The Oklahoma Publishing Co. and a sportswriter Monday sued a Nebraska football fan who admitted creating a fake Internet article about two University of Oklahoma quarterbacks.
The publishing company is a leading provider of news and information in Oklahoma through its newspaper, The Oklahoman, and Web site, NewsOK.Com. OPUBCO and sportswriter Jake Trotter sued James W. Conradt, the alleged perpetrator of the hoax, in federal court in Oklahoma City. The 10-count civil lawsuit accuses Conradt of libel, copyright violations and trademark infringements. Conradt published a "defamatory” article on the Internet July 9 that falsely stated University of Oklahoma quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Landry Jones had been arrested for intent to distribute cocaine, the lawsuit alleges. Conradt allegedly put a link to the article on his Web site, www.darthhusker.com, and on an online sports message board. The lawsuit claims Conradt used Oklahoman staff writer Jake Trotter's byline and various OPUBCO trademarks to give the bogus Internet article the appearance of legitimacy. Conradt placed Trotter in a false light and damaged his reputation and occupation by publishing the story, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages. The lawsuit also asks a federal judge to order Conradt not to misuse OPUBCO trademarks in the future, to require Conradt to prepare a written report stating how he will comply with that order, and to order Conradt to publish "corrective advertising” to compensate for the harm he allegedly caused. Read the complaint and key exhibits
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James Conradt reads from the message boards at BigRedReport.com with his cat George in Lincoln, Neb., in this December 6, 2004 file photo - AP Photo/ Elizabeth Ortega/the Lincoln Journal Star