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. jonbme

    If it were about enforcing the copyright, then they would be satisfied that it was taken down and not sue. It's about the money.

    September 14, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. WesternCanuck

    All I can say is.....Train wreck!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. RayJacksonMS

    She's a christian so of course she steals and lies too.

    September 14, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Loveitorleaveit

    Anything for money, anything....

    September 14, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Jon's

    Seriously? Damages? Thousands of other people used it on their Facebook pages on Wednesday too. Are you gonna sue them too? By the way, its been used by every publication on earth for a decade. Are you telling me that every single one of them paid for the photo? If so, way to profit from tragedy. My guess is that you are a liberal leaning organization and are just singling her out. I'm not a fan of Palin, but I find it tacky to be this closed minded.

    September 14, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. jeff Santa Barbara

    So what's the excuse this time, Sarah? Patriotism in the name of Tea-Baggin Profit, or just too stupid to know better after being told not to do it?

    September 14, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Just a thought

    $$$$$ That's something she understands

    September 14, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. TELLINGITLIKEITIS

    Doesn't anyone know by now that Mrs. Palin shoots from the hip like the majority of 'uneducateds" do? Gad, she didn't become our Vice President. This country would have been wipe out by WWIII, had her mouth went too far. Why give her and her handler any benefit of doubts?

    September 14, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Guest

    I put the same picture on my Facebook as well as many of my friends in remembrance of that tragic day. It disgusts me that these people have chosen to sue someone over honoring the fallen and are seeking monetary compensation. Pure disgust.

    September 14, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Cathy

    Why are they just going after Palin. I saw the same photo posted on several of my friends FB pages and I shared it on mine. Come people....what's the real deal here?

    September 14, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Lostrod

    Interesting. Did CNN have permission to use the photo (if it's the same one I'm thinking of)? I hope this isn't a case of selective enforcement.

    September 14, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. tom

    That is just petty. That photo has been all over facebook for years. They only do this because Palin is still a favored target for liberals (despite her irrelevance).

    September 14, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. erickV

    money hungry people. That photo was not taken by one person only, many people took a picture of the same thing. She is not making any money by showing support to a national tragedy. What is next. Try to get money from her iif she was singing the National Anthem . I dont support Sarah Palin but this is really stupid.

    September 14, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Ctrygrl

    It is appropriate her picture appeared next to weiners' at the bottom of the page. In her own disgusting way she is just as tasteless and just as classless as he is.

    September 14, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. NameTA

    Palin for president screw new jersey new York and all the liberal weirdoes up there

    September 14, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. Ninja

    We will never forget an opportunity to enforce copyright.

    September 14, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Sam

    Great, sue her

    September 14, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. TINKER

    REALLY! They need to sue another million for having the same pic on their Facebook page.

    September 14, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. observer99

    I wonder if air-brain Palin even knows 9/11 happened because Dubya IGNORED CIA WARNING Aug. 6, 2001 that "Bin Laden Was Determined to Strike US!" If Dubya had any live brain cells he'd alert airports, law enforcement and public – but he was vacationing at Crawford and I suppose it would've been inconvenient! The equally feckless National "Security" Advisor Condi Rice ignored similar alert July 10, 2001! How can those people SLEEP at night or EVER?

    But FAR MORE Inconvenient was it for the families of the dead and maimed!

    September 14, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. steve

    can she be put in prison for this?

    September 14, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Fred

    Can't wait for the excuses she will have. How about "I'm sorry, the people I surround myself with, me included, never think before we act."

    September 14, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. Miked

    Another shameless way to make money off a tragic event. Art is inspired by all and meant to continue to inspire. Art has no price and neither do the memory of our fallen citizens.

    September 14, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. Mark

    I'm about to post that pic on my Facebook wall right now. They can't sue somebody for using a picture

    September 14, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Loubies from S.C.

    Good. Someone needs to take her down a notch.

    September 14, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. Woman In California

    CNN reached out to Palin and her representatives for comment Saturday, but did not receive an immediate response.
    -
    Of course not. Not until she can somehow or another be the victim once again. Only then will she come out of hiding and blame the lame stream media The woman has never once taken responsibility for own poor choices including the lack of parenting her children display. I hope they collect damages from her as a reminder that she is not above the law.

    September 14, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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