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. really?!?

    So are they going to sue half of the face book population for sharing the same picture on 9/11?? I saw that pic at least 20 times last week.

    September 15, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  2. Robert

    I think she needs to wear more makeup. There is a small spot on her face where I see what I think is actual skin.

    September 15, 2013 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  3. Navin Jay

    For that that look at Sarah's picture should sue for damages. Hurts my eyes.

    September 15, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  4. Jerry

    I bet that if it was Obama's misguided backers using the photo, no one would hear a peep out of the North Jersey Media Group or their lawyer. Anything to make Ms. Palin look bad. I hope the court throws the suit out and that Ms. Palin considers counter suing.

    September 15, 2013 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  5. Patrick

    Guess where the New Jersey Media Group political donations go to.

    "Party Before Country"

    September 15, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  6. Dynan3

    She's BAAAAAACK.....

    September 15, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  7. Chainyanker

    Not responding to the lawful owners of the photo after being warned is total stupidity, not surprising.

    September 15, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  8. Anonymous

    She should be sued everytime she opens her mouth. :-)

    September 15, 2013 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  9. Larry

    After reading this, I realized (too late) that it was a waste of time. So what, CNN. I'd rather know why the IRS is still targeting people and the woman in charge is still being paid.

    September 15, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  10. Anonymous

    So, like a lot of Americans around that time, she posted a photo showing her respect to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and was sued? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Everybody reposts photos on Facebook... I don't se why she'd be singled out.

    September 15, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  11. Scott

    Sarah Palin: Never one to let Integrity or Respect for others get in the way of exploiting for her own needs.

    September 15, 2013 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  12. Delusional

    Can we deport her back to LALA land? which office accept the application to deport back people like Palin

    September 15, 2013 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  13. Marko Polo

    Please do not sue this woman! She needs the money for speech therapy and to get those ugly ears lopped off!

    September 15, 2013 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  14. DJR

    Think thats a great idea! I would like to know what the profiteers like New Jersey publishers making BUCK's off flag and 9/11. Selling it for how much to the people of this nation? For a stamp, or in library of congress. Yes, yes do this so WE The People can know all about the cheesy sticks who are making profits off the photos of disaster in our nation. North Jersey Media Group. How much did you all pay the maker of that flag? How about the firemen with in the picture, did you pay the standard $1,000 a day model pay? Have you payed the individual responsible for the word New Jersey? You use it freely enough to make money.

    September 15, 2013 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  15. Jose

    I'm pretty sure that photo with that captain has been around for years. Ironic that no one cares until Sarah Palin posts it. I bet they wouldn;t sue if it was on the White House's Facebook!

    September 15, 2013 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  16. Brad76

    Just silly.

    September 15, 2013 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  17. american1987

    Crazy how people are trying to make money off of 9/11. Everything from pictures to the 9/11 memorial/museum. Its disgusting, every one should of free total access to everything correlating to 9/11.

    September 15, 2013 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  18. not necessary

    The fact we can and copyright and profit from the images of our own tragedies says a lot about our culture. What a mess.

    September 15, 2013 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  19. Kojo Ferguson

    Sue baby, SUE!

    September 15, 2013 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  20. dwadaf

    I am not a fan of Mrs Palin, haven't been since her run for Mayor of Wasilla. However, threatening to sue her for using the same picture that thousands of other Americans used to commemorate 9/11 is stupid. The only result is going to be even more fodder for the extremists on both sides to use to convince the rest of America that the other side is contemplating a fate worse than death for our nation.

    September 15, 2013 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Let me guess....millions of dollars in damages...for an image that likely hasn't been printed for years? Yeah, that about sounds right.

    September 15, 2013 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  22. Surya108

    I hope she runs for office again. We all need some humor now and then.

    September 15, 2013 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  23. Hugh Jass

    I think Palin is an idiot, but this story is much-ado-about-nothing.

    September 15, 2013 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  24. PaulG

    Meanwhile Biden opens his mouth and removes all doubt...

    September 15, 2013 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  25. Smitty

    They better get ready to sue alot more people because that picture has been used all over the country. Guess they must need some money.

    September 15, 2013 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
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