September 14th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
11 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. Winston Smith

    Hope it sticks. Hope it's the last seen of her, for many years to come.

    September 15, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. phil_177

    here we go again, 10 year old moderator ... I've quoted with quotes from the above article, do I need who posted the article too ... ???

    September 15, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. worktolive

    P L E E Z E-what a bunch of crap. What if someone scans the stamp with "your" photo" and posts it on their site-gonna sue them too??? This is just a witch hunt, a way to intimidate Sarah Palin. Shame on you.

    September 15, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  4. Will4203

    Once again, the Right Wing "Conservative" hypocrites have no respect for – any – rules, yet consider themselves "patriots". They have no respect for personal property and try have been claiming all of our American heritage symbols as their own....

    September 15, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  5. Laura MacDonald

    Ironic but not surprising that Sarah Palin shows no concern for the property rights of others. It is all about her after all.

    September 15, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  6. u laby

    Good lord. Next they will trademark the American flag and sue people who display without prior consent. Give it up people. Moments like these are meant to be shared.

    September 15, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Can we see the photo please?

    September 15, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Good. The same way the KKK was taken down. Sue her for every dime she has.

    September 15, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  9. Mike

    It's only available on google image search. Are they going to sue everyone or do they just dislike Palin? I get it but, what judge will actually support this?

    September 15, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  10. seeclearly

    I've seen this photo countless times in how many newspapers, websites, tshirts, etc. never once saw the little 'copy right' symbol nor a name associated with it..........

    September 15, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. Pete

    Palin like most republican politicians today are irrelevent and again she's trying to extend that 15 minutes of fame she's exhausted years ago riding on McCains shirt tails..Go back to Alaska Sarah you like your party are treading water and will be out after midterms and truth hurts doesn't it!!

    September 15, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  12. JR

    Don't contact her just hang this phony, scam artist, POS.

    September 15, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  13. Wake up People!

    Oh lord this airhead actually is planning to run....... SarahPac?

    September 15, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  14. Kris

    She's like a high school teenager with her Facebook and Twitter accounts that have no intellect, no substance, but tons of regurgitated, copyrighted material which purport her to be an "all American".

    September 15, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. wendel

    they should sue her for just being sarah. What a ding dong

    September 15, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. Tampa Tim

    How hard would it have been to get permission? Even with only two years of political leadership, she should have known.

    September 15, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Andrew

    Should I be careful what images I share via social media, so that I don't get sued? Or are there different ruled more Sarah Palin than there are for me?

    September 15, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Rob

    That's pretty lame, I hate Palin, but that is just lame, it sickens me that someone is actually making money off that photo, or any 9/11 photos.

    September 15, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Rob

    That's pretty lame, I hate Palin, but that is just lame, it sickens me that someone is actually making money off that photo, or any 9/11 photos. Some things just shouldn't be used for profit.

    September 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. Rick

    So are they going to sue everybody that has that photo on their FaceBook page or just Sarah Palin ? ? ?

    September 15, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Ron Hubard

    How terrible is this… To use this image for political capitalization, not to mention the use of the image without permission. Mrs. Palin this is disgraceful and you are truly and ugly individual.

    September 15, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. ed dugan

    Worthless human being that just doesn't have the class to go away and stay away. I guess stupidity is terminal.

    September 15, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. jimatmad

    Stealing the product of somebody else's work to try to profit off of the 9-11 tragedy.

    That's about as Republican as you can get.

    September 15, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. Anonymous

    "Should I be careful what images I share via social media, so that I don't get sued? Or are there different ruled more Sarah Palin than there are for me?"

    Social Media, unlikely. Having it on your a major website, absloutely.

    September 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Muri

    Ridiculous when we get caught but absolutely the letter of the law if it's anyone else. Typical would be an overstatement at this point.

    September 15, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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