September 14th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
7 years 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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'][twitter-follow screen_name='showills']

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. Sf


    September 14, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Timmy Smith

    Make your OWN money Palin! Stop taking and start doing!

    September 14, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Aryugaetu

    Photos are art and protected just like any other media. You can abscond with someone's for your own purposes. The only time you can use photos for free are when they are the property of the government, such as NASA photos. If you want to use a photo, simply contact the owner/photographer and get the details. Limited photo leasing fees are usually between free and $100,000 (serious), depending on the subject and its use.

    To use a photo without permission is pure theft and copyright infringement. The fines can be steep if the photo was used for marketing… such as promoting a PAC, especially if it is counter to his own views.

    September 14, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  4. NotSoFast

    When did Sarah Phailin ever research any scenario before she stuck her neck out politically ??

    September 14, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. sounds familiar

    In Republistan, intellectual property only belongs the 1%.

    She has higher purpose, therefore justified.

    Small detail. It may have been on her facebook front page, no big deal.

    hire some non-union actors, make another one.

    Seems like they forgot, or too lazy, or don't care, or prefer the five finger discount on IP.

    September 14, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. josh

    so I guess it's nice to see the media group profiting over 9/11.

    September 14, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  7. Logical Deduction

    Sarah just isn't very bright, but we wouldn't have her any other way, would we?

    September 14, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. Sandy

    Sarah...Sarah...Sarah...What are we (this country) going to do with you? You don't own this country – there are business interests that hold ownership over a lot of stuff. After all, we are a capitalist society, not your fiefdom.

    September 14, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. Michael

    No sense of personal or professional integrity; takes what ever she wants without thought to consequences. Oh, wait, she's a member of the GOP – that's right. They can lie about everything.

    September 14, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. moas786

    she is still due0able in my opinion...

    September 14, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. Doug

    I hope they bankrupt the nasty beach.. She is disgusting...

    September 14, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |

    Even though Sarah Palin is a retard, being sued over the use of a photograph is absolutely ridiculous.

    September 14, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. Lib from the 60's

    A response from Palin and/or her minions will require thought and intellect. It will not be enough on this occasion to hurl mindless insults devoid of content and relevance. Don't hold your breath waiting for a response.

    September 14, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. dave

    OK, so nobody thinks to ask before using the photo - but how do you fail to respond to the cease and desist letter?

    September 14, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  15. Sam

    Who's Sarah Pallin?

    September 14, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. McCain

    People will sue over anything it's disgusting

    September 14, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. libbyat

    They can report her to her webhost and have it taken off.

    September 14, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  18. American

    Really? Suing over posting a photo on a website? I say boycott North Jersey Media Group for being unreasonable.

    September 14, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  19. rabblerousergt

    And she hopes to run for president?
    How can she even hope to if she, and her campaign, tries to scorn the law?

    For once, I wish the Republicans would stop sending in the clowns.

    September 14, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  20. DC WH Watch

    Are you kidding me?
    Just 'photo' Google "WTC flag raising" and see the hundreds (if not more) sites on the Internet using this photo.
    Sounds like someone is discriminating against another because of their political affiliation.

    September 14, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. rabblerousergt

    And she hopes to run for President of the United States?
    How can she even hope to when she, and her campaign, blatantly scorn the law.

    I wish the Republicans/GOP would stop sending in the clowns.

    September 14, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Loathstheright

    Haven't they heard, laws haven't been for republicans for years.

    September 14, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  23. TJ

    I'm sorry, but this is little more than an trivialized anaI-retentive attempt by liberal media run amok, to take a photo that, for the most part, BELONGS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, and which was used in a tasteful manner (We will never forget).

    If the Jersey liberal media corp wants to get technical, the images of those three men BELONG TO THEM, for which they should not be allowed to profit. And the image of the flag... well, as I said already – that belongs to ALL Americans.

    September 14, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  24. max

    great . . . It's about time she be taught a lesson. I hope we go after Trump. too

    September 14, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  25. Rob

    As a good Conservative who believes in the concept of Personal Responsibility I am certain Palin will assume responsibility and say that the buck stops with her as it was her PAC's website and that she will personally not only off an apology but compensate for the copyright infringement – or she will not actually live by the rules she believes everyone else should – won't accept responsibility for what happens on her site and will tie up the court system with her frivolous defense.

    September 14, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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