Copyright lawsuit by New Jersey paper against Palin stalled over confidentiality issues

A potential settlement between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and a New Jersey newspaper over the use of a famous Sept. 11 photograph is stalled over confidentiality issues, court filings show.

North Jersey Media Group, which publishes The Record newspaper and other publications, sued Palin in 2013, saying the former Republican vice presidential candidate's political action committee website was illegally using a photo taken by a Record photographer at the World Trade Center. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages and for Palin to stop using the photo.

The photo, by Thomas E. Franklin, shows three firefighters raising the American flag atop a pile of rubble. It became a potent symbol of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Emails contained in court filings show that in December the two parties apparently agreed on a $15,000 settlement. In one exchange, an attorney for Palin writes that "our client cannot agree to a settlement without the confidentiality/nondisparagement clause we've described. Should your client be willing to include such a clause, I believe we could settle this very quickly for the $15,000 we've discussed."

Attorneys for North Jersey Media Group say the confidentiality issue continues to hold up the settlement.

In a court filing on Monday, the media group said Palin wants to stop the media from using the settlement to make "political and headline-generating hay."

An attorney representing Palin did not respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.