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. Andrew

    Slow news day

    September 14, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. sage

    HAHAHA cool story ...

    September 14, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. SilverHair

    Palin still hasn't common sense.

    September 14, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. srcactus

    Dumb!

    September 14, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Bill Graham

    She used the photo without permission, and then refused to take it down when the owners requested her to remove it. She gets what she deserves.

    September 14, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Hawkeye321`

    Gotcha.

    September 14, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Phillp Bunn

    I hope the New Jersey Media Group takes that ignorant, wilderness strumpet for all she's worth; "you betcha', bimbo!"

    September 14, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Gregware

    Sarah who???

    September 14, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. YeahRight

    Did the newspaper have permission from the City of New York to publish the picture? The City of New York requires a professional photography permit from ANYONE taking photos in the city with "professional quality equipment," including any SLR or DSLR camera.

    I think they need to trace the legality of the photo to begin with, because if the photo was taken without a permit with a professional camera, then the newspaper has no rights to the photo.

    September 14, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. adamstanley

    this is stupid. Lots of people use that pic. they are going after her for political reasons...

    September 14, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Jakk

    Big deal

    September 14, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. reallyamused

    Guess everyone that posted that photo on their FB page should be sued as well.

    September 14, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. drturi

    Russia, Iran reach deal on Syria for future war with the US – Google and be amased

    September 14, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Mustbenow

    THis is great, nobody posts about this article. Nobody cares about Sarah anymore. Oh, did I care just now?

    September 14, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. drturi

    There are more important news that Sara Palin being sued – Google "Russia, Iran reach deal on Syria for future war with the US" be amazed.

    September 14, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. NanookoftheNorth

    Oh give it up haters ! Don't you suppose many have used or passed around that photo for years. Oh but Sarah does it and the world falls apart ! We are sick to death of all you namby-pamby's crying foul at every move ... and ONE MORE time, Sarah DID NOT SAY "I can see Russia from my porch". Time to get over it...you betcha' ;-)

    September 14, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Galen

    Maybe the firefighters should sue to the publisher for taking their photo without prior written permission.

    September 14, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. GODZILLA1

    Oh good – pay up Sarah!

    September 14, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Jim Johnson

    I am sure the photo in question was registered with the Copyright Office. If so, they will owe at least $100,000 in damages.

    September 14, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Roscoe Chait

    This is the Internet. Everybody uses that iconic photo, and the lawsuit will never succeed. The photo is now public domain.

    September 14, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Bubba

    Greed over National tragedy!

    September 14, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Bill

    I think it's terrible for anyone, especially this sleazy photographer, to profit from the events of 9/11.Terrible!

    September 14, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Fish

    Palin probably thinks it was her flag. The truth doesn't matter to these people nor does decency!!!

    September 14, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Andrew

    Why is she still relevant, besides being a crook and low on moral standards?

    September 14, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. omeany

    Ahhh Sarah Palin, the GOP comedic gift that keeps on giving!

    September 14, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26