Carp et al. v. Sahagian et al. (D. Mass. 22-cv-11950).

  • November 17, 2022

Plaintiffs Robert and Douglas Carp filed a pro se complaint, accusing John and Grace Sahagian, Bare Naked Greens, LLC and Neamat, LLC of copyright infringement.  The Carp’s wrote and published a book in 2018 entitled “Standard Operating Procedures for Cannabis Cultivation Facilities.”  The book consists of formatted operating procedures for complying with state regulations around cannabis growing.  The Carps discovered in June 2021 that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission had issued operating licenses to Naked Greens and Neamat, which had been filed by the Sahagians.  The Commission published the applications on its website.  According to the complaint, the s included a number of sections from the Carps’ book, making them freely available to the public.  The Sahagians had the right to request redaction of these sections from the publicly available section of the application, but did not do so.  The Carps allege that this publication has caused the sales of their book to dramatically decline.  While the complaint does not indicate that a copyright registration has actually issued, it appears from the Copyright Office’s records that the registration issued in October 2022.  This date may preclude the recovery of statutory damages, as it post-dates the use by the defendants and is well beyond the date of first publication.

One potential problem with the complaint is that Robert Carp signed pro se on behalf of both himself and Douglas Carp.  As Robert Carp is not an attorney, 28 U.S.C. § 1654 permits him to represent himself but not others in federal court. 

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