted cherubs are.

In other words, neither having "Nevermind" in your iTunes account nor streaming something from the album on Apple Music will trigger Apple's CSAM detection system. Neither will photos of your own children in the bathtub. That's not how Apple's system works.

Elden, for his part, claims that he has suffered "lifelong damages" due to appearing on "Nevermind." He is seeking $150,000 from each defendant in the lawsuit, which includes surviving band members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Kurt Cobain executor Courtney Love.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    If he were actually bothered by his biggest claim to fame, he would probably just keep a low profile, but I bet he’s been bragging about it for most of his life.
    llamawilliamlondonviclauyycwinstoner71maltzbuttesilverronnBeatsbaconstangpatchythepirate
  • Reply 2 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,999member
    Is he suing his parents as well. They undoubtedly signed all the required releases.
    If he didn't pose with the album cover, not a soul in the world would know it was him as a baby.
    llamawilliamlondonmaltzbuttesilverronndavgregBeatsbaconstangretrogustorepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 31
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,000member
    Looks like he's promoting the album.
    viclauyycbuttesilverronnBeatsrepressthiswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 31
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,000member
    If this story is to be believable, I think we need to see what he looks like now.
  • Reply 5 of 31

    Repeat fees 

    I doubt he got more than a few nappies for his original appearance. 

    Probably didn't even get to keep the dollar bill.

    I might be a bit peeved as well

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,384member
    mike1 said:
    Is he suing his parents as well. They undoubtedly signed all the required releases.
    If he didn't pose with the album cover, not a soul in the world would know it was him as a baby.
    As usual, AI avoids several pertinent facts of this story. Like, his parents supposedly never signed a release for the photo and they were not compensated for its use. And you’re right, nobody would know, or even care, that he was the baby in the photo if not for him self-promoting the fact since he was 17. Plus, for someone that suffered “lifelong damage”, $150k per defendant (17 of them) seems sort of low considering his attorneys will end up banking a nice chunk of it. 

    correction: upon further reading, I found that his father actually received $200 for the photo, the same amount Elden himself was paid when he posed again to mark the 2016 25th anniversary of the album. 
    edited August 2021 buttesilverBeatsbaconstangretrogustorepressthiswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 31
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,384member
    cpsro said:
    If this story is to be believable, I think we need to see what he looks like now.

    buttesilverCloudTalkinravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 31
    I wonder if he has been earning a decent living. For someone to take up a fight that clearly belongs to his parents seems desperate for money, fame or both. He's probably been bragging about that cover his entire life. What a sad man.
    williamlondonbuttesilverronnrepressthisEsquireCatswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 31
    The is the poster child for "You have got to be kidding!"
    williamlondonpulseimagesbuttesilverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 31
    Smells like someone’s broke. 
    buttesilverdavgregBeatsavon b7patchythepiratep-dogviclauyycbaconstangEsquireCatsravnorodom
  • Reply 11 of 31
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,077member
    He is so disturbed by the photograph and he is displaying it?

    Seriously Judge but this case out of its misery.
    buttesilverBeatswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 31
    cpsro said:
    If this story is to be believable, I think we need to see what he looks like now.
    Is it not the guy holding the album cover?
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 31
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,115member
    If he were actually bothered by his biggest claim to fame, he would probably just keep a low profile, but I bet he’s been bragging about it for most of his life.
    Bragging, taking part in events for the 10th, 20th, of the album’s release. He’s even recreated the shot, albeit clothed and as an adult, for press events. This is just a money grab. He’s been cashing in on it all his life, (even bragging that it has opened doors for him as a professional artist.) I suspect all of this will come out and the court will see this for what it is. 

    mike1 said:
    Is he suing his parents as well. They undoubtedly signed all the required releases.
    If he didn't pose with the album cover, not a soul in the world would know it was him as a baby.
    He’s claiming that they didn’t, but I seriously doubt the record label would have let that go out without one. Even back in the 80s and 90s they had lawyers. 

    And that’s just it, if there has been any emotional distress, HE’S the one who has kept this going. It would have been long forgotten by now if he weren’t.
    edited August 2021 Beatsretrogustop-dogviclauyycEsquireCatsravnorodomwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 31
    maltzmaltz Posts: 336member
    DAalseth said:
    If he were actually bothered by his biggest claim to fame, he would probably just keep a low profile, but I bet he’s been bragging about it for most of his life.
    Bragging, taking part in events for the 10th, 20th, of the album’s release. He’s even recreated the shot, albeit clothed and as an adult, for press events. This is just a money grab. He’s been cashing in on it all his life, (even bragging that it has opened doors for him as a professional artist.) I suspect all of this will come out and the court will see this for what it is. 

    Cashing in his whole life, and now suing for for more...  Doing his part to keep Millennial stereotypes alive!
    DAalsethBeatsrepressthisviclauyycmike1watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 15 of 31
    ronnronn Posts: 507member
    This should be tossed as obviously frivolous. I hope none of the respondents cave in and settle. In fact, I hope they countersue the dunce.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 31
    An infant in a pool is hardly pornographic and certainly not "sexual exploitation". Blind Faith's cover photo on their eponymous 1969 album is far more sexual and far more exploitative by any possible measure. Yet the 'victim' Mariora Goschen, who was paid a measly £40, is quoted in the linked article as saying "… when people tell me they can remember what they were doing when they first saw the cover, and the effect it had on them, I’m thrilled to bits.”
    ronnbaconstangravnorodom
  • Reply 17 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Wow so much lifelong damage.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    30 years later and still trying to grab the Almighty Dollar...
    avon b7retrogustop-dogrepressthisviclauyychcrefugeeBeatsravnorodom
  • Reply 19 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    Why is AppleInsider continuing this barrage of bullshit articles about CSAM? 
    jony0
  • Reply 20 of 31
    This is crap! Who doesn't have a naked baby picture!? 
    This ass just wants easy money.  
    People like him are what's wrong with society!
    Bet he thinks Covid is a government conspiracy too.
    Hope this move ruined his life! 
    Thank God I live in Canada 🇨🇦 where people still use their brains.🤘

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