September 14th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
12 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. ScottCA

    She took the photo from the window of her house, She can see New York from her House in Alaska.

    September 14, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. cwiz

    Pay damages? How about you show love and respect for your country first and foremost? If the image is effective at showing respect, don't try to use it as a political weapon. Disgraceful!

    September 14, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. DAVID EMMANUEL

    It is unfair.

    September 14, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. Ken

    Enough! I am a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, but enough!

    I, as millions of Americans years ago, fell in love with you as you were paraded upon the American stage.

    It's over, honey.

    Please go home.

    September 14, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. dina

    Basic copyright issue. Perhaps it's karma getting her back for the relentless attention-grabbing push toward "most patriotic" award. ("Me! Me! I'M the MOST patriotic!"). Or MAAAYBEEEEE, she just doesn't understand what copyright is.

    September 14, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  6. pinkfloyd43

    The entire USA owns the rights for that photograph! It's part of American history and the fools trying to uphold copyright laws in regards to this particular photograph is silly to say the least! I am assuming it's all about money and someone should be paying for it. I have to wonder if the individuals within the photograph are getting paid also. What about the city of NY, should they get paid also.

    September 14, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. DaveW

    Good. Sue Palin, the media opportunist. She represents everything that is broken in the United States.

    September 14, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Dan Bruce

    Well, the Republicans do own 9/11 (at least they seem to think they do) since it happened on their watch, and they are the ones that let it happen.

    September 14, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Apparently, she will also Never Learn as well as Never Forget.....that is until she starts to edit the facts of the event to suit her narrative.

    September 14, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. Abdullahi Muhammad Kongo Kamuya

    Oh! Really this against the law. But let them forgive her and warn her for next time (amnesty).

    September 14, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  11. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    The law means nothing to her.

    September 14, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. chewie402

    Ridiculous Lawsuit...if anybody else had used that photo on their website, this group wouldn't have cared, but because it's "In Style" to Hate-On-Palin, they're trying to get money out of her. Pathetic.

    September 14, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. Veritas Lavinga

    Photographs of anything that happened on September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, PA are NOT protected by Copyright in any way.

    These idiots do not have a case.

    September 14, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. tulelakenewtimes

    Oh, Boy. Not good Sarah Palin.

    September 14, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Roy

    Now ain't this just like a 'conservative" republican.

    September 14, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. ALinoge

    Regardless of copyrights, Sarah Palin has no right to use a photo that symbolizes a genuinely patriotic moment in American history. She only cheapens it by association.

    September 14, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. Donnie the Lion

    Sarah Palin rolls around our country inside an imaginary protective bubble of self-righteousness she believes protects herself from the consequences of her words and actions.

    September 14, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Tony Torres

    Palin & her ilk do it again, they are complete morons. Need I say more?

    September 14, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. billNY

    little petty there cnn.

    September 14, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. Observer

    It's Sarah Palin. It's safe to expect that she didn't know any better.

    September 14, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. alaskatalks

    Seems to me when some things become iconic – a symbol or the like – it becomes part of the public domain.

    September 14, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Only reason they are making a fuss over teh photo is due to it being a political figure, if I did such act, they wouldn't car at all.

    September 14, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. tulelakenewtimes

    Some people feel they can do what ever they want without getting permission first. And then use the picture for political reasons on a super PAC, along with a FaceBook page. To try and solicit donations for their cause. How unpatriotic to use 9/11 for your personal agenda. Shameful, but to be expected coming from a bunch of tea bags. Pathetic.

    September 14, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  24. gwats1957

    The thought of any more politicians hijacking 9/11 for own political purposes makes me sick to my stomach, much less this 'bubble head' of a woman Palin. She is
    the poster child for "I'm in it for me, and me only", and "how much does it pay?"

    September 14, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Name thinkergal

    Oh, Sarah, will you never learn?

    September 14, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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