Sarah Palin, the diva half term governor of Alaska, is being sued by a New Jersey publisher for her use of an iconic 9/11 photograph.
The photo, taken by Thomas E. Franklin for The Record newspaper, showing firefighters George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein raising an American flag above the debris of the World Trade Center, has become an iconic image of the day, similar to the photo of U.S. Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima during the Second World War. Franklin’s photo has been made into a postage stamp and also placed in the Library of Congress.
North Jersey Media Group, owners of The Record and the Herald News, filed suit against Palin last Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit alleges that
Defendants have, without permission, posted a copy of the WTC Flag Raising Photograph on their web pages, including at least www.sarahpac.com, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit C, and www.facebook.com/sarahpalin, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit D.
A. Preliminarily and permanently enjoining defendants, their agents, servants, employees and attorneys and all those acting in concert with them from infringing NJMG’s WTC Flag Raising Copyright in violation of 17 U.S.C. §501;
B. Awarding NJMG its damages or defendant’s profits, or alternatively, at NJMG’s election, statutory damages as a result of Palin’s infringement of NJMG’s WTC Flag Raising Copyright;
C. Awarding NJMG its costs in this action, including its reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant 17 U.S.C. §505; and
D. Granting such other and further relief as to this Court seems just and proper.
According to Northjersey.com, Jennifer A. Borg, who is NJMG’s vice president, corporate secretary, and general counsel, said that the suit was filed because neither Palin nor SarahPAC responded to the company’s letter demanding that both entities remove the photograph from their web and Facebook pages.
CNN.com reports that NJMG sent them screen captures of the photograph as it appeared on Palin’s sites. The images on both Facebook and SarahPAC.com have since been removed.
Now that the lipstick wearing pitbull’s fifteen minutes of fame are winding down, she is no longer receiving the deference from various quarters that she once did. It would be nice, both as a punishment to Palin, who seems to think that she owns the rights to all sorts of Americana, and as a caution to others who have done or who might think of doing something similar, if the court should see fit to impose a heavy fine. Of course Palin would likely never have to pay a dime of any judgement against her; any monetary damages awards by the court will almost certainly be paid by one or more of her well heeled benefactors.