September 14th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
1 year ago

Palin sued over alleged 9/11 photo use

NEW YORK (CNN) - Sarah Palin and her political action committee are being sued by a newspaper publisher over the use of an "iconic" Sept. 11 photograph.

In legal documents obtained by CNN, the North Jersey Media Group claims that Palin used their "WTC Flag Raising Photograph" without permission when it was allegedly posted on her Facebook page and the website for her political action committee, SarahPAC.


The photograph, which depicts three firefighters raising an American flag over the rubble of the World Trade Center, was taken September 11, 2001, by Thomas E. Franklin, a staff photographer at the publisher's subsidiary, The Record, in New Jersey. CNN Films recently produced a documentary, entitled “The Flag,” that explored the story of the banner, which went missing.

The photograph has drawn national attention - being made into a stamp in 2002, and later enshrined in the Library of Congress, according to the photographer's website.

Screen captures sent to CNN by the publishing company show the picture on Palin's Facebook page, embossed with the words, "We Will Never Forget." CNN did not, however, independently view the photos on Palin's websites before they were reportedly taken down.

“It’s important to enforce our copyright on this iconic photo," Jennifer Borg, general counsel of the North Jersey Media Group, told CNN. “When neither Ms. Palin nor her PAC responded to our demand letter to remove the photo, we were left with no choice but to seek redress through the courts.”

In the federal lawsuit, filed Friday, the publisher asks that Palin and SarahPAC be forced to stop using the photograph and pay damages or defendants’ profits.

CNN reached out to Palin and her representatives for comment Saturday, but did not receive an immediate response.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (630 Responses)
  1. Truth

    That's a pathetic lawsuit. That being said, when is she going to do Playboy?!

    September 14, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. E.j. Dowd

    Sarah Palin did something stupid and disrespectful? Gee, how unlike her.

    September 14, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. R Stewart

    Wow, CNN. She paid tribute to that day and you punish her with a lawsuit. That's just cold. That photo is everywhere on the net, for free. Copyright aside, I think YOU should apologize for your disgraceful behaviour in this regard.

    September 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. John Jones

    Great! She should remember 'thou shalt not steal!' she breaks 'thou shalt not lie' all the time!

    September 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Paul Cooper

    Ah yes. Of course. CNN was "forced" to file a federal lawsuit because they didn't get an immediate response to an e-mail they sent, even though they admit that they never even saw the photos they claim were being used without permission actually being used.

    If this had been any liberal politician, no suit would have ever been filed.

    September 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. BoogerFree

    Typical TeaBagger, can't think above 4th grade level.

    September 14, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Dave

    “It’s important to enforce our copyright on this iconic photo," Jennifer Borg, general counsel of the North Jersey Media Group, what a bucket full of crap. This is a symbol of the USA and OUR pain, not that of the North Jersey Media and in fact why were they there anyway? If anyone wants to use that photo it should be for the use of anyone just as the famous flag raising by the Marines back in WWII. People like Jennifer Borg and her North Jersey Media make real Americans sick to our stomachs.

    September 14, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Name

    The result of too many lawyers in this country.

    September 14, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Rob

    Any time a picture is used for its news content and published across other news media it should become public domain. The person who took the picture should be paid by the first newspaper and that is their profit! If a photographer does not want to give up the rights to the picture then do not allow its use in the news. There are also some things that should not be copyrighted and the American Flag, all politicians and public buildings are among those. I would move to dismiss this suit, tax the costs to the plaintiff and let the world see the news unhindered by ridiculous copyright protections. If it is newsworthy anyone should be allowed to show it!

    September 14, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Are you not suprised???? The GOP likes something for nothing and don't like to pay taxes either and would rather have you pay double taxes.

    September 14, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. mfstout

    Any lawsuit against Palin is a good lawsuit. Go get her!!!

    September 14, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. bspurloc

    sarahpac has tons of $$$$ to pay for it.

    September 14, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. 3doorsdown

    Palin, is such an idiot. Why won't she go away? He 15 minutes of fame is over. And what I would like to see is that the media stop reporting anything about her. This is worth reporting, but just don't report anything about her and her minions. Palin is just trying to stay relevant...please go away.

    September 14, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Rick Deckard

    Oh gee wiz, she's a liar and a thief. Who would have thought?

    September 14, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Steve

    Guess I better burn that picture of Iwo Jima before the CNN police come to get me.

    September 14, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Sid

    Well it's illegal to just grab a photo off the web, plaster your own logo on it and publish it electronically. She should know that. How would she like it if someone took the photo of one of her books, put their own logo on it, and used it for fund raising?

    September 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. berniecat@outlook.com

    Palin the poster child of the crazy gop of today ! she screams only to the ignorant and confused followers much like cultist churches ,,, ha only fools listen to this disgraceful republicans of shame . another rush or beck ,, the haters to other Americans ,, she is 100% fascist !

    September 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Justsayin'

    I've seen that photo all over social media sites and I very much doubt it was displayed with the photographer's permission. Wonder if North Jersey Media Group would be so 'offended' if it was used, without permission, in a Dem PAC?

    September 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Gurgyl

    Go away tea/coffee party idiots. You are a pest.

    September 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Justin

    Are you kidding me?? This is STUPID. I swear, some people are idiots.

    September 14, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. scottiedogg

    airhead woman and her "posse" strike again

    September 14, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. felicia butcher

    Not surprised!

    September 14, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Michael

    Palin. Yawn.

    September 14, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. None of your business

    Now that is unfair don't post pictures if u don't want anyone using them. Silly to sue Sara !

    September 14, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. craigorie

    Palin is just disgusting. Using the sacred photo for political gain. She should be put in jail for this.

    September 14, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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