September 14th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
10 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. Humbrrto

    You can't patent a picture of volunteers responding to a National Tragedy.

    September 14, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. lean6

    Normally I would take the position of criticizing the frivolous lawsuit, but in the case of Palin, who would exploit just about anything for personal gain, I can see why they object to her using it for...fundraising. There is little ambiguity that she was using someone else's work for profit, and that she deserves to be sued after not complying with their order to cease and desist.

    September 14, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Futureman1

    Sarah Palin, the perfect example for Samuel Johnson's quote: "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."

    September 14, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. maria

    I always said this woman was a CUCKO... I hope they take everything from her , but of course she will not go without a big fight! remember she can see RUSSIA from her home......she better don't mess with VETERANS ,who love the flag .....

    September 14, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. rightospeak

    The whole 9/11 is phony, a hoax , a false flag operation to get us bankrupt through endless wars.

    September 14, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Francisco Decastro

    It's not like she made any profits from it or anything that she can share with whoever is suing. Plus, trying to bank on 9/11 just because of a photo of a worldwide disaster, is just wrong. I may not care about Sarah Palin, however, suing her over this is just ridiculous. That photo was used by hundreds of thousands of Americans, as a patriotic statement.

    September 14, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Shaun

    Ugh her face, smootchy smootchy Dumb Dumb, SUE HER HARD

    September 14, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Here we go again

    Palin is a certified idiot.

    September 14, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. musings

    I'm not fond of Palin, but this branding of a national tragedy is disgusting. They did it with the Boston Marathon thing too. What mercenary behavior (but perhaps mercenaries is what they are).

    September 14, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. dennis

    The laws do not apply to Palin. Didn't you know that?

    September 14, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. jonny chucho

    Isn't this photo now public domain? It's on google images so safe to say it's part of culture and no longer has copyrights unless it's used for business or publication.

    September 14, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. dave

    Just wondering if the newspaper posted the photo on facebook, if so it can be shared by everyone is it not a facebook agreement. I am going to check into that.

    September 14, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. mark

    Hey Sarah: You didn't build that!

    September 14, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  14. drew pfafflin

    needs to gain about 250 pounds for i'd be hittin it.

    September 14, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. sparky

    it's the lamestream media at it again you betcha!!! *wink*

    September 14, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Brett S

    That photo has been used thousands of times but someones political panties get in a twist and a lawsuit is the answer. How ridiculous!

    September 14, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Michael Logan

    When news is slow...Find a Palin story. Must be really slow lately.

    September 14, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Couldn't have happened to a more self serving screeching witch!
    Take all her money then send her back to wasilla and make sure she stays there.

    September 14, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. JoeBlack

    I am no Sarah Palin fan but are you serious? That photo has been published and used so many times. It is, as the article states, is an 'iconic" photo and has been used on stamps and by many other sources, It belongs to America now. Whatever the North Jersey Media Group's motivation is – a money grab or trying to make some sort of political point – they just need to move on.

    September 14, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. lewtwo

    ha ... the wicked witch of the north in more trouble: Good!

    September 14, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. vinster76

    forty three minutes later well, ...............nuff said y'all...............

    September 14, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. debra

    Are we still giving time to this person? She's a train wreck–stop rubber-necking!!

    September 14, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. John Doehn

    North Jersey Media Group, how dare you try to try to make money off of a tragedy. You are part of the problem with this country. Bunch of no talent clowns. It's a picture!!! That you probably didn't even actually take!

    September 14, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. mickinmd

    Obeying US copyright laws are for other people, not Sarah Palin. She knows her followers hear what they want to hear and already know it all, so they won't notice her lack of study, her lying "death panels," etc. speeches, and her picking their pockets for money.

    September 14, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. Sarah

    Palin was unable to comment because she was busy looking at her dictionary to see if sued is spelled, "suid", "sued" or "sude".

    September 14, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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