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Sarah Palin sued over iconic 9/11 photo

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2013 | Business Litigation |

A recent copyright infringement lawsuit may be of interest to Ohio residents. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her political action committee is being sued for her use of an iconic photo that was taken in New York on September 11, 2001. The well-known photo depicts three firefighters raising an American flag in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Taken by a newspaper photographer who was on the scene, the photo is now owned by the North Jersey Media Group.

The company decided to pursue business litigation against Ms. Palin and SarahPAC after discovering the photo had been posted to the committee’s website and Facebook page. According to the North Jersey Media Group, the former vice-presidential candidate had not received permission to use the image. When it sent a letter requesting that the image be removed from both websites, neither Palin nor SarahPAC returned with a response.

The lawsuit filed at Manhattan Federal Court seeks a court order to stop SarahPAC from using the photo and also seeks monetary compensation for damages. According to the vice president of North Jersey Media Group, enforcing the copyright is important for such an iconic photo.

When a well-known photograph or similar work gains an iconic status, many people mistakenly assume that it is in the public domain. It could end up being used in a way that is contradictory to the artist’s intention. With the help of an experienced commercial law attorney, the owner of a copyrighted property may be able to pursue a claim of copyright infringement. By seeking prohibitions against its use, such an attorney may be able to help preserve the integrity of the property.

Source: The Raw Story, “Sarah Palin sued for copyright infringement by New Jersey publisher“, George Chidi, September 14, 2013


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