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. do they know its football weekend?

    so lets see, if it public domain but posted by a "media" company it has copyright...if its public domain on instagram even a "media" company can use it without paying copyright.....things that make you go mmmmmh

    September 14, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. The law

    Newspapers su&k..

    September 14, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Sarah Palin will do or use anything for a dollar .

    "We Will Never Forget."

    September 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. vinster76

    and thirteen minutes after, she is even better looking!

    September 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. BPepik

    This photograph was used by hundreds of people, by CNN and others, but obviously the liberals are still afraid of Sarah and cannot forget how she exposed their phoniness during her run for VP post.. Ignore them Sarah. We and millions of Americans love you..!

    September 14, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. countrygirl1

    I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin but I'm confused how she can be sued over using this photo from 9/11 and several of my friends and I posted the same picture on our facebook page.

    September 14, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Wesley Brewster

    That goes to show how Americans can be. Why fight for freedome when we can't even get along as a nation. SMH

    September 14, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. notmanynoble

    Well if the IRS cant punish her for running an iconic patriotic photo, some one should, right?

    September 14, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Sue me too

    Better sue about a million people who used that pic on 9/11

    September 14, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. TeaBagHammer

    Why won't this idiot go away?

    September 14, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. cebundy

    Precious!!! Can we all sue her for taking up space that a worthwhile person could be occupying?

    September 14, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Isis

    Jerks. Who actually "owns" 9/11?

    I bet the Firefighters don't see a dime of any money.

    September 14, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. timothy

    How did anybody ever notice that Sarah Palin was on Facebook or had a website?

    September 14, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Wayne

    I hate her as a politician. I really do. But any 9-11 photos should be released to public domain just for the fact that they are 9-11 photos. I mean really???

    September 14, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. leprakawn

    What a shame. And am I really the first person to post a mssg here?

    September 14, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. leprakawn

    What a shame. And am I seriously the first person to post a response?

    September 14, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. patw210001

    Liberals hate on Sarah Palin because she is an attractive and intelligent woman. They hate on Michele Bachmann for the same reasons. Of course when you are stuck with idi0ts like Pelosi, Feinstein, and Clinton it is easy to see what their problem is.

    September 14, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Kathleen LaRose

    Wow! Sara Palin wants to bring honor to memory of precious lives senselessly ended by fanatics, so your liberal paper wants to drag her into court for using a photo. She has so much class, and the people who are behind this lawsuit are so tiny in your behavior. i hope people boycott your business. Your behavior is revolting.

    September 14, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. boyamidumb

    Sarah and her people are conveniently ignorant when it comes to what they want to say and do.

    Here is another example of her ignorance. And I'm sure she will blame the media for this too.

    September 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. UriNation

    It's all about money!

    September 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Hmmm

    Big deal

    September 14, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. Rob

    Boo hoo! She stole my candy. Whiner. I hope Sarah counter sues

    September 14, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. Kyle

    Both are trying to profit (either financially or rhetorically, or both) off of a national tragedy. Screw them both.

    September 14, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Richard

    America. Sue, sue, sue. Pretty soon, the only businesses there will be lawyers, big government and the service industry.

    September 14, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. trollol

    An example of silly copyrights...

    September 14, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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