With just hours before it was scheduled to go to trial today, Fox News Channel has reached a deal over an iconic photograph from the tragic attacks of 9/11 that appeared on Facebook. According to the Roger Ailes-run cable news giant and North Jersey Media Group, the confidential settlement will “discontinue” all claims, counterclaims and proceedings the parties have had against each other since the latter sued the former and host Jeanine Pirro in October 2013.
“Fox News Network, LLC and North Jersey Media Group Inc. have agreed to a confidential settlement of their disputes,” said Dori Ann Hanswirth of Hogan Lovells, the outside counsel for FNC in a statement yesterday. “As a result of the settlement, North Jersey Media will discontinue its copyright infringement claims against Fox News, and Fox News will discontinue its copyright infringement and unfair competition claims against North Jersey Media.”
The Garden State newspaper company had alleged that FNC had committed copyright infringement by using Thomas Franklin’s “Raising the Flag at Ground Zero” pic without permission on Facebook. FNC argued fair use in what became a much-watched multi-jurisdictional matter with potentially big social media implications. Pirro was dropped from the case last September.
At one point last April, the two sides looked to have a deal, but that fell apart and they were headed to trial. Jury selection was set to start today in federal court in Manhattan.