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. Jeff

    Politicians are criminals. Period.

    September 15, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Good move Snooki Palin and the unhinged GOBP tea potty will use anything or anyone to make money.

    September 15, 2013 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  3. Name Uche Agonsi

    Palin has become the red pepper/chillies that oozes out immoral noises when its igbo name 'ose ocha' is whistled.

    September 15, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  4. Rotten Ralph

    When will this lady go away.

    September 15, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  5. pahiker50

    Damages? What damages? She has to pay for using a photo taken to bring us together in a time of need and sadness? Does that mean the US Government has to pay royalties on every stamp they make? This is more of a "I don't like your politics so don't use my photo" thing.

    September 15, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  6. Cheryl

    People shouldn't be allowed to profit off of 9-11

    September 15, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  7. Reggie

    The picture is "iconic" but few people have actually seen it. Let's have it be more visible, please?

    September 15, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  8. 1968billsfan

    Very interesting. Are they suing the US government for putting it on a stamp? Are they suing everyone who puts that stamp on a letter?

    September 15, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  9. 45 S&W

    She should have taken a pic of the stamp and used that instead.

    September 15, 2013 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  10. Reddog9500

    It's all about Sarah, don't 'cha know. I, for one, wish she'd just go away. I've heard of an old school bus somewhere in the wilds of Alaska that would be a good place for her to disappear to.

    September 15, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  11. oldbones24

    hahaha, and this person wanted to be second in command? and she has no idea about something as simple as copyright? Thank you America for kicking her to the curb.

    September 15, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  12. Tammy

    This is so typical of Palin she makes me sick in so many ways! She hit an all time low!

    September 15, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  13. George

    We love you Sarah. We don't care if you are stupid.

    September 15, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  14. Daws

    Hmm reminds me of the trouble Reagan got into for using "Born in the USA" without permission. Gotta love it though when the artists refuse to let their work be used to promote issues they are diametrically opposed to... btw how is she still getting in the news?

    September 15, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  15. josh rogen

    let no tragedy go un-cashed in on

    September 15, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  16. Thomas B.

    Awww, poor little soccer-mom from Alaska being "made" to do something she doesn't wanna do. Awwwww.
    Waaaa Waaaa Waaaa!!!
    I hope the jury throws the book at them!
    No excuses.

    September 15, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. Herewe Goagain

    If she was a democrat they would not have sued.

    September 15, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  18. Robert

    Absurd. Maybe we should pay to look at the pics. We know what "kind" of people are behind this.

    September 15, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  19. Sid Prejean

    It's so like the "lame stream media" to use the courts to enforce, you know, laws and stuff. Don't they realize that all's fair in Palin-world, as long as it benefits her?

    September 15, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  20. Karina

    That picture was all over Facebook on 9/11, not just on Sarah Palin's page. It would be doubtful that she, or her political group, created that picture.

    September 15, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  21. Norma Vessels

    Yep, Sarah Palin is determined to be in the spotlight, no matter what the cause or the side affects. :-)

    September 15, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  22. awasis

    She's a media hoebag, nothing more.

    September 15, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  23. D. Norris

    I wonder if Obama or any in his administration used this picture, would there be an issue.....I think not. Cry baby!

    September 15, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  24. tommy

    This lady always comes out from woodwork,

    September 15, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  25. Erin

    You know on 9/11 of this year there were a lot of people posting that exact same picture on their facebook page. I can promise you they were not asked to take it down and will not be sued because they posted that picture. What is this world coming to where everyone is suing everyone. That is just crazy!!

    September 15, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
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