(James Conradt, as shown in a 1995 piece from Husker Extra. The caption read, “Conradt says it takes time to build a reputation for providing truth and separate oneself from those who ‘stir the pot.'”)
Earlier this year, Austin-based blogger James Conradt (Darthhusker.com), published a story from the Oklahoman’s Jake Trotter claiming OU QB’s Sam Bradford and Landry Jones were part of a cocaine bust. Not only was the story a hoax, but Trotter wasn’t the author and the Oklahoman never ran such an item. Following the resulting lawsuit, Conradt has reached an out of court settlement with Trotter and his publisher writes NewsOK.com’s Randy Ellis.
Conradt, publicly apologized and agreed to pay OPUBCO an undisclosed sum as part of a settlement that was filed Monday in Oklahoma City federal court.
Conradt also agreed to never again publish an article in a manner that makes it appear the article was published in The Oklahoman or NewsOK.com, both of which are owned by OPUBCO.
“I naively intended the article to be humorous satire and parody and did not intend readers to believe the article was true, Conradt said in his apology. “If some readers believed the article was true, that was not my intent, and I sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm that may have caused.
“This experience has been a painful one; personally, professionally and financially, Conradt wrote. “I wish I had never brought it on myself.
Though I can’t defend Conradt’s violation of the Oklahoman’s copyright any more than the defamation of Bradford and Jones, Ellis reports that as part of the agreement, Conradt is prohbited from publicly commenting on any article published by The Oklahoman or its affiliates. How is the public good served by violating an individual’s First Amendment rights? Even if that individual has proven to be a giant pain in the ass?