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.

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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. John

    Hey, Bear, it is not convulsions, it is a laughing fit. Do not worry, the left will never 'worry' about Sarah Palin again. Ev
    en we do not so underestimate the right as to imagine they will ever put her up again for anything. Although-chortle-that would be damn fine fun.

    September 15, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Jimmyjam048

    Everyone is entitled to their politcal beliefs however misguided.
    But to be ignorant enough to not understand the definition of "COPYRIGHT PROTECTED". is unforgiveable.

    Those too lazy to drive to the library to look it up and quickly and freely do a Google search, but..... that takes thought.

    September 15, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. randall

    @Theseus a photo is intellectual property owned by a party or company private or public. it can't be used for personal or monetary gain without expressed permission by the owners. it's not about censorship or 9/11 memorabilia. it's simply not a public domain property and the owners have a right to say no. this happens every election with musicians and politicians. someone wants to use a song for their campaign without even asking and pretty shortly after they are served legal papers for doing it.

    September 15, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  4. jaywcee

    As an Alaskan, I find this woman detestable–as does the majority of my state. Why anyone would support a PAC with her at the helm is beyond words. She'll have some excuse I'm sure, for stealing a photo without paying for it. It'll be someone else's fault for sure. But then, she'll do anything to stay in the news, so maybe she is paying someone to sue her LOL

    September 15, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. denise

    Get over it–EVERYONE uses that picture one different venues. Facebook??? How many millions have posted it on their page-I have, sue me!!! Again, get over it

    September 15, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
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