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A Dallas Cowboys coach and three other coaches filed suit in Houston Friday afternoon against two Web sites, alleging the sites sold stolen team playbooks online. Ernie Zampese, Cowboys offensive consultant, filed the suit, along with Buddy Ryan, Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan. Buddy Ryan is a former National Football League coach who has worked with six NFL teams. Rex Ryan coaches for the Baltimore Ravens, and Rob Ryan coaches for the New England Patriots. Defendants are Web sites Fogdog.com and SportsPlaybooks.com and three individuals. Plaintiffs claim the defendants acquired and then sold the plaintiffs’ teams’ playbooks — collections of the teams’ offensive and defensive plans — via the Internet. In the suit, plaintiffs claim the books contain “confidential and proprietary information giving Plaintiffs a competitive advantage and enabling the successful execution of game plans, strategies and objectives.” Plaintiffs’ counsel Scott Marrs of Houston’s Beirne, Maynard & Parsons said in a prepared release that coaches across the country are incensed that their playbooks are showing up for sale on the World Wide Web. The suit — filed in 55th State District Court in Harris County — accuses the defendants of “wrongful appropriation and conversion of numerous confidential playbooks of various NFL and college coaches.” “Defendants conducted a booming business in the sale of such pilfered playbooks … through their Web site and on the black market,” the suit contends. Pat McGovern, general counsel for Fogdog Inc., said Friday afternoon that he hadn’t seen the suit and would not comment until he had read it. Plaintiffs claim that the defendants “encouraged and aided and abetted the theft of such playbooks, … have converted the property rights of the Plaintiffs, have wrongfully benefited form such conduct, and have built their business on the converted property rights of other coaches.” In the suit, plaintiffs are asking for an injunction to prevent the theft, advertising or distribution of any playbooks. They also seek the return of any improperly obtained playbooks, as well as the names of anyone providing or buying the books. Plaintiffs also are seeking unspecified damages. Defendant SportsPlayBooks.com displays at its Web site a message saying, “This site is temporarily unavailable.” Fogdog.com is a sports gear shopping site based in California.

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