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. shawn

    couldn't have happened to a nicer PAC...

    September 14, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. Volsocal

    I have seen that photo all over the place. Why is Ms. Palin being targeted while all the other sources, including CNN, were not named in the suit?

    September 14, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. bassman

    Our media could have reported on the rose friends hers from New York sent her; it’s handcrafted out of the remains of rockets fired at Sderot and other Israeli communities from Gaza. Or our media could have reported on Bristol Palin blog showing a picture of Sarah in tears after Todd gave her a new wedding ring for their anniversary. Or our media could have reported on Sarah Palin asking her Union brothers and sisters, demand a full repeal of Obamacare, an immediate defunding, and some resignations.

    September 14, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  4. nleegray

    Who let her out of the trailer park?

    September 14, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. Underdog

    Harlots and hypocrates like dum @#$& palin will have her day with Allah!

    September 14, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  6. dike

    I am sure the firefighters in the picture never saw a dime for the photo fame.... Two shortsighted sides wasting time and money fighting... keeps the lawyers rich.

    September 14, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  7. Senior

    Ms. Palin could use her interview with the slaughtered turkeys in the background. Suits her better.

    September 14, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. Rick

    That makes no sense as that image is used in many ways by many people for use in memes and other ways. How is it that none of these other people get sued for that picture's use?

    September 14, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. chad s

    My God, when will people stop talking about this woman? She has truly no relevancy in American politics.She is nothing more than an embarrassment. Move along. Nothing to see here.

    September 14, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. Ed T Duck

    I have no love for Sarah Palin, but wouldn't a simple request to take down the offending image suffice? Indeed, her campaign took it down pretty quickly anyway. Obvious frivolous lawsuit is obvious.

    September 14, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. CTYank

    Sarah still thinks she's teflon-coated. Ever hear her own one of her bleep-ups? Right. Ankle-biter.

    September 14, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. Bill davis

    Palin need to file a case against anyone taking her picture

    September 14, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Richard Right

    That photo belongs to every citizen

    September 14, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  14. RapidOne

    scuzbag idiots.

    September 14, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. codarnall

    Such BS

    September 14, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  16. josh

    sue what? $billion?

    September 15, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  17. sam

    She royally deserves to lose all her grifter money! Sue the @#$%^& pants off of her! Karma for an absolute fraud!

    September 15, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  18. judith

    Sleazy little Sarah would stop at nothing to use in her shameless self-promotion.

    September 15, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  19. BoulderBill

    Seriously, you asked her for a response? Nobody wants to hear from her at all, let alone more excuses.

    September 15, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  20. R.Merrell

    She should changer her PAC to SarahGrifterPac. It would truly reflect what she and her antics are all about.

    September 15, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  21. clarkesanders

    God told her to steal the photo, so it's all good.

    September 15, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  22. TizLiz

    Had it been anyone other than Sarah Palin, this would not have been ab issue. This famous photo could be posted on many FB sites with no one caring about it.

    September 15, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  23. vincent

    No Muslim Palin should ever use the 9/11 photo on her facebook page. It is distastful for Americans who died from the Terrorist attack.

    September 15, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  24. ericgoestoholland

    There's nothing as American as capitalizing on one of America's darkest hours. Right?

    September 15, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  25. Jeff

    If Obama did this Palin would be all over his case. Palin and McCain made a great team....dumb and dumber.

    September 15, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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