September 14th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
7 months 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. joe saab

    What's the difference between a vapid vacuous vain harpeen named Palin and a mannequin?

    September 14, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Rick

    Wow so many hate this woman....and I don't know why.....are ppl threatened?

    September 14, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  3. Carol

    That picture was all over Facebook on 9/11. Are they suing everyone who posted it or just Sarah Palin????

    September 14, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Shane

    This disgusts me! I am not a Palin fan by any stretch of the imagination, but it appears the North NJ Media Group has lost perspective of the significance of this tragic day. It sickens me to see that someone is being sued for trying to have a memorial to those who lost their lives on that tragic day. Again, I want to reiterate, I am not a Palin fan by any stretch of the imagination, but on this particular topic, I have to back her (Never in my life did I ever think that would happen), NJ Media, be ashamed of yourself!!!!

    September 14, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. Get_Over_It

    Waa! Do you want some french cries with that waaamburger??

    September 14, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. Amit B.

    What a joke, crying about a picture of the worst moment in American history. Land of the free and the morons.

    September 14, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  7. Kevin Quail

    Palin- what a surprise- still ignorant.

    September 14, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. Buford T Justice

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Content isn't free you hack, now pay the piper.

    September 14, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. chris

    sue her into FURTHER oblivion... get that reality-show money!

    September 14, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  10. erdfg

    Oh please. Someone give this new North Jersey Media Group a lollipop and put them to bed. Such babies.

    September 14, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. CMI

    Why would she want to use the picture anyway...just to remind us that her "mentors" Cheney and Rumsfeld murdered 3,000 innocent Americans? Why would she want to remind everybody that she is on their team. It seems so odd.

    September 14, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Really

    You are kidding me. This is an iconic picture the paper must having nothing else to do.

    September 14, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Quest

    Finally, the Republican drunkenness on phony patriotism has nibbled the queen hooligan in the buttocks. May she pay, severely, for her empty, greedy, hate speech while wrapping her fat as* in the flag.

    September 14, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. chrissy

    Well even if she takes that off her facebook page it still achieved its purpose! She is getting alot of publicity from it, which is always her primary goal.

    September 14, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. Michael

    People need to stop with the insane copyright crap. If there are no new bubbles here or coming but the end of copyright laws I find it futile to sue. In fact a counter lawsuit should come against the state if they even take this seriously.

    September 14, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. Mike

    Well its an open and shut case, the guy has the photo copyrighted, and she used he photo w/o his permission..

    Hope the guy wins, and takes her for her worth!

    September 14, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. Name

    Cry me a river you need to grow up what a waste of time go back to grade school so you can learn to wipe your own ass

    September 14, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Tobin Davis

    Ok, so I really do not like Palin, but that photograph is now way beyond commercialization. It represents a feeling shared by most American citizens in ways similar to the photo of the flag being raised at Iwo Jima did to previous generations. It has been shared on numerous facebook pages of friends of mine, and I have received several emails from other friends with that photo attached.

    The company that is launching this lawsuit should feel honored that they could honor the memory of the thousands that died from that tragedy with that photo. It is very rare that a photographer will snap a photo that has such a lasting effect.

    September 14, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. scottName

    If this were flipped they would call it no big deal. Also it is once again the left who bring her back to life.

    September 14, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  20. JLprt

    Oh....I love anything that causes Sarah Palin trouble; especially for a Republican, where money is involved, I hope it stings – she's such an arrogant piece of work, and so ignorant, I'm sure she doesn't think any 'laws' apply to her

    September 14, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  21. Dan

    Sarah! Pay 'em! How can we respect anyone in politics who violates the law?

    How can we respect anyone in politics, period?

    September 14, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Bigdaddyusa

    I don't think she knows the meaning of the word copyright.

    September 14, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Mike

    I'm sure Palin's team simply doesn't understand copyright laws. Their leader doesn't seem to understand very basic principles of law, the government, or the world.

    September 14, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. Name jeremy

    REALLY?!?! Dem or repub. ... doesn't that photo really belong to the American people and the future generations. I mean really. So many stupid @#! Rules now days. Does anyone out there even know what it means and how lucky no blessed to be an American?

    September 14, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  25. Steven Gold

    I'm no fan of Palin, but these photos are on Google and other sites. Are they doing a lawsuit against all of them or just some?

    September 14, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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